Ph.D. Candidate

Mona Zhu in front of a dark background.Cognitive psychology

B.Sc. Psychology, UBC

Supervisor: Dr. Evan Risko

Contact information


I received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Despite having enrolled in a neuroscience-based program, I became interested in social cognition research through my work with Dr. Alan Kingstone at the Brain and Attention Research Laboratory where I studied the role of eye contact in memory, as well as Dr. Jim Enns at the UBC Vision Lab where I examined how people position themselves relative to an image as a function of its focal depth.

Research interests

My primary research interest is in how humans interact with their environments and whether the environment plays a role in our perception of the world and our decision making. One line of research I am currently conducting examines how and why humans organize their environments in task performance. In addition to these main research interests, I am also broadly interested in non-verbal behaviours as well as embodied/extended cognition. 


  • Zhu, M.J.H., and Risko, E.R. (Under Review). Creatures of habit: The spatial history of objects can overcome effort in determining human spatial organization.
  • Laidlaw, K.E.W., Badiudeen, T., Zhu, M.J.H., and Kingstone, A. (2015). A fresh look at saccadic trajectories and task irrelevant stimuli: Social relevance matters. Vision Research. 

Selected conference presentations

  • Zhu, M.J.H., Risko, E.F. (June 2015). Bringing it close: Examining perceived frequency of proximally-placed objects. Poster presented at the 11th biennial meeting for the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Zhu, M.J.H., Risko, E.F. (May 2015). When your past influences your present: History of object placement affects human spatial organization. Poster presented at the 24th annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science Society, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • Zhu, M.J.H., Lanthier, S.N., Byun, C.S.J., Jarick, M., & Kingstone, A. (July 2014). Eye don’t remember: Excessive eye contact impedes memory. Poster presented at the 24th annual Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Zhu, M.J.H., Byun, C.S.J., Lanthier, S.N., Jarick, M., & Kingstone, A. (May 2013). The secret is in the eyes: Mutual eye contact facilitates performance in a memory task. Poster presented at the 15th annual Northwest Cognition and Memory Conference, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

​​Recent research grants

  • Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate scholarship – Master’s (CGS-M)
University of Waterloo

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