Dr. Erin Westgate | Assistant Professor
Dr. Erin Westgate is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida, where she studies boredom, interest, and why some thoughts are more engaging than others. She received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Virginia in 2018, and her undergraduate degree from Reed College. Much of her research has been on the conditions under which people enjoy or do not enjoy their own thoughts. She has extended that work to the larger question of why people become bored, developing a new model of boredom that explains what boredom is, why we experience it, and what happens when we do. She spends her free time looking at fish in her many fresh and saltwater aquariums and -- when lucky -- in the ocean while scuba diving. Luckily, research suggests watching fish is good for you!
Yijun Lin is a 1st year doctoral student in Social Psychology at the University of Florida. She works primarily with Dr. Erin Westgate in the Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab. She received an M.S. in Integrated Marketing from New York University and a B.S. in Psychology from Beijing Normal University. She has broad interests in motivation, self-regulation, and emotions. Her primary work focuses on procrastination, understanding the emotional mechanisms of procrastination and how to promote goal striving when procrastinating.
2020-2021 Lab Members and Affiliates
Lab Managers & Honors Students
El Rim Ahn | Lab Manager & Head Research Assistant
I'm a post-bac volunteer and Head Research Assistant for the Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab. I grew up in Seoul, South Korea and moved to the US when I was 16. I am grateful for the opportunity to work as a volunteer in this research lab as my goal is to pursue graduate school in psychology. While I am enthusiastic about learning different topics in social psychology, my current research interest lies broadly in social-personality psychology. I am interested in how boredom can be a motivating force and how it can spur people to search for meaning in their lives. I am excited to discover where my strengths lie. Outside of the lab, I enjoy backpacking, exploring and traveling to different cities/countries.
Gaelle el Helou | Lab Manager & Visiting Scholar
I am a psychology graduate from the Lebanese American University. I was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to Gainesville, FL to join the Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab as a post-bac visiting scholar. My goal is to pursue a doctoral program in psychology and become a clinical psychologist and researcher. I enjoy working in the lab and participating in social research. I’m intrigued by the link between clinical and social psychology, and I'm particularly interested in emotional / social intelligence and self-regulation, as well as their effects on health. Aside from school, I love traveling, singing, dancing, and playing the piano.
Stephen Sedwick | Senior Honors Thesis
I’m a psychology and microbiology double major. I was born here in Gainesville when my parents attended UF, but I grew up in Jacksonville, FL. UF is a family school for me; I have six relatives and family members who all attended UF. Right now, I am deciding between pursuing a medical degree to become a neurologist or going to graduate school and obtaining an academic position. I am thrilled to be joining the lab because I will be able to further my education and interest in learning more about behavior and social interactions, while getting a preview into a career in academic research. Currently, I am a volunteer emergency medical responder with GEMRU, as a volunteer trained counselor I help cover the Alachua County Victim Services Helpline, and once a month I help with the social events at the Center for Independent Living. In my free time, I enjoy relaxing with friends, watching Netflix, listening to music, reading, and playing video games, board games, and card games.
Tram Lai | Senior Honors Thesis
I'm a third-year Psychology and Criminology student. I was born in Vietnam and grew up in West Palm Beach, FL. The reason why I joined this lab is because Social Psychology is one of my absolute favorite topics in Psychology and I want to pursue a doctorate degree in it. My research interests are decision making, false memory, juvenile rehabilitation, and how humans influence one another. Outside of school and work, I love books, games, Podcast, fashion, and collecting trinkets. My research study is on how affective forecasting influences our decisions on reading (Classics and Contemporary novels).
Current Research Assistants
I am a fourth-year student majoring in Psychology at the University of Florida. I grew up in Fort. Lauderdale but all of my family is from Colombia. I identify with the pronouns he/him. My goal is to go to graduate school for counseling psychology. This is my first time participating in research and I am beyond excited to explore the various topics of social psychology. I am particularly interested in self-identity regarding sexuality and self-concept. I hope to use the experience and skills acquired from this lab to apply to my future career as a counseling psychologist. Outside of school, I am currently working as a crisis center volunteer. Additionally, my interest includes learning different languages, painting, working out, and caring for plants.
