Spike W. S. Lee

Assistant Professor


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

I am a social and consumer psychologist with interests in philosophy of mind and cognitive sciences. I investigate how constructs fundamental to social life (e.g., morality, trust, suspicion, love) are represented and processed in the human mind. I find that physical cues (e.g., bodily cleanliness, fishy smells) exert causal influence on people's moral compass, decisional bias, and economic behavior, even if they are merely metaphorically related. Currently, I am building a multi-process framework for conceptualizing the proximal mechanisms underlying mind-body relations and testing its predictions in social, moral, and cultural contexts. 


Spike is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Marketing (Cross-Appointed) at the University of Toronto.

He is interested in how higher-order mental processes are grounded in sensorimotor experiences with the physical world, often leading to quirky effects (e.g., physical cleansing helps people move on by "wiping the slate clean"; when people "smell something fishy," they become suspicious and invest less money in a trust-dependent economic game). In terms of theoretical goals, he explores how the mind interacts with the body in multiple ways; why mind-body relations are often predicted by the metaphors we use; when and how metaphors influence affect, motivation, judgment, and behavior; what cognitive principles govern these effects; and how they vary by experimental, social, and cultural contexts. 

He received the 2017 Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, the 2016 Rising Star designation by the Association for Psychological Science, and the 2010 Early Graduate Student Researcher Award from the American Psychological Association. He is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.