Principal Investigator

Gina M. Grimshaw, PhD.

Gina has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Waterloo. After postdoctoral work at the University of California San Diego she became an Associate Professor at California State University San Marcos. Gina moved to Victoria University of Wellington in 2007, and is director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory and an Associate Professor/Reader. Her research has been funded by the Marsden Fund; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE); National Institute of Mental Health (US); and the Neurological Foundation (NZ).

You can view Gina’s staff profile on the Victoria University of Wellington website here.

Research Fellow


Michael Tooley, PhD.

Michael has been working in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab since 2008. He recently completed his PhD, which examined emotion regulation and vulnerability to depression. He was particularly interested in psychophysiological and electrophysiological markers of vulnerability and their relationship to cognitive and emotional processes. Michael now works as a neuroscience lab technician, and a teaching fellow for the Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience Masters program at VUW.

Christopher Maymon, PhD.

Chris completed his PhD at Vic in 2018, and has since been focused on the application of Virtual Reality technology for conducting psychological experiments, under the purview of the CANLab. Chris’ current research focuses on presence (i.e., our sense of ‘being there’) and the influence that different emotional states have on how present we feel. In the VR Lab, Chris also investigates such topics as: how attention changes as a function of fear, coherence between subjective, physiological and behavioural components of emotional experience, how we regulate strong emotions, the ability to infer one’s emotional state from a representation of their movement, and the nature of ‘fire interest’.

Research Assistants

André Botes

André completed his Master’s Degree in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience at VIC in 2020. André’s research interests include how expectation and context modifies how well we control our attention. André also works as an RA helping on whichever projects need an extra pair of hands.

Lab Members

Kealagh Robinson, PhD student 

Kealagh completed both her BSc(Hons) in 2014, and her MSc thesis in 2017, in the CANLab. In collaboration with Victoria University of Wellington’s Youth Wellbeing Study, her research uses psychophysiology to understand how adolescents who self-injure respond to stress.

Justin Murphy, PhD Student

Justin completed his Msc in 2015 with the CANlab. He is now working towards his PHD, looking into the processes of distraction by emotional stimuli and how mindfulness training can help us to control our attention.

Laura Kranz, PhD Student

Laura completed a Master of Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience in 2015. She is now working towards her PhD, working with both the School of Psychology and the Centre for Science in Society. Her research looks at the role of emotion in science communication.

Joanna Mete, PhD Student

Joanna has completed undergraduate degrees in Educational Science and in Psychology, as well as a masters’ degree in Cognitive Psychology. She is currently conducting her doctoral research in the CANlab, focusing on the relationship between cognitive control and anxiety, aiming to understand potential underlying mechanisms of attentional (and more broadly cognitive) processing in the anxious mind. She is also interested in the implications of attentional and cognitive processing in areas such as emotion regulation, coping, and well-being.

Conor Bryant, MSc Student

Conor has competed the first half of the Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience Masters program working across labs alongside the Affective and Criminal Neuroscience lab. Conor’s research questions are focused on how individuals with psychopathic traits control their attention and avoid distraction by emotional stimuli.

Joe Cornes, MSc Student

Joe completed honours in psychology, and has recently worked in the cognitive neuropsychology lab. This work involved developing a theoretical model and assessment protocol for cognitive flexibility, intended for use in neurological patient populations. His MSc research is exploring how individual differences in heart rate variability are related to emotion regulation and cognitive control, with a focus on virtual reality paradigms.

Imogen Moore, Honours Student

Imogen completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington in 2020 and is currently working towards her honours thesis on attention and emotional distraction.

Jessica Hawthorne, Honours Student

Jessica has just completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology and linguistics and is now working towards an honours in psychology. Jessica’s honours project is focused on the misconceptions that exist around vaccinations, and how these can be effectively corrected.

Lauren Pritchard, Honours Student

Ren is currently completing Honours in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience. Ren’s research question is focused on studying the Psychology of Awe and will be working alongside the Virtual Reality department to study this.

Clare McDonald, Honours Student

Clare has completed an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science with a second major in Psychology in 2020. She is now pursuing her Honours in Psychology. Her research looks at the role of emotion in the correction of misinformation.  

Jordan Schulde, CBNS Student

 Jordan recently completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Victoria University of Wellington studying Japanese, Psychology, and International Relations. She now is working towards Part 1 of her Masters in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience, and is focusing on how attention is impacted by emotion within Virtual Reality. Jordan hopes that whatever research she does in future, she will both be able to learn from and contribute to scientific knowledge, and also help others.

Asha Strom, CBNS Student

Asha completed her Bachelor’s degree at Victoria University studing Psychology and Biology. She is now working towards part one of her masters in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience, having completed her first rotation working in the Cognitive Neuropsychology lab. Asha is now looking at how attention is influenced by emotional states within virtual environments.

Other Lab Members

Lauren Bell, Cathryn Bjarnesen, Petra Bolitho, Kieran Carnegie, Angus Chapman, Nikki Duff, Shannon Garland Duignan, Rebecca Hamilton, Kelly Hewitt, Line Johansen, Winter Jones, Claire Marsh, Linda Martis, Jeremy Meier, Tawhai Moss, Sophia Noble, Amy O’Connell, Hannah Quigan, Billy Richardson, Anne Rijnink, Elliot Robins, Elisabeth Schrammen, Brendan Sturt, Nurul Zani Soenarsono, Annabelle Wride, Anna Markovitz, Daniel Jenkins, Nick Heyworth, Shania Thomson, Stina Persen, Adriana Vasinca, Jessie Auckram, Carmela Espellarga, Madison Jones

Lab Alumni


Sophie Hedley (2020). Thesis title: Exploring the Role of Schizotypy in Creative Cognition [link]

Amy Walsh (2019). Thesis title: Motivation Reduces Positive and Negative Emotional Distractions [link]

Kameron Christopher (2019). Thesis title: Personal Predictions of Self-Reported Emotion Responses to Music Stimuli [link]

Hazel K. Godfrey (2017). Thesis title: A role for attentional bias in cognitive deficits in chronic pain? [link]

Jessica Clifton (2015). Thesis title: Training the Interpretation of Ambiguity [link]

Michael Tooley (2015). Thesis title: Emotion Regulation and Vulnerability to Depression: A Longitudinal Test of the Diathesis-Stress Model [link]

Julie Anne Séguin (2013). Thesis title: The Effect of Emotion on Time Perception for Complex Visual Stimuli [link]

Master of Science

André Botes (2020). Thesis title: Learning to Expect the Predictable: The Role of Expectation in the Cognitive Control of Attention [link]

Daniel Jenkins (2018). Thesis title: Awareness and Integration: Understanding the challenges of inferring multisensory integration outside of awareness [link]

Thomas Scott-Smith (2018). Thesis title: Alcohol and the Dysregulation of Cognitive Control: Exploring the Role of Emotion [link]

Dayna Mercer (2018). Thesis title: The Role of Attentional Bias in Excessive Food Consumption [link]

Rosanna Ellen Moody (2015). Thesis title: Testing the Asymmetric Inhibition Model: Frontal EEG Asymmetry Does Not Predict Inhibitory Control of Emotional Distractors [link]

Justin Lawrence Murphy (2015). EEG Evidence for the Effective Proactive Control of Emotional Distraction [link]

Adele Hogan (2015). Thesis title: Distortions in Predicted Motion: Pitch and Direction Influence Imagined Speed for a Visual Object during Occlusion [link]

Laura Kranz (2015). Thesis title: Proactive Control of Emotional Distraction: An ERP Investigation [link]

Lisa Michelle Hunkin (2014). Thesis title: Engagement with Angry Faces during Attentional Bias Modification: Insights from the N2pc [link]

Joshua James Foster (2013). Thesis title:  Attention Capture by Angry Faces Depends on the Distribution of Attention [link]

Jessie E. Stewart (2012). Thesis title: Do You Have a “Strict Purse”? The Routes to Meaning in Metaphor [link]

Frances Marie Bryson (2012). Thesis title: The Time-Course of Induced Interpretive Biases in Healthy Individuals Varying in Depressive Symptoms [link]

Hazel K. Godfrey (2011). Thesis title: Conceptual Metaphors of Emotion in Spoken Language: Good Is Up in Semantics and Prosody [link]

Amy Walsh (2010). Thesis title:  Words and Faces on Left and Right: Perceptual Asymmetries as a Marker for SSRI Responsiveness [link]

Megan Humphrey (2009). Thesis title: A Signal Detection Approach to the Perception of Affective Prosody in Anxious Individuals: A Developmental Study  [link]


Hedwig Eisenbarth, Victoria University of Wellington

David Carmel, Victoria University of Wellington

Christel Devue, Victoria University of Wellington

Paul Corballis, University of Auckland

Steve Most, University of New South Wales

Ruth Ann Atchley, University of Kansas

Mike Nicholls, Flinders University

Sebastian Ocklenburg, Ruhr Universitat Bochum

Jutta Peterburs, University of Muenster

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