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.


PSYCO 104 - Basic Psychological Processes

Principles and development of perception, motivation, learning, and thinking and their relationship to the psychological functioning of the individual. Fulfillment of the 1/4 laboratory credit typically entails serving as a research participant, but can be fulfilled through the completion of alternative assignments. The course is a prerequisite to all courses in the department and is normally followed by PSYCO 105. [Faculty of Science]

Fall Term 2021 Winter Term 2022
PSYCO 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: STAT 141 or 151 or 161 or SCI 151 and a 300-level PSYCO course. Students must check with the Department for the topics for the year and any additional prerequisites. [Faculty of Science]

Fall Term 2021
PSYCO 505 - Conference Course in Psychology

[Faculty of Science]

Fall Term 2021

Browse more courses taught by Dana Hayward


Altered social cognition in a community sample of women with disordered eating behaviours: A multi-method approach
Author(s): Heath, D.S., Jhinjar, N., & Hayward, D.A.
Publication Date: 6/28/2021
Publication: Scientific Reports
Volume: 11
Page Numbers: 1-11
External Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-94117-4.pdf?origin=ppub
Birth weight is associated with adolescent brain development: A multi-modal imaging study in monozygotic twins
Author(s): 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.
Publication Date: 7/1/2020
Publication: Human Brain Mapping
Volume: 41
Issue: 18
Page Numbers: 1-12
External Link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hbm.25188
Does everyone pay attention to people in the same way?
Author(s): Heath, D.S. & Hayward, D.A.
Publication Date: 12/20/2019
Publication: Frontiers for Young Minds
Volume: 7
Issue: 130
Page Numbers: 1-7
External Link: https://kids.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frym.2019.00130
Smile! Social reward drives attention
Author(s): Hayward, D.A., Pereira, E.J., Otto, A.R., & Ristic, J
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume: 44
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 206-214

Feature and motion-based gaze cuing is linked with reduced social competence
Author(s): Hayward, D.A., & Ristic, J.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Scientific Reports
Volume: 7
Issue: 44221
External Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep44221
Staring reality in the face: A comparison of social attention across laboratory and real word measures suggests little common ground
Author(s): Hayward, D.A., Voorhies, W., Morris, J.A., Capozzi, F., & Ristic, J.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale
Volume: 71
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 212-225