Author Archives: Kanako Taku


Many of the lab members are currently attending MPA, Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, in Chicago!

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Since 2008, the PTG lab led by Dr. Kanako Taku has conducted a series of social and clinical research on how people experience various changes as a result of highly stressful, potentially traumatic life events, centering around the construct of posttraumatic growth (PTG). PTG is what brought Dr. Taku to the US, to lead a lab with students at Oakland University and colleagues around the world, and this work continues to be inspired and motivated by the memory of Shelby.

In 2019, the lab changed its name to FF-PTG (Free Form PTG) Lab, challenging both established research and ourselves. We now study various content, meanings, and forms of changes, including crystallization of socio-emotional status, tipping point, non-linear changes, and continuity and discontinuity within the field of clinical, social, cross-cultural, and personality psychology.

In 2023, Dr. Taku agreed to serve as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Loss and Trauma (Taylor & Francis), aiming to foster more inclusive research topics, targets, and authors, especially people who have been stigmatized or have little resources, believing that the meanings and values of loss and trauma changed tremendously from mostly pathological to more holistic and they can change even more to be inclusive.

Our lab always recruits creative and motivated students and researchers from around the world to foster collaboration. Just so you know, we are still having fun with weekly themed two-slide presentations and step-backs at lab meetings. The lab keeps going, and the lab keeps growing, but in a non-linear way!

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Congrats to Taylor

Taylor’s research application, “I’ll Believe it When I see it:” Behavior Change and Person Perception, has been awarded for the Provost Graduate Research Award – Fall 2022.

Congratulations, Taylor!

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Yates Cider Mill

Fall is here!

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Psychology Department 2022 Distinguished Lecture

The Psychology Department is hosting the event, Distinguished Lecture 2022.

The following discussions are scheduled the next day, September 29th (Thursday) at 5pm.

If you would like to have zoom invites, please email to Kana Taku at

Questions? Please email to Kana Taku at

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Our New Lab Manager, Isabelle Teasel, Featured on Instagram!

We are really excited that our new lab manager, Isabelle Teasel, has been featured on Instagram by Oakland University’s Honors College. Here is the link!

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APA in Minnesota (2022)

Some of the FF-PTG lab members recently attended the 2022 American Psychological Association (APA) Conference that was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from August 4th-6th. It has been more than 2 years since we attended a conference in person! They were able to present on their recent research projects as well as network and learn from other researchers in the psychology field.

Kaylie and Joey were first to present their poster titled The Role of Dichotomous Thought on Aversive Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This research, which originated from Joey’s Master’s Thesis, found that both dichotomous thinking (thinking in polar opposites) and gender were significant predictors of anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic but not depression. They believe these findings may be due to how dichotomous thinking typically involves thoughts of the environment which aligns more with anxiety than depression. Whereas depression may align more with thoughts of oneself.

Joey and Kaylie’s next presentation was titled Isolation, Self-Construal, and Aversive Mental Health During COVID-19. They predicted that self-construal (how an individual constructs their identity in relation to their in-group) and isolation would predict depression and anxiety. Their findings showed that self-construal and isolation were in fact predictors of depression but only isolation predicted anxiety. Their research shows that those who view themselves as overlapping with their group may be more susceptible to depression with the increase in isolation caused by COVID-19. In addition, this highlights that isolation impacts both depression and anxiety which may have been more brought on during the pandemic restrictions and protocols.

Matt, a fellow graduate student in the Psychology Department, presented a data blitz talk, which was also derived from Joey’s Master’s Thesis, titled Religion and Precautionary Behavior During a Global Pandemic. Matt and Joey were able to find that stronger religious beliefs may lead to less belief in (1) the efficacy of masks, (2) scientific evidence and research, (3) government guidelines, along with (4) wearing masks to prevent COVID-19. These research findings help us to better understand how religion has impacted human behaviors during the pandemic.

Taylor gave a data blitz talk as well, titled Examining the Rationale Behind Perceived Severity of Modern and Traditional Types of Depression. She presented on the differences between modern-type (MTD) and traditional-type (TTD) depression by identifying the reasons behind the perceptions made of them when participants were shown vignettes of individual “X.” Findings showed that X with TTD was perceived as more severe than X with MTD, coinciding with previous research. However, people relied on different information to make judgements of X with low severity ratings; having a “heavy workload” for TTD but “complaining about workload” for MTD. Yet, for both MTD and TTD, high severity depression ratings were based on experiencing “negative physical symptoms.” This shows that people place more severity on the physical symptoms someone is experiencing with depression than the other behaviors.

Overall, fantastic work, FF-PTG Lab! We cannot wait to attend next year!

  • Williams, K., Rhodes, J., & Taku, K. The role of dichotomous thoughts on aversive mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic (03 – Society for Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science Division).
  • Rhodes, J., Williams, K., & Taku, K. Isolation, self-construal, and aversive mental health during COVI-19. (08 – Society for Personality and Social Psychology Division).
  • Lico, M. P., Rhodes, J., Kozak, A. T., & Taku, K. Religion and precautionary behavior during a global pandemic (08 – Society for Personality and Social Psychology Division).
  • Elam, T., O’Brien, C., & Taku, K. Examining the rationale behind perceived severity of modern and traditional type of depression (08 – Society for Personality and Social Psychology Division).
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Another Milestone

The Big 50! Today, I joined the half century club!!

And I got the best present ever from “all these people”!

Thank you for all 68 people who joined, graduated, and are working in the lab!

P.S., Also, happy birthday to our former lab member, Alex! We share the same birthday! So, it’s extra special.

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End-of-the-semester/Welcome party

Lab members got together to celebrate the end of the semester and welcome newly joined members.

Joey, Dom, Kolton (behind); Lewis, Kaylie, Isabelle, Victoria, Danielle, Natalie (middle); Kana, Taylor, Kayla, and Lazo (front)

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Kana Reflects On Her APA 2021 Main Stage Interview

I just uploaded a new video on Youtube where I talk my experience of being interviewed for the APA 2021 Main Stage keynote panel on the science of resiliency and bouncing back from adversity.

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