As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dr. Dylan Wiwad is being recognized with the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal.


PhD graduate and Dean's medal winner Dylan Wiwad commits to addressing economic inequality

June 09, 2020

Originally posted from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

For his doctoral dissertation, Dylan Wiwad explored how psychology can be leveraged to address economic inequality. He tested an intervention aimed at reducing poverty and mitigating economic inequality to better understand how perceptions of, and beliefs about, poverty influence tolerance for economic inequality and motivate egalitarian behavior.

Wiwad’s research found that a person’s beliefs about the causes of poverty is an important force supporting the continued tolerance of economic inequality. This tolerance for economic disparities can be reduced by engaging with a short immersive poverty simulation. His findings have important implications for social policy.

Beyond his studies, Wiwad is passionate about sharing his knowledge. Throughout graduate school, Wiwad was a celebrated Teaching Assistant, awarded two Certificates of Teaching Excellence from the Council of Canadian Departments of Psychology (2016, 2018).

Associate professor Lara Aknin praises his research and work ethic, “Dylan is a talented, eager, and creative researcher. He is committed to conducting high-impact and high-quality research on topics of social importance and sharing this work responsibly with others.”

Upon receiving the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal, Wiwad says, “I am very grateful for this award from Simon Fraser University. Both my supervisor, Dr. Aknin, and the psychology department at SFU on the whole were integral in facilitating my doctoral research aimed at addressing one of the most pressing social issues of our time.”

Currently, Wiwad works as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Dispute Resolution Research Center at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University to understand the psychological underpinnings of politically motivated responses to poverty, inequality, and fairness.