Dr. Erin C. Westgate | Assistant Professor
Dr. Erin Westgate (she/her/hers) 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!
2020-2021 Lab Members and Affiliates
2021-2022 Lab Members and Affiliates
Graduate Students (Primary)
Yijun Lin is a 2nd 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.
Anaïs Ortiz is a first year doctoral student at the Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab. She received her undergraduate degree in History of Art and Hispanic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013 and took a non-linear path to psychological research after working in fashion, game design, and yoga. She is curious about contexts of thinking over contents of thinking, and how certain contexts like mindfulness help humans conceptualize cognitions and emotions as experiences of consciousness within a self-context. She has additionally extended this inquiry to the social context to examine how related indicators of well-being (i.e. self-compassion, purpose and meaning in life, etc) relate to prosocial behavior. Anaïs also teaches meditation and yoga, goes out in natureoften, and enjoys a steady rotation of DIY home projects to keep herself grounded.
S. Elisha LePine is a first year PhD student at the University of Florida under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Westgate. Areas of research interest include social emotions, moral violations, and the process of relational repair and reconciliation, especially between groups, and social comparison. Ongoing projects include cross-cultural studies on processes of forgiveness, and the impact of social comparison information on tobacco cessation success.
Lab Managers & Honors Thesis Students
Gaelle el Helou | Lab Manager & Visiting Scholar
I am a post-bac visiting research scholar and lab manager at Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab. I was born in Beirut, Lebanon. My goal is to pursue a doctoral program in psychology and become a clinical psychologist and researcher. My main interests include the interlink between clinical and social psychology, and the effect of emotional intelligence /self-regulation on health. Aside from school, I love traveling, singing, dancing, and playing the piano.
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.
Tram Lai | Senior Honors Thesis
I'm a fourth-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
Hi everyone! I’m Nicole, a third year general psychology major on a pre pharmacy track here at UF! I’m from Orlando, FL and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’m very excited to be apart of the lab and am interested in learning how our mental health affect can influence our behavior. In my free time I love painting and drawing, as well as learning new recipes to cook/bake!
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 post-bac volunteer 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.
Hi! I am a sophomore undergraduate student majoring in psychology with specific interests in the social and cognitive frameworks of developmental psychology. In the future, I aspire to go to graduate school within a program that would prepare me to practice clinically and conduct research. I am fascinated by so many aspects of the brain and behavior so I hope to refine some of my interests through working in the lab and learn more about what I might intend to focus my studies on in the future. Apart from academics, I enjoy ballet, the beach, and traveling, I am also passionate about sustainability, social justice, and mental health.
I am a fourth-year psychology major here at the University of Florida. I was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. My interests revolve around understanding diverse psychological concepts and their connections to mental health. I aspire to attend medical school and use my experiences to destigmatize mental health care among the general population. Through this research lab, I hope to gain a greater understanding of how mental processes can affect an individual’s behavior, as well as their physical and mental health. Outside of my studies, I enjoy staying active, playing team sports, and getting out into nature.
I am an undergraduate behavioral and cognitive neuroscience major here at UF. My interests in Psychology are Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology but are pretty broad to every niche of psychology. My main goal after my undergraduate degree is to get into a Ph.D. program and study Psycho-Oncology. I am a cancer survivor and would love to give back to show other cancer patients proper coping mechanisms to help them survive cancer. I am ecstatic about joining this lab as I can start building up my experiences in research and gaining knowledge in such an interesting field. Outside of the lab, I love going to the beach, hanging out with friends, and watching Youtube.
Hi y'all! My name is Jiaqi and I'm an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science and Psychology with a minor in Health Disparities in Society. I mainly focus on clinical psychology, which is a career path I'm considering along with I/O psychology, but social psychology remains my favorite area of research. I love anything to do with implicit biases and attitudes toward outgroups. Aside from my interests in psychology, I love going to music festivals, kickboxing, and cheering on the Gators at basketball games and gymnastics meets.
