Lab Director

Lucia F. O'Sullivan


Training Obtained:

B.A. (Hons.) University of New Brunswick
M.A. (Clinical Psychology) University of New Brunswick
Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology) Bowling Green State University
Postdoctoral Research Training (HIV) Columbia University

Dr. O’Sullivan is a social psychologist and Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Brunswick. She is also the director the Experimental Psychology program and the director of the Sex and Relationships Lab. Her work focuses primarily on sexual health, intimate relationships, and the affective and cognitive components of sexual decision-making of young adults and adolescents. Other studies address the development, maintenance, and breakup of intimate relationships, as well as the role of gender in romantic and sexual experiences. Her research program frequently incorporates studies and collaborations that are international (e.g., South Africa, Guatemala, India, US, UK) and interdisciplinary. She is active on a wide range of editorial boards, is Associate Editor of the Journal of Sex Research as well as the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, and has published extensively in research journals and books. Her research has appeared in the Globe and Mail, National Post, and CBC. She has held a Canada Research Chair in Adolescents’ Sexual Health Behaviour (2006-2016) and has received a wide range of funding from federal agencies (e.g., NIH, CIHR) and private foundations (e.g., Ford, NBHRF) to support her work.

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Undergraduate courses:  Personality Psychology (PSYC 3053), Social Psychology (PSYC 2403), Human Sexuality (PSYC 3043), Close Relationships (PSYC 3453)

Graduate courses: Social Psychology (PSYC 6062)

Professional Awards/Honours:

1995-1996 Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Research Science Award – Behavioral Sciences Research Training in HIV Infection (Columbia University, New York)

1996-1998 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Science Research Council, Sexuality Research Fellowship (Ford Foundation)

1998 Young Researcher Award, Society for Sex Therapy and Research

1999-2004 Research Scientist Development Award (National Institute of Mental Health)

2002 Recognition of Excellence in Teaching, Department of Human Development, (Columbia University, New York)

2003 Outstanding Teaching Award, Department of Human Development (Columbia University, New York)

2006-2016 Canada Research Chair in Adolescents’ Sexual Health Behaviours, Tier II

2009 Allan P. Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of New Brunswick

2014 Health Researcher of the Month, New Brunswick Health Research Foundation

2015 Fellow, Canadian Psychological Association

Brenda Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the clinical program. Her broad research interests include romantic relationship maintenance, dissolution, and cross-sex friendships. Her clinical work focuses on integrative assessments, acceptance and commitment therapy, and motivational communication. Brenda’s most recent research project explored stalking and cyberstalking-like behaviours post romantic relationship dissolution in young adults. Prior to UNB, Brenda conducted research on the integration of values in moral exemplars with Drs. Lawrence Walker and Jeremy Frimer at the University of British Columbia.


Charlene Belu

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Charlene is a Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of New Brunswick. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Honours) with distinction at Grant MacEwan University. For her honours research, she investigated the association between dominance and sexual attitudes in female university students. She has broad research interests within the area of human sexuality. She is particularly interested in attraction, the formation of intimate relationships as well as relationship quality. Her research interest also extends to the domain of sexual violence. Currently, she is examining the quality of relationships that are formed out of infidelity, and investigating the impact on a romantic relationship of attraction to people other than one’s romantic partner.


Dana Manzer

Dana Manzer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing at the University of New Brunswick. She has a Diploma in Nursing, a Bachelor of Nursing, a Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) and is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies working under Dr. O’Sullivan’s supervision.  Her key research interests are vulnerable populations and social justice. Her PhD thesis examines nurse practitioner experiences providing primary care services (health promotion, management of acute and chronic conditions, sexual and reproductive health)  to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients.  Of particular interest are nurse practitioner’s perceptions of cultural competence while providing health care to LGBT patients. Previous research has been in the areas of opiate dependence and methadone maintenance treatment outcomes.   


Emily Vogels

Emily Vogels is a PhD student in the Experimental Psychology program. Her research interests include romantic relationships, sexuality, gender, social norms, and stigma. She came to UNB in the Fall of 2015 after completing her Master’s degree in Cognitive and Affective Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Her master’s thesis explored how perceptions of importance and stability of a romantic partner’s flaws influence commitment, romantic affect, and evaluations of the relationship. Currently, she is conducting research on how online pornography consumption contributes to body image, sexual behaviors/desires, and perceived peer norms. 


Jeff Forshay

Jeff Foshay is clinical psychology student. His undergraduate research at St. Francis Xavier University was mainly in the domain of romantic relationships. More specifically, he explored the relationship between attachment styles and the way that individuals cope with stress in their romantic relationship. He is currently exploring research on the aftermath of break ups, the role of jealousy in romantic relationships, and the impact of ‘light’ infidelities on individual and relationship well-being.


Andrea (Boyle) Bliss

Andrea Bliss is a registered psychologist in Alberta at the OCD Program of the Mood, Anxiety, and Psychosis Service (MAPS) at Alberta Children’s Hospital and an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as well as communication in the relationships of young adults and adolescents.


Sarah Vannier

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Sarah Vannier is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Couples and Sexual Health Lab at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.  Her research broadly focuses on sexual and romantic scripts. While at UNB, her research examined sexual initiation, sexual compliance, attraction, oral sex motives, and the content of web-based pornography.Her dissertation examined the association between violated romantic expectations (e.g., love at first sight, destiny) and relationship outcomes in young adults’ dating relationships. During her postdoctoral fellowship, she is expanding her research program to include couples and clinical samples (e.g., women with sexual pain). Her main research project will examine sexual and relationship wellbeing during the transition to parenthood. She is particularly interested in how sexual expectations and attributions shape the experiences of new parents.


Ashley Thompson

Ashley Thompson is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She received her PhD in Experimental and Applied Psychology from the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Lucia O’Sullivan and her B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin River Falls. Ashley’s research interests include attitudes and judgments relating to romantic and sexual interpersonal relationships, the onset and maintenance of these relationships, and the role of gender in romantic and sexual relationship experiences. In particular, she has an interest in the measurement of attitudes toward socially sensitive topics using the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Currently, she is implementing the IAT to measure the implicit endorsement of the sexual double standard. Ashley is also interested in the assessment of judgments that people make relating to infidelity. She is expanding this research by assessing variations in infidelity judgments according to a variety of rival characteristics (e.g., attractiveness, familiarity, gender).



Honorary Lab Rats


Canadian Sex Research Forum 2017   Emily Vogels, Charlene Belu, Dana Manzer, Lauren Cormier, Jeff Foshay

Canadian Sex Research Forum 2017   Emily Vogels, Charlene Belu, Dana Manzer, Lauren Cormier, Jeff Foshay