Welcome to the Affect, Cognition and Environment (ACE) research cluster! We are a group of researchers from the School of Psychology at Massey University who do research concerned with affect/emotion, human cognition, and the environment. We primarily use quantitative (and particularly experimental) methods in our research, and we have a strong interest in open science practices.

Our members include:

  • Dr Matt Williams – Methodology; Climate change. Matt also leads a lab of students applying open science practices in clinical psychology research.
  • Dr Pete Cannon – Cognition and Emotion; Food; Morality; Psychophysiology; Electromyography (EMG).
  • Dr Stephen Hill – Embodied cognition; Distributed cognition; Environmental psychology; Climate change. Stephen also directs the Embodied/Embedded Cognition Lab at Massey University.
  • Dr Aaron Drummond – Cyberpsychology; Media Psychology; Video Games; Climate Change Psychology; Human Memory Research.
  • Dr Michael Philipp – Michael conducts research on social cognition. Specifically he examines how people think about and respond to social cues – both real and imagined. He has particular research interests in facial expressions, theory of mind, and dad jokes. Michael also directs the Social Cognition Lab at Massey University.


ACE cluster members teach into a number of courses in the School of Psychology, and particularly into courses focused on research methods. Some of the courses co-ordinated by cluster members include:

  • 175.102 Psychology as a Natural Science (Dr Aaron Drummond, Dr Pete Cannon, Dr Clifford van Ommen)
  • 175.203 Introduction to Psychological Research (Dr Michael Philipp, Dr Heather Kempton)
  • 175.205 Brain and Behaviour (Dr Ute Kreplin, Dr Clifford van Ommen)
  • 175.206 Memory and Cognition (Dr Stephen Hill, Dr Heather Kempton)
  • 175.303 The Practice of Psychological Research (Dr Matt Williams)
  • 175.318 Experimental Psychology (Dr Stephen Hill)
  • 175.738 Psychological Research: Principles of Design (Dr Michael Philipp)
  • 175.746 Psychological Research: Multivariate Data Analysis (Dr Matt Williams)

175.102 and 175.203 are essentially compulsory for all undergraduate psychology students at Massey, as is 175.738 for postgraduate psychology students. In addition to these compulsory courses, we also suggest that all undergraduate students planning to progress to a postgraduate degree also take 175.303. Those keen to pursue postgraduate projects involving experimental methods should also consider 175.318. Finally, we encourage all postgraduate students hoping to conduct quantitative studies to take 175.746 if their timetable permits.

Seminar series

We operate a fortnightly research seminar conducted via Zoom. If you would like to receive notifications of upcoming seminars, you can join our mailing list by sending an email to sympa@lists.massey.ac.nz with the subject line subscribe psych-ac-cluster and your name. You can also get in touch with us by emailing our current cluster leader, Matt Williams.


For recent posts and presentations, see our News page.