I am a third year student majoring in Psychology at the University of Florida. I’m was born in Chicago, IL, but grew up in Tampa, FL. I am excited to be a part of this lab so that I can explore the area of research within psychology. I’m hoping to build on my current skill sets and to be exposed to new things. I am interested in discovering new things about boredom, its meaning, why we experience it, and how we can use it to our advantage. Outside of school and research, I love to play board games, travel, and try new things!
Hi everyone! I am an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology with a minor in Family, Youth and Community Sciences on the pre-dental track. I am passionate about social psychology because I love to learn about people's behaviors and the factors that affect one's social growth/interactions/behaviors. I dream of becoming a pediatric dentist or orthodontist. I am sure that my knowledge of psychology will help me deal with children in a stressful environment for them like a dental office. Aside from my studies, I like to travel, go to concerts, exercise, cook, and hang out with friends.
Hello all! I am Caycee, a senior psychology student here at UF. I was born in Florida, and have lived in Florida my whole life, so far! I am comfortable with the pronouns she/they. My interests in psychology include the general area of Clinical Psychology, as well the subset of Neuropsychology. I am thrilled to be a part of this lab, as I can begin to understand the effects of everyday influences on the psyche of an individual, and to build upon my research skills in order to go to graduate school for Clinical Psychology. While I am excited to expand my research experience, I value being able to work in this lab for the exposure to new concepts, and diverse people with different backgrounds, ideas, and interests!
I am an undergraduate psychology major pursuing a minor in theatre and a certificate in Dance in Medicine. I am excited to become a part of this lab to learn more about conducting research and to use this knowledge to help me as a future medical school student. Within this lab, I am interested to see how the results of studies unrelated to mental health can have applications that are useful in therapy or in the prevention of a psychological disorder. Though my career goal is to become a psychiatrist, I also enjoy the performing arts, fashion, and makeup in my spare time.
I'm a senior double-majoring in English and Psychology. I transferred to UF a year ago from FIU in Miami and am thrilled to be a part of my first research lab. Because I'm an English major, I love to write and I've worked for three magazines, including the Tea Lit magazine here at UF. I love combining my passions and as a result I've written several articles on mental health and psychology. I'm hoping to gain more knowledge and experience from this lab in order to achieve my dreams of being a clinical psychologist and therapist. In my free time I like to go to the beach, try new recipes, do yoga and hang out with my dog!
I graduated from UF in fall 2020. I majored in General Psychology and plan to apply for graduate school in 2021. I am passionate about cultural psychology. As an international student, I have noticed many interesting differences caused by cultural differences such as behaviors, thought processes, and emotional expression. I am very excited to become a lab member, and I am eager to learn new materials. I am always willing to help and get feedback, so if you need any help or see anything that needs to be improved, please feel free to reach out to me. Besides school, I love to travel, hang out with friends, watch YouTube videos, and learn new languages.
Hello! I am joining the lab as a post-bac research assistant on the data coding team. I received my BA in English and theater arts from Rutgers University and am currently finishing a master’s degree in psychology through the Harvard University Extension School. I am hoping to continue into a doctoral program in psychology in the fall of 2021. I have a strong interest in social psychology as a whole and in particular with studies concerning human emotion and wellbeing. I believe that with awareness and the right tools, humans can improve their sense of wellbeing and overall life satisfaction. For this spring, I am really looking forward to working in a lab environment and also improving my coding, statistical and tech skills! I live in Ocala, FL and I compete professionally in the equestrian sport of three-day eventing. I also have coached the UF Eventing Team since 2016.
