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In the Group Experiences Laboratory, we integrate a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to better understand the conditions and processes that shape our experiences in work groups and teams. Our research is currently funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Canada Foundation for Innovation. We have also received funding from Mitacs to work with organizational partners to develop innovative solutions to optimize employee and team member experiences.


We are currently investigating how people differ in the roles (e.g., leadership, followership) they strive for and desire within teams and organizations, which traits people value in leaders and followers, and how social rank dynamics contribute to team and organizational functioning.

In a separate line of inquiry, we are investigating how emergent group processes and group states (e.g., team resilience, team cultures of prestige and dominance) contribute to team effectiveness in teams with both formal and informal hierarchies.



A Benson headshot (1).JPG

Dr. Benson completed his PhD in Social Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. During this time, he also spent some time at Bangor University in Wales as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Psychology of Elite Performance. Before arriving at Western University, he received a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship to evaluate team dynamics using intensive longitudinal methods at Nipissing University. Broadly speaking, his research interests lie in studying group dynamics, with a general aim of understanding how groups shape our experiences as individuals, and how individuals shape the groups to which they belong. Alex enjoys fitness and caffeinated beverages.



Alex is currently pursuing his PhD in I/O psychology with the supervision of Dr. Alex Benson. His research interests include team resiliency, fairness perceptions of selection measures, and applying IO theory to marginalized work settings. Alex completed his M.Sc. at Western under the supervision of Dr. Mitch Rothstein on the role of Self-regulation processes mediating between control beliefs and mental health outcomes. Outside of academia, Alex enjoys painting, practicing guitar, backpacking, playing baseball, and exploring Ontario.



Noelle is currently pursuing her PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with the joint supervision of Dr. Jennifer Robertson and Dr. Alex Benson. Noelle previously completed her MSc. at Western, where she examined the influence of hostile followership on leadership behaviour. Her research interests include leader-follower dynamics and status hierarchies in groups. Noelle is a recipient of the Douglas N. Jackson Memorial Award (2018) and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2021-2022). Her hobbies include asking people when their birthday is, watching Jeopardy, and trying to find some zen on her yoga mat.



Lynden is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational psychology with the supervision of Dr. Alex Benson. His research interests include how hierarchies are behaviourally developed, negotiated, and communicated within groups. Lynden completed a Master of Science degree in Social Psychology at Western under the supervision of Dr. Erin Heerey on the effect of perceived role suitability on prestige, dominance, performance, and communication. Outside of academia, Lynden enjoys playing board games, playing guitar and composing, camping, and cooking.



Jennifer is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with the supervision of Dr. Alex Benson. Her MSc, completed at Western, examined the influence of trust on the downfall of narcissistic leaders. Jennifer’s main research interests include group dynamics, personality, behaviour and trust. Jennifer is a recipient of the Douglas N. Jackson Award, awarded for promising research potential in Western University’s Industrial/Organization Psychology program. As well, she received funding through the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2020-2021), provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Outside of academia, Jennifer enjoys listening to music, watching documentaries, drawing/art as well as spending time with family and friends.



Zhuo is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with the supervision of Dr. Alex Benson. He previously completed his M.Sc. at Western University investigating leadership under intergroup contexts and how to encourage positive intergroup behaviours. His research interests include leadership and followership, interpersonal perceptions and dyadic behaviours, status and power in organizations, and group/team dynamics. In his spare time, Zhuo enjoys watching movies, going on road trips, hiking and spending time with friends.


Tina is currently in her second year of the MSc in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with the supervision of Dr. Alex Benson. Her main research interests include personality and social rank dynamics in work groups. Tina is a recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2020-2021) and the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master's (2021-2022).  Outside of academia, Tina enjoys skiing, dancing, drawing, and practicing the guitar.



Tianlu is currently in her final year of Western’s honors in psychology undergrad program with the supervision of Dr. Alex Benson. Her research interests include social power motives, leadership, and social ranking. In her spare time, Tianlu enjoys early morning workouts with friends and playing with/bullied by her cats.


Our lab is not accepting graduate student applications for 2022-2023.

Lab Alumni


For a complete and updated list of publications, see:




Gottlieb, M., Eys, M., Hardy, J., & Benson, A. J. (accepted). Valued insight or act of insubordination? How context shapes coaches’ perceptions of challenge-oriented followership. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.


