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The Achievement and Social Cognition (TASC) Lab

The TASC Lab focusses on the psychological factors associated with the achievement of excellence. In particular, we are most interested in academic excellence. For the most part, we are particularly interested in how self- and other-perceptions influence the achievement of excellence. Led by Dr. Valanne MacGyvers, a team of graduate students and undergraduate students are engaged in a number of research projects, some large and some smaller. Most projects will include mindset as a variable of interest.

Lab Activities and Organization

Dr. MacGyvers organizes weekly meetings with small teams of researchers involved in particular projects. These meetings are intensely work focused and move projects forward. About once a month, a full lab meeting is held to address issues of concern to all the project groups, as well as to socialize and have some fun. The end of the semester features a party with food and fun as well as awards for lab participants and graduates. Students may expect to work with Dr. MacGyvers rather closely.

TASC Lab Projects

  • A longitudinal study of achievement and retention in University undergraduates, examining the role of mindset and other social cognitive variables in college achievement.
  • A longitudinal study of graduate student retention and support.
  • An examination of perceived parental support, internal attachment models and the identity formation of the late adolescent, with particular attention to the interpersonal identity of the adolescent.
  • A study of the impact of the Internet on adolescent sexuality and sexual educations, with a particular emphasis on the influence of sexually explicit media encountered on the internet during adolescence.
  • A study addressing how much knowledge about autism has become common knowledge and whether those who have stronger empathic dispositions are more knowledgeable.
  • A study looking at the issue of gender in toy selection.
  • A study looking at mindfulness training as an intervention for cyber-distraction.
  • A study of the relationship between empathic disposition and attitudes toward breast feeding.
  • A study of perceived parenting styles and leadership
  • A series of studies developing a measure of attitudes toward public breast feeding
  • A series of studies developing a parent-report measure of dispositional empathy in young children.
  • Gender differences in the perception and understanding of everyday objects.