Erin C. 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. 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!
Current Research Assistants
El Rim Ahn | Head RA & Boredom Team Lead
Hello Everyone! 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. As it is my first semester in the lab, I am excited to discover where my strengths lie. Outside of the lab, I enjoy backpacking, exploring and traveling to different cities/countries.
Kacie Brady | Meaning Team Lead
Hey y'all! I am a fourth year psychology major with a sociology minor, and my goal is to go to grad school and get my degree in Mental Health Counseling. I am incredibly passionate about psychology, and I believe that my purpose in life is to help as many people as possible with what I have learned. Developmental psychology is of particular interest to me, and I hope to one day specialize in child therapy. I am grateful to be part of the lab, and I am incredibly interested in why people think the way they do. My hobbies include working with my animals on my family's farm, reading, and going Disney World!
Elizabeth Cavins | Coding Team Lead
Hi everyone! 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! 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.
Hi everyone! I am currently pursuing a degree in general psychology and a minor in sociology. I grew up in Miami, FL and identify with the pronouns she/her/hers. It is my second year at the University of Florida and I am beyond excited to participate in the lab, I’m able to explore and learn about this side of research within the field of social psychology. My main interest within social psychology is group behavior and how it affects decision making and cooperation. My goals are to continue increasing my knowledge and select a specialty to go into for graduate school. Outside of school, my interest include learning about different cultures, traveling, music, and watching crime television shows.
Hi! 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!
Hi everyone! 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!
Hey everyone! My name is Stephen (pronounced ‘Steven’) and 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.
Hi everyone! I’m a second-year transfer student pursuing a double major in Psychology and Sociology. I was born in Venezuela but grew up in Miami, FL, and identify with the pronouns she/ her/ hers. This is my second semester at UF and so incredibly excited to be working in the Social Cognition and Emotions Lab. My main interests in social psychology are on friendships and social groups, especially on the effects of interpersonal interactions on the wellness and life expectancy of a person. Aside from research and school, I love to play the ukulele, read mystery novels, and to try new foods.
Hey! I’m a first-year Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience major who is volunteering with the lab. I was born in Sarasota, Florida, and identify as she/her. I am beyond excited about volunteering in the lab, as I feel it is a great way to introduce myself to the world of psychological research. I am very passionate and interested in psychology as a whole, but I am particularly intrigued by social psychology and the inner workings of social connection. I definitely want to keep learning as much as I can about social behaviors, perceptions, beliefs, and actions. I hope that by getting hands-on involvement with the field I am better able to apply the experiences I take from the lab to what I’m leaning through my degree. My goals right now are to continue conducting research and eventually move onto grad school. In my life outside of research, I like to spend my time going to concerts, going out with friends, creating art, and discovering/traveling to new places.
Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab