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Psychological Foundations Lab


We welcome you to the Psychological Foundations Lab in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University (SFU). In our lab, directed by Tim Racine, we use conceptual, evolutionary, and empirical forms of analysis to understand psychological issues and phenomena. We are mostly interested in the use of evolutionary theory in psychology, the history and philosophy of psychology, psychological methodology, and the philosophy of science.

Our evolutionary work addresses issues such as the relevance of the history of, and changes in, evolutionary biology, evolutionary developmental biology, molecular biology, and the philosophy of biology, for the use of neo-Darwinian and non-Darwinian evolutionary theory in psychology; our conceptual work addresses issues such as the use of the philosophy of action in psychology, the use of psychological theories in robotics, and the meaning of the violation-of-expectation paradigm.

Our empirical work sometimes addresses these foundational issues through e.g. archival methods, but is also curiosity-driven. Recent empirical studies concern topics such as the relation between maternal beliefs about knowledge and children's understanding of the interpretative nature of knowledge, the relation between false belief understanding and joint attention in infancy, and the development of communication and social cognition, with a focus on pointing gestures.

Lab Members

        Lab Director

Tim Racine, Ph.D.

        Graduate Students

Joe Thompson, M.A.
Donna Tafreshi, M.A.
Olga Vasileva, M.A.
Kirby Maguire, B.A. Hons.


Tyler Wereha, Ph.D.
Nehdia Sameen, M.A.
Max Bibok, Ph.D.
Noah Susswein, Ph.D.
Ruby Grewal, B.A.
Ali Zokol (undergraduate RA)
Katerina Stepanova (undergraduate RA)

Michelle Spani (undergraduate RA)
Nicole Spani (undergraduate RA)
Negina Khalil (undergraduate RA)






Undergraduate Students

From time to time we accept volunteers to help with projects in the lab. Volunteer lab experience is often beneficial for undergraduate students interested in pursuing graduate training. Tasks can include liiterature searches, archival work, coding behavioural data, creating databases and/or data collection, and conceptual and/or evolutionary applications.

Applicants should have:

  1. An interest, and ideally some coursework, in the history or philosophy of psychology, and the use of evolutionary theory in psychology;
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.5;
  3. An ability to commit to a minimum of 5 hours per week on average.

Honours and Graduate Students

We are currently recruiting for potential honours and graduate students for the upcoming academic year. Students from a range of backgrounds might be suitable, but having experience or interest in the philosophy of psychology, and/or the use of evolutionary theory in psychology is necessary.

To volunteer in the lab, or to inquire about the honours or graduate program at SFU, please contact Tim Racine tracine@sfu.ca.

Contact Information

Psychological Foundations Lab, RCB 4303
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6

Lab Director:
Tim Racine
Mobile Phone:

Lab Coordinator:
Tyler Wereha
Lab Phone:

Click here for directions to our lab