Professor Listing

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Dana A. Hayward, PhD

Assistant Professor

Arts

Psychology

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Alberta. Prior to this appointment I was a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec. I completed my PhD and MSc in Psychology at McGill University (Montréal, Québec), my BEd at York University (Toronto, Ontario) and my BSc in Human Behavioural Biology at the University of Toronto.


Research

I am a cognitive neuroscientist, with an interest in spatial attention. While some of my work focuses on attention to nonsocial information, I am currently keen on investigating how more 'affective' stimuli (such as motivation/reward or people/eyes) influence attention. My research program is comprised of at least three broad themes.

Prioritization. I am interested in the circumstances in which we prioritize attending to certain information over others. For instance, are there certain situations where we’re more likely to prioritize attention to social information? Are we more likely to focus on social information when we’re alone versus in groups? How does motivation/reward play a role in this prioritization?  

Individual Variation. I am interested in “what we bring to the table” when we are paying attention to various information. Specifically, does our personality, character traits and preferences affect attention, and if so, how? Does attention vary from person to person, or between different mental illnesses?

Cognitive Ethology. I am interested in investigating attention in real life, and delineating the instances where attention acts in similar ways across lab-based studies and real-life situations, along with situations where they do not. For example, do rewards in 'real life' shape our attention in the same way they do for lab-based tasks? Do we pay attention to people in the same way when we're face-to-face with them versus when we're not?