I am a third year English and Psychology major at the University of Florida. I am currently on the pre-law track, but have a strong interest in psychology as it is relevant to all aspects of our life. By being a part of this team, I hope to gain some more insight into human behavior and thought processes, as well as some experiences working alongside other students with diverse sets of interests and backgrounds! I am excited to learn more about the research process and to be exposed to the lab environment. Aside from school, I love to read, write, travel, and cook!
I am currently a second year student majoring in Psychology on the Pre-Medical track at the University of Florida. I was born in Houston, TX but grew up in Orlando, FL and identify with the pronouns she/her/hers. I am excited to work in this lab because I am intrigued on how, when, and why social behaviors are affected based on our emotions in the moment. I hope to gain experience and knowledge in this lab which I can later apply to my future career as a psychiatrist. Outside of research, I enjoy going to concerts, watching movies, listening to podcasts/music, and trying out new places to eat!
I am a second year Honors student majoring in Psychology and Educational Sciences. My goal is to continue on to graduate school to become a child/adolescent psychologist. I grew up in Michigan and Tampa, FL and identify with the pronouns she/her/hers. I am ecstatic to begin working in the lab and broaden my knowledge in psychology by exploring research. My particular area of interest lies in self-esteem and its role in social situations. Outside of research, I enjoy playing volleyball, going to concerts, spending time with my dog, and watching Disney movies!
I’m a fourth-year Psychology major with a minor in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL and my pronouns are he/him/his. I’m excited to work in the lab because I have always been interested in research people’s behaviors and seeing what influences people to act certain ways in different situations. Through the lab, I am looking to build upon my current skills in research and hopefully pursue a graduate degree in counseling psychology. Outside of the lab, I love listening to music, cooking, and watching the NBA.
I am a post-bac research assistant who graduated from the University of West Florida with a B.A. in Psychology. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg Florida in a Vietnamese family. My areas of interest include sleep, stress, and cognitive performance, and I hope to continue my studies in a Ph.D. program after I garner more experience. Outside of my educational interests, I also like to work out, play volleyball, and cook.
I am a senior double majoring in Psychology and Criminology. I was born in Venezuela but grew up in Miami, Florida. I'm really excited to work in this lab and learn more about the research process in social psychology. I am especially interested in studying attitudes and how others influence our acquisition of certain attitudes. My main goal after undergrad is to go to law school and become a criminal defense attorney. In my free time I like to go to the beach, read, and watch movies.
I am a recent UF graduate with a Degree in Psychology and a Minor in Linguistics. I am delighted to be a part of a team that is passionate about research. This lab not only enjoys the discoveries of people’s behaviors/influences, but also growing the lab into a tight-knit family. With the support of the lab along with the knowledge and skills I will pick up along the way, I hope to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist focusing on research in Language and Cognition. I absolutely love sports to which I pair two other loves of mine with, food and music!
I am a fourth year Psychology major and Philosophy minor at the University of Florida. I was born and raised in New York and have always had an interest in psychology, specifically social. I am intrigued by a variety of topics in Social Psychology including cognitive dissonance, pro-social behavior, and motivation. My interests outside of school include a deep love for travel, cooking, philosophy, music, and fashion. By being part of this lab, I hope to harness psychology research skills and gain interesting perspectives from my fellow lab mates. In the future, I look forward to pursuing a career as an Industrial Organizational Psychologist and furthering the world of psychological research.
I am a 2nd year Psychology and English double major at UF. I was born in Chandler, Arizona but grew up in Tampa, Florida and I go by she/her pronouns. My current goal is to get a PhD in counseling psychology after my bachelor’s degree. This is my second year volunteering as a research assistant at the University of Florida, but it is my first semester working with Dr. Westgate and her team. I am looking forward to gaining knowledge in the field of Social Psychology and learning more about the research process within this lab. Outside of academia, I enjoy creative writing, ballet, spending time with my friends, and petting dogs
Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab