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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
November 26, 2015
Canadian Excellence
Anne Wilson

Dr. Anne Wilson

Professor, Psychology

Contact Information
Phone: (519) 884-0710 ext.3037

Office Location: N2075A (Science Building)
Office Hours: Mondays 3:00-4:00 pm or by appointment
Personal Website:
Languages Spoken


Academic Background
BA (Honours), Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology, Mount Allison University
PhD, Social Psychology, University of Waterloo

I am part of Laurier’s Social Psychology program. I am fascinated by people and how they behave, think, and understand themselves and their social worlds. Some of my specific research interests include:

1) identity over time: How do people construct their current identity? How do their personal memories and predictions about future outcomes influence their current identity, motivation, behaviour, and well-being? How do people's versions of the past and future influence their judgments of their relationships and social groups? How do people understand and respond to ideas about personal or social change?

2) motivation and future goal-pursuit: How do individuals' respresentations of the past and future influence their motivation to pursue long-term goals in the face of immediate costs or temptations? This can apply to many domains including academic goals, health goals (exercise and healthy eating), financial planning, environmental responsibility, etc.

3) the psychology of time: People's subjective experiences of time (how close or distant a point in time feels or how long a duration seems) often differ from calendar or clock time. Subjective time has powerful implications for how people react to past or future events. What causes differences in subjective time judgments and what implications do they have for identity, decisions, and social judgments? 

4) sociocultural influences on the self: How do society's cultural norms affect self-appraisals, behaviour, and relationships? I have focused primarily on sociocultural norms for ideal physical appearance and how they influence women's and men's self-image and relationships.

I am funded by SSHRC and CFI and currently hold a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Social Psychology. Each year I work with several graduate students, undergraduate honours students, and numerous research assistants.

In the News

Additional Information

Representative publications:

1) identity over time:

Wilson, A. E., Buehler, R., Lawford, H., Schmidt, C. & Yong, A. G. (2012). Basking in projected glory: People’s appraisals of subjectively close and distant future outcomes. European Journal of Social Psychology, Special Issue on Mental Time Travel: Social Psychological Perspectives on a Fundamental Human Capacity, 42, 342–353.

Peetz, J., & Wilson, A. E. (2008). The temporally extended self: The relation of past and future selves to current identity, motivation, and goal pursuit. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 2090-2106.

Wilson, A. E., & Ross, M. (2003). The identity function of autobiographical memory: Time is on our side. Invited paper in Memory: Special Issue Exploring the Functions of Autobiographical Memory, 11, 137-149.

Wilson, A. E., & Ross, M. (2001). From chump to champ: People's appraisals of their earlier and present selves. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 572-584.

2) motivation and future goal-pursuit:

Peetz, J., & Wilson, A. (in press). The post-birthday world: Motivational and self-appraisal consequences of temporal landmarks. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Peetz, J., Wilson, A. E., & Strahan, E. J. (2009). So far away: The role of subjective temporal distance to future goals in motivation and behavior. Social Cognition, 27, 475-495.

3) the psychology of time:

Peetz, J., Gunn, G. R., & Wilson, A. E. (2010). Crimes of the past: Defensive temporal distancing in the face of past in-group wrongdoing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 598-611.

Ross, M., & Wilson, A. E. (2002). It feels like yesterday: Self-esteem, valence of personal past experiences, and judgments of subjective distance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 792-803.

4) sociocultural influences on the self:

Buote, V. M, Wilson, A. E., Strahan, E. J., Gazzola, S. B. & Papps, F. (2011) Setting the bar: Sociocultural norms for women’s and men’s ideal appearance in real-world contexts. Body Image, 8, 322-334.

Strahan, E. J., Lafrance, A., Wilson, A. E., Ethier, N., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2008). Victoria’s Dirty Secret: The impact of media images on adolescent girls and women. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 288-301.