Welcome to the Risk and Competition Lab !

We research the psychology of decision-making under risk (motivations, propensity) and competition (inequality, dis/advantage). Much of our research focuses on personality and individual differences, and we are informed by frameworks of ecological rationality.

Research

"The infinite is always before us.”
(Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire / Santiago Ramón y Cajal)

[on the humble joy of doing science]


Decision-Making Under Risk

Risk and reward trade off in every single decision we make, every day. Who takes risks, and under what conditions? What personality traits predict risk-taking? Can risk-taking be increased or reduced through experimental intervention? How is risk-taking associated across domains, like prosocial risk-taking (e.g., entrepreneurship and innovation) and antisocial risk-taking (crime, counterproductive behaviors)? Our research explores how and why people reckon with risk/reward tradeoffs by studying attitudes, behaviors, and individual differences.

Relevant papers: [to come]


Competition

Humans are social creatures, defined by competition. Competition manifests psychology via social comparison, sensitivity to hierarchy and inequality, and concern for status. But, much of our understanding of the world is subjective. How do we perceive our place in the world in relation to others, and what are the consequences of this perception of dis/advantage? Our research explores the psychology of competition, including social comparison, relative deprivation, and inequality. We are particularly interested in the effects of social comparison on loneliness, mental health, and well-being.

Relevant papers: [to come]


Personality and Individual Differences

People behave in consistent patterns, with psychology enduring over time and space. Our research explores the shape of personality and individual differences relevant to both social valuation and risk-taking, including embodied capital, impulsivity/self-control, sensation-seeking, relative deprivation, and perceived disadvantage, among others.

Relevant papers: [to come]


Ecological Rationality

Our research questions involve deep consideration of ecological rationality, which posits the mind as an instrument adapted over evolutionary time to use simple heuristic rules-of-thumb to operate on complex, but reliable structures of information in our environments. This approach means always considering the fit of evolved psychological mechanisms to the current structure of information in our world.

Relevant papers: [to come]

Current Lab Members

Director

Sandeep Mishra
Associate Professor (Management)
University of Guelph


Graduate Students

Alexandra Curran
MA Student (Management)
University of Guelph

Colleen Davies
MSc Student (Psychology, Neuroscience & Applied Cognitive Science)
University of Guelph

Joshua Gonzales
PhD Candidate (Management)
University of Guelph

Nabhan Refaie
PhD Candidate (Management)
University of Guelph

Amanda Wuth
PhD Candidate (Management)
University of Guelph


Undergraduate Students

Kai Burton
BComm (Management) Research Student
University of Guelph

Lab Alumni: Graduate Students

Cody Fogg
MA (Psychology), University of Regina

Cody is currently in the PhD (Psychology) program at Lakehead University.

Jeff Deminchuk
MA (Psychology), University of Regina

Jeff is currently in the PhD (Political Science) program at the University of Washington.

Josh Gonzales
MA (Psychology), University of Regina

Josh is currently in the PhD (Management) program at the University of Guelph.

Dallas Novakowski
MA (Psychology), University of Regina

Dallas is currently in the PhD (Marketing) at the University of Calgary.

Lab Alumni: Undergraduate Students

(coming soon)