McGill University, 2011, B.A. Honours, Psychology & Linguistics, Dean’s Honour List
University of British Columbia, 2013, M.A., Cognitive Science

Throughout my undergraduate career, I worked in several different areas of research – social psychology, animal models of memory, and attention.

My Master’s and PhD work primarily focuses on how we process the world around us and make decisions.

As human beings, we make countless decisions every day, such as a student choosing a university to attend or a long-time medical expert diagnosing a patient. These examples illustrate endpoints of a continuum. Some decisions are a result of conscious, deliberate thought, whereas others decisions are made without conscious awareness. Much of the research done on decision-making focuses on the more conscious and attention-demanding end of this continuum, while automatic decision-making is largely unexplored.

Studying automatic decision-making is hard, and there aren’t many good theoretical models in this area of study. However, a new theory, Discrepancy-Attribution Theory, provides a way to ask novel questions that may help elucidate the cognitive machinery underlying how we make those automatic decisions. I am interested in testing out this theory, and figuring out the components of automatic decision-making that DAT can speak to.

Pestonji-Dixon, N. Tran, T.*, Ahn, Y.*, & Graf, P. (2018, June). Pretty poster presentations: What makes a good academic poster? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Congress of Applied Psychology/Canadian Psychological Association, Montréal, QC. 

Pestonji-Dixon, N. Tran, T.*, Ahn, Y.*, & Graf, P. (2018, May). Eye-Candy Academic Posters: Which poster attributes matter most? Poster presented at the Teaching Institute for the Association of Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Pestonji-Dixon, N., Molina, G.*, & Graf, P. (2018, May). Mere exposure makes negative pictures less likable. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA, USA. 

Pestonji, N., Huang, F.*, Ibrahim, M.*, Molina, G.*, & Graf, P. (2017, June). Does Familiarity Breed Attraction or Revulsion? Talk presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science, Regina, SK.

Pestonji, N., Huang, F.*, Ibrahim, M.*, Molina, G.*, & Graf, P. (2017, May). Does Familiarity Breed Attraction or Revulsion? Talk presented at the annual meeting of NorthWest Cognition and Memory, Vancouver, BC.

Pestonji, N., Rishi, R.*, & Graf, P. (2016, July). Familiarity Breeds Contempt: Does the mere exposure effect hold with negative stimuli? Talk presented at the meeting of the International Congress of Applied Psychology, Yokohama, Japan.

Pestonji, N., Rishi, R.*, & Graf, P. (2016, June). Familiarity Breeds Contempt: The mere exposure effect with negative stimuli. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science, Ottawa, ON.

Bhatara, A.*, Osman, M.*, Maslany, A., Pestonji, N. & Graf, P. (2016, May). Remembering to forget: Impaired memory and surprise quizzes. Talk presented at the annual meeting of NorthWest Cognition and Memory, Vancouver, BC.

Pestonji, N.*, Rishi, R.*, & Graf, P. (2016, May). Familiarity Breeds Contempt: Does the mere exposure effect hold with negative stimuli?  Talk presented at the annual meeting of NorthWest Cognition and Memory, Vancouver, BC.

Bhatara, A.*, Osman, M.*, Maslany, A, Pestonji, N. & Graf, P. (2016, April). Remembering to forget: Impaired memory and surprise quizzes. Poster presented at the University of British Columbia Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference, Vancouver, BC. 

Bhatara, A.*, Osman, M.*, Maslany, A. Pestonji, N. & Graf, P. (2016, March). Remembering to forget: Impaired memory and surprise quizzes. Poster presented at the University of British Columbia Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, Vancouver, BC. 

Pestonji, N., & Graf, P. (2015, June). No pain, no gain: Word identification difficulty improves memory. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Victoria, BC. 

Pestonji, N., & Graf, P. (2015, June). No pain, no gain: Word identification difficulty improves memory. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association and the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science, Ottawa, ON.

Pestonji, N., & Graf, P. (2015, May). Word Crimes: Word identification difficulty improves memory. Poster presented at the annual meeting of NorthWest Cognition and Memory, Bellingham, WA.