Gordon Pennycook

PhD Psychology

Gordon PennycookGordon Pennycook tries to be on campus every day from 9am to 5pm. “I treat it like a job.” A PhD candidate in Cognitive Psychology, Gordon explains that it is all about efficiency for him. “It is easy to be inefficient if you don’t keep regular hours.” Gordon’s research is focused on reasoning and decision-making, examining factors that influence when and how a person will overcome an intuitive or gut response. He explains, “Some people are more willing to question feelings and gut instincts. Some are more analytical and rational. What are some of the other psychological and behavioural differences that these different types of reasoners display?” In other words, Gordon’s research explores the consequences of individual differences in reasoning.

Having earned his Master’s degree at UWaterloo, Gordon was then directly enrolled into the PhD program. “It’s a rollover program, though it is not guaranteed that you will get in. I am entering my fourth year of grad school, and my second year in the PhD program.” Gordon examined the same broad area of study for his Master’s degree with a specific focus on cause, rather than consequences.

When asked about the unique features of the Psychology program here at UWaterloo, Gordon cited the size of the participant pool. “We have one of the best participant pools in the country. There are thousands of participants, whereas at other institutions it can be difficult to find participants for studies.” Here, students in numerous psychology undergraduate classes participate in studies for credit. “Psychology at Waterloo is one of the most successful psychology programs in Canada in terms of research output and citations. I suspect that a big part of that is the participant pool.” 

October 2013 Megan Scarborough

University of Waterloo

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