Dana Hayward, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts - Psychology Dept


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts - Psychology Dept


Area of Study / Keywords

attention social cognition eye-tracking real-world investigations


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.


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?

Context. I am interested in investigating attention across contexts, such as 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?


I will be accepting graduate students to begin Fall 2022. See the lab website and contact me for more details.


PSYCH 212 - Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology

Experimental and nonexperimental methods in psychology. Topics covered include philosophy of science, measurement, reliability and validity of methods, measures, and effects; experimental quasi-experimental, and single-subject designs; biases in experimentation; and research ethics. Prerequisites: PSYCH 104 or SCI 100, or PSYCH 105. [Faculty of Arts]

PSYCH 403 - Recent Advances in Experimental Psychology: Models and Theories

Discussion of advanced concepts and theories developed by selected fields within experimental psychology. The course will examine the relation between theory and data in these fields. Prerequisites: PSYCH 213 or STAT 151 or 161, and a 300-level PSYCH course. Note: Consult the Department of Psychology webpage for the topics for the year and any additional prerequisites (https://www.ualberta.ca/psychology/undergraduate-studies/courses/special-topics.html). [Faculty of Science]

PSYCH 505 - Conference Course in Psychology

[Faculty of Science]

Browse more courses taught by Dana Hayward

Featured Publications

Heath, D.S., Jhinjar, N., & Hayward, D.A.

Scientific Reports. 2021 June; 11

Hayward, D.A., Pomares, F., Casey, K.F., Ismaylova, E., Levesque, M., Greenlaw, K., Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., Dionne, G., Boivin, M., Tremblay, R.E., & Booij, L.

Human Brain Mapping. 2020 July; 41 (18):1-12

Heath, D.S. & Hayward, D.A.

Frontiers for Young Minds. 2019 December; 7 (130):1-7

Hayward, D.A., Pereira, E.J., Otto, A.R., & Ristic, J

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 2018 January; 44 (2):206-214

Hayward, D.A., & Ristic, J.

Scientific Reports. 2017 January; 7 (44221)

Hayward, D.A., Voorhies, W., Morris, J.A., Capozzi, F., & Ristic, J.

Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale. 2017 January; 71 (3):212-225