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 Manager & 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 | Visiting Scholar
I am a psychology graduate from the Lebanese American University. I was born in Beirut, Lebanon and will move to Gainesville, FL this Fall 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 with research interests. I’m very enthusiastic about working in the lab and participating in social research. I’m interested in social psychology as a whole, mainly personality psychology, emotional/social intelligence, and the interconnection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Aside from school, I love traveling, listening to music, 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, boardgames, and card games.
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!
I am an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology with a minor in Family Youth and Community Sciences and I am also on the pre-medical track. I am volunteering with the lab because I am passionate about social psychology and am eager to learn more about people's behaviors and the influences. With the knowledge and experience I will learn through the lab, I hope to apply it in my careers studies as a pediatrician. Aside from school, I love to travel, cook, try out new places to eat, and listen to music.
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 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 in Psychology and Criminology. I was born in Vietnam and grew up in West Palm Beach, FL. Social Psychology is one of my absolute favorite topics in Psychology and I’m thrilled to be a part of the lab. I’m really interested in decision making, false memory, and how humans influence one another. I hope the experience from this lab will help me to pursue my dream, which is becoming a Legal Psychologist. Outside of school, work and research, I love reading, listening to Podcasts, and being a collector of various things!
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 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