I am a fourth 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 a fourth-year student at the University of Florida earning degrees in Psychology with a specialization in Behavior Analysis and Women’s Studies with a concentration in Theories and Politics of Sexuality and a minor in Mass Communication. My goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and pursue research on the psychology of human sexuality and intimate relationships. I hope the experiences and opportunities gained through this lab will help me achieve this goal. Outside of my studies, I enjoy traveling, running, and spending quality time with friends and family. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
I’m Carley and I am a third year general psychology student at UF! I hope to go to dental school but have always been interested in the brain and how it creates our interpretation of the world. Social psychology is of particular interest to me especially with our current generation being heavily involved in social media. I hope that when working in the dental field a solid background in psychology will help me to better understand and treat patients! I was born and raised outside of Philadelphia and hope to continue my studies somewhere in the northeast after graduating from UF. I enjoy music, comedy, and meditation/mindfulness. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
I am currently a third 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!
Hello! I am a third-year Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, first-generation student from a multicultural background. I love learning about how different aspects of identity can impact our quality of life and wellbeing. Naturally, I also love everything related to psychology as it helps us understand ourselves and others. I am immensely grateful to be a part of this lab and really delve into social psychology as the research we do can be used to improve many lives. I aim to further my studies with a graduate degree related to counseling.
I am a fourth 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 post-bac with a 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 third-year undergraduate student, majoring in psychology and pursuing a minor in Spanish. I’m from St. Petersburg, Florida and I go by the pronouns she/her/hers. I’m excited to grow academically in this lab and gain more experience in social and cognitive psychology. I plan on pursuing a career in psychology in the future and I hope that my position in this lab will help guide me to the specific field of psychology that I would like to study in graduate school. I’m looking forward to working with peers and learning more about human behavior in this lab! Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, reading, writing, and spending time outdoors.
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.
Hello! My name is Lillian Phillips and I am a senior majoring in psychology and criminology. I’m from St. Pete and have lived in Florida my whole life. I hope to go to graduate school for clinical psychology and I am especially interested in forensics. I look forward to being part of this lab to teach me more about research to help me with graduate school and because I find the social side of psychology as crucial to understanding as the clinical side. I especially enjoy looking at things like implicit attitudes and biases. Outside of the lab I enjoy mock trial and listening to music.
I am a first year psychology student at the University of Florida, having previously earned an associate’s degree in psychology as a dual enrollment student. I am honored to be a part of the Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab, and am looking forward to working as a research assistant beginning this fall. My goal is to pursue a doctoral program in psychology, specifically in social psychology. I am interested in psychological areas such as social cognition, personality, well-being, and organizational behavior. Outside of the lab, I enjoy traveling, music, and spending time with friends!
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.
Hello! I am joining the lab as a second year undergraduate student majoring in psychology. I grew up in Delray Beach and Jupiter, Florida and identify with the pronouns he/him/his. I am thrilled to begin working in the lab and getting the experience that I need for a career of research in the psychology field. My dream is to achieve my Ph.D. and to eventually become a professor of psychology. My research interests reside in Social and Personality Psychology, and I am currently passionate about exploring the many factors that influence our specific emotions and behaviors across different situations. Aside from my studies, I love reading, listening to music, spending time with friends, and enjoying everything that life has to offer.
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 post-bac with a 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 3rd 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. This is my second year 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 reasons why people respond to various social cues and scenarios. My current goal is to get a PhD in counseling psychology after my bachelor’s degree, so I believe my experience in this lab will help me to gain valuable experience for this career path. Outside of academia, I enjoy creative writing, dance, baking, and spending time outdoors.
Hi everyone! My name is Nicole and I'm a second-year Business and Psychology major on the Behavioral Analysis track. I live in Davie, Florida (near Fort Lauderdale), but my whole family is from Venezuela. What I love most about psychology is learning why people act a certain way and how their actions affect different aspects of their life, their specifically work environment. I want to go to graduate school and continue studying Behavioral Analysis and possibly get a Ph.D. I am so excited to join this lab and learn more about research and psychology. I also love reading, going to the gym, and watching movies.
Hey everyone! My name is Gabriella Yepes and I am a 4th year Health Education and Behavior major minoring in Business Administration. I identify as a Hispanic, cisgender, straight woman who uses the pronouns she/her/hers. I am so beyond excited to be a part of the social cognition and emotion lab under the direction of Dr. Erin Westgate this upcoming year. I am passionate about social justice, sexual health, mending global health disparities, and understanding how the human mind works/thinks. In my free time, I love to do yoga, read, hang out with friends and just unplug from life.
Lab RA Alumni
Florida Social Cognition and Emotion Lab