Lab Director

Dr. Luke Clark is a global expert on the psychology of gambling. He joined UBC’s Department of Psychology as the inaugural Director of the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC in July 2014. Before moving to UBC, he worked in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge from 2000, and he was appointed to faculty in Cambridge in 2007.

Dr. Clark’s research is directed at understanding the neural and psychological basis of distorted styles of thinking during gambling, and the relevance of these processes to problem gambling. This work combines measurement of brain activity and psychophysiology during cognitive tasks with other approaches including investigation of patients with focal brain injury, and pharmacological studies in healthy volunteers.

In 2015, Dr. Clark was the recipient of the Scientific Achievement Award from the National Center for Responsible Gaming. He has published over 180 papers in peer-reviewed journals and he has given keynote talks at conferences in Europe and Australia. Dr. Clark holds a Discovery Grant from NSERC, and he has editorial roles at two leading journals, Addiction and International Gambling Studies.

Graduate Students

Mario Ferrari

Mario is a PhD student in UBC’s Clinical Psychology program. He attained his MA in Clinical Psychology from UBC in 2017.

Mario’s research interests broadly focus on hormones and gambling. The relationship between hormones and behavior is bidirectional. This means that hormones can affect the way we think and behave, but also that our thoughts and behaviour can influence our hormone levels. The aim of Mario’s research is to identify and examine how contextual elements in gambling games can potentially cause hormone levels to change, and how hormone fluctuations affect the way people gamble.

The overall aim of this research is to help understand how hormones may contribute problematic gambling behaviour.

Xiaolei Deng

Xiaolei is a PhD student in UBC Psychology’s clinical program. He graduated from UBC with an MA in psychology in 2017.

Xiaolei’s research centers on the prediction of problematic gamblers using machine learning algorithms with applications of big data. Xiaolei is interested in using behaviour variables to predict gamblers who are at risks of developing gambling addiction. The machine learning model can serve as a useful benchmark for other measures of problematic gambling and help refine the definition of problematic gamblers.

Xiaolei also hopes that this line of research can provide policy makers with applicable information, leading to better community protection and harm reduction.

Fiza Arshad

Lucas Palmer

Lucas is a PhD student in the Cognitive Area of the Psychology department. He completed in his BA (Hons) at Carelton University.

His research is centered around understanding the structural characteristics of modern technologies that promote addictive behaviours. For example, during his master’s degree he studied how features of online slot machine gambling increased people’s spending behaviour. In another line of research he has studied how engaging with specific features of video games (e.g., loot boxes) promotes conventional gambling behaviour.

Raymond Wu

Raymond is a PhD student in Cognitive Science at UBC. He completed his BSc (Hons) at University of Toronto.

Excessive consumption of activities like gambling and video gaming can place a tremendous burden on life and society. To address this, Raymond's research uses a combination of large-scale survey, behavioural, and physiological data to gain insights into decision-making, digital technology use, and addiction in humans

Hin Fu

Hin is a Masters student in UBC Psychology’s cognitive science program. He had previously completed his B.Sc at McGill University.

His current research focuses on using big data techniques to identify risk factors that predict problem gambling. In this field of study, he analyzes large datasets to uncover patterns and correlations that may provide insights into the factors contributing to problem gambling. This research could have implications for understanding and preventing gambling addiction, as well as informing public health policies and interventions related to gambling behavior.