Helping and Happiness Lab

Contact Information

Lab Director, Dr. Lara Aknin (

Lab Manager, Janaki Patel (

The Helping and Happiness Social Psychology Lab is located at AQ 3135, Simon Fraser University

8888 University Dr, Burnaby,
BC V5A 1S6


In the Helping and Happiness Lab, we are interested in the study of what makes people happy, the emotional consequences of kind or generous behavior, and the well-being outcomes of specific spending choices.

Special Announcements

We are looking for participants for a Student Focus Group!

Are you a high-school senior (student in grade 12) who is thinking about attending college or university? If so, we invite you to take part in a 1-hour conversation (“focus group”) on Zoom in July or August 2024 to learn about your thoughts, emotions, and questions about post-secondary.

This project is led by Dr. Lara Aknin and her research team.

You will earn a $25 e-giftcard to Amazon or SkipTheDishes for your time!

For more information and to sign up, please visit this link:

Or scan this QR code:

Volunteer Research Assistants Needed

We are recruiting volunteer research assistants, set to begin this upcoming fall term and beyond. Research assistants will assist with various projects such as online experiments, coding data, and lab and field studies. Relevant training will be provided. We are looking for conscientious and hard-working individuals who are able to commit to 6-8 hours of volunteer work per week, for a minimum of two terms. Requirements to apply include completion of PSYC 201 and PSYC 260. Please submit an application form via our website. We will begin reviewing applications on July 29th, but may also consider applications submitted after this day. Please note, only successful applicants will be contacted for an interview.

Recent Publications

Amarasekera, A.U., Cash, T.A., MacPherson, S.R.C., Human, L.J., & Aknin, L.B. (2024). Predicting others' happiness from brief personal memories. Journal of Research in Psychology 111(104498).

Aknin, L.B., & Sandstrom, G.M. (2024). People are surprisingly hesitant to reach out to old friends. Commun Psychol 2(34).

Park, L. E., Aknin, L. B., Gaither, S. E., Impett, E. A., & Whillans, A. V. (2024). Starting and sustaining fruitful collaborations in psychology. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, e12950.

Sachs, J. D., Karim, S. S. A., Aknin, L., Allen, J., Brosbøl, K., Colombo, F., ... & Michie, S. (2022). The Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet400(10359), 1224-1280.

Aknin, L. B., Dunn, E. W., & Whillans, A. V. (2022). The Emotional Rewards of Prosocial Spending Are Robust and Replicable in Large Samples. Current Directions in Psychological Science0(0).

Cash, T. A., Aknin, L. B., & Proulx, J. D. E. (2022). Which Features of Prosocial Spending Recollections Predict Post-Recall Happiness? A Pre-registered Investigation. Collabra: Psychology, 8(1), 33958.

Proulx, J. D. E., Aknin, L. B., & Barasch, A. (2022). Let’s Give Together: Can Collaborative Giving Boost Generosity? Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Sachs, J. D., Karim, S. A., Aknin, L. B., Allen, J., Brosbøl, K., Barron, G. C., ... & Bartels, J. (2021). Priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of 2021: Statement of the Lancet COVID-19 CommissionThe Lancet.

Croft, A., Atkinson, C., Sandstrom, G., Orbell, S., & Aknin, L. B. (Accepted). Loosening the GRIP (Gender Roles Inhibiting Prosociality) to promote gender quality. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 1088868320964615

Sachs, J. D., Karim, S. A., Aknin, L. B., Allen, J., Brosbøl, K., Barron, G. C., ... & Bartels, J. G. (2020). Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement on the occasion of the 75th session of the UN General AssemblyThe Lancet396(10257), 1102-1124.

Wiwad, D., Mercier, B., Piff, P. K., Shariff, A., & Aknin, L. (2020). Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on the poor alters attitudes towards poverty and inequality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology93. 104083. (OSF Page)

Thornton, E., & Aknin, L. B. (2020). Assessing the validity of the Self versus Other Interest Implicit Association TestPLoS ONE. 15(6): e0234032. (OSF Pages: Study 1Study 2)

Mercier, B., Wiwad, D., Robinson, A., Aknin, L. B.Piff, P. K., Shariff, A. F. (2020). Free will and inequality. CollabraPsychology6(1), 25(OSF Page)

Wiwad, D., Piff, P. K., Robinson, A. R. Aknin, L. B., Mercier, B., Shariff, A. (2020). Shifting attributions for poverty motivates opposition to inequality and enhances egalitarianism. Nature Human Behaviour. (OSF Page


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