BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Instructor, Psychology
School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Sciences

604.986.1911 ext. 3551
Fir Building, room FR417


PhD, Psychology, University of Manitoba, 2015.

MA, Psychology, University of Manitoba, 2009.

BA (Honours), Psychology, University of Manitoba, 2005.

"When it comes to statistics, you have to learn to walk BEFORE you can learn to run an ANOVA."


Douglas (Doug) Alards-Tomalin (PhD, University of Manitoba, 2015) is a cognitive psychologist whose research interests are in the study of perception, attention, sensation and decision-making. The focus of his research to date has been on how people intuitively use cognitive shortcuts when making decisions about the basic elements that compose our world; like how we estimate the passage of time, or approximate distance and sensory magnitude.

After receiving his degrees, Alards-Tomalin held a post-doctoral research position at the University of Manitoba for one year prior to taking on instructor-level positions at the University of Winnipeg teaching Physiological Psychology, and more recently at Capilano University teaching Research Methods in Psychology and Statistical Methods in Psychology.

Alards-Tomalin has published his research in a wide-array of journals including the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, Psychological Research and Journal of Air Transport Management to name a few. He has frequently presented research at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society and the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science and has been a longstanding member of both societies.

There is no greater sense of satisfaction I have than when I see students comprehend particularly difficult concepts that are delved into greater depth in courses like Research Methods and Statistical Methods in Psychology. Learning experimental design, hypothesis testing, how to interpret p-values and more importantly coming away with the confidence necessary to run statistical analyses in various computer programs (SOFA, R, Excel) are all important to me.

I enjoy a classroom experience where I get to know my students. Teaching is only fun when it's a two-way interaction, which means I enjoy facilitating discussions. Every perspective matters facilitating a deeper more nuanced understanding of the material for everyone, myself included.

My research interests vary but center generally around the theme of perception. I have done a lot of research on auditory attention and how people can automatically learn, or apply top-down (cognitively guided) rules, in an automatic (i.e., unconscious) fashion to effect how incoming information is represented and organized. It often astounds me (and others!) how complex our ability is to acquire information from the environment, and how we are often totally unaware of this process. If you'd like to learn more about how your brain learns automatically, read my most recent paper in Journal of Cognitive Psychology (listed under Publications and Activities).

Alards-Tomalin, D., Brosowsky, N. P., & Mondor, T. A. Auditory statistical learning: Predictive frequency information affects the deployment of contextually-mediated attentional resources on perceptual tasks. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 29, 977-987 doi:10.1080/20445911.2017.1353518, 2017.

Alards-Tomalin, D., Walker, A., Nepon, H., & Leboe-McGowan, L. C. Dual-task interference effects on cross-modal numerical order, and sound intensity judgments: The more the louder? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70, 1943-1963. doi:10.1080/17470218.2016.1216139, 2017.

Alards-Tomalin, D., Walker, A., Kravetz, A., & Leboe-McGowan, L. C. Numerical context and time perception: Contrast effects and the perceived duration of numbers. Perception, 45, 222-245. doi: 10.1177/0301006615594905, 2016.

Sharafzadeh, S., & Alards-Tomalin, D. (2022). Perceived Stress, Belief in Conspiracy Theories and Anti-vaccination Attitudes in Canadian Sample. Canadian Journal of Undergraduate Research, 7(2), 40-44. Retrieved from: https://cjur.ca/september-2022-volume-7-issue-2/

Certificate of Academic Excellence Laureate (PhD), Canadian Psychological Association, 2016.

Postgraduate Scholarship Doctoral, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), 2012.

Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) Teaching Excellence Awards, Excellence in Open Education, Capilano University, 2021.