McLaren, C. D., Boardley, I. D., Benson, A. J., Martin, L. J., Fransen, K., Herbison, J. D., Slatcher, R. B., Carré, J. M., Côté, J., & Bruner, M. W. (2021).  Follow the leader: Identity leadership and moral behaviour in social situations among youth sport teammates. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 55, 101940.


Baird, N. Martin, L. J., & Benson, A. J. (2020). A dynamic view of coach transformational leadership: How leadership perceptions across time relate to task cohesion and team potency. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 51, 101789.


Benson, A. J., Hardy, J., & Eys, M. A. (2016). Contextualizing leaders’ interpretations of proactive followership. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37, 949-966.




Lynch, J., McGregor, A., & Benson, A. J. (2021). My way or the highway: Narcissism and dysfunctional team conflict processes. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. Advance online publication.


Benson, A. J., & Giacomin, M. (2020). How narcissism and self-esteem differentially relate to high and (un)stable feelings of status and inclusion. Journal of Personality, 88 (6), 1177-1195.


Benson, A. J., Jeschke, J., Jordan, C. H., Bruner, M. W., & Arnocky, S. (2019). Will they stay or will they go? Narcissistic admiration and rivalry predict ingroup affiliation and devaluation. Journal of Personality, 87, 871-888.


Benson, A. J., & Jordan, C. (2018).  Narcissistic followership. In A. Hermann, A. Brunell, & J. Foster (Eds.), Trait narcissism: Key advances, research methods, and controversies. Springer Publishing Company.


Benson, A. J., Jordan, C. H., & Christie, A. M. (2016). Narcissistic responses to subordinate role assignment: The case of the narcissistic follower. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 985-999.




Chamberlain, J. J., Hall, C. R., & Benson, A. J. (2021). How team socialization processes relate to youth ice hockey players’ social identity strength and cohesion. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. Advance online publication.


Leo., F. M., González-Ponce, I., López-Gajardo, T., Benson, A. J., & Eys, M. (2020). How socialization tactics relate to role clarity, cohesion, and intentions to return in team sports. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 50, 101735


Caron, J. G., Benson, A. J., Steins, R., McKenzie, L., & Bruner, M. W. (2021). The social dynamics involved in recovery and return to sport following a sport-related concussion: A study of three athlete-teammate-coach triads. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 52, 101824.


Cascagnette, J., Benson, A. J., Cruwys, T., Haslam, A., & Bruner, M. (2021). More than just another bib: Group dynamics in an elite Nordic ski team. Journal of Sports Sciences, 39, 638-652.

​Benson, A. J., Azizi, E., Evans, M. B., Eys, M., & Bray, S. R. (2019). How innuendo shapes impressions of task and intimacy groups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 85, 103854.


Benson, A. J., & Eys, M. A. (2017). Understanding the consequences of newcomer integration processes: The Sport Team Socialization Tactics Questionnaire. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 39, 13-28.


Benson, A. J., Eys, M., & Irving, G. (2016). Great expectations: How role expectations and role experiences relate to perceptions of team cohesion. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 38, 160-172.


Benson, A. J., Evans, M. B., & Eys, M. A. (2016). Organizational socialization in team sport environments. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 4, 463-473.




Herbison, J. D., Martin, L. J., Slatcher, R., Boardley, I., Benson, A. J., Sutcliffe, J., McLaren, C., Carré, J., Côté, J, Coletti, J.T., & Bruner, M. W. The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR): A novel approach for examining social environments in youth sport. (2020). International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Advance online publication. 


Graupensperger, S., Benson, A. J., Kilmer, J. R., & M. B., Evans. (2020). Social (un)distancing: Teammate interactions, athletic identity, and mental health of student-athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Adolescent Health, 67 (5), 662-670.  


Sutcliffe, J., McLaren, C., Benson, A. J., Arnocky, S., Martin, L. J., Shields, C., Law, B., Dorsch, T. E., & Bruner, M. W. (2020). Parents’ moral intentions towards antisocial parent behaviour: An identity approach in youth sport. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 49, 101699.


Graupensperger, S. A., Benson, A. J., Bray, B. C., & Evans, M. B. (2019). Social cohesion and peer acceptance predict student-athletes’ attitudes toward health-risk behaviors: A within- and between-group investigation. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22 (12), 1280-1286.


​Graupensperger, S., Benson, A. J., Evans, M. B. (2018). Everyone else is doing it: The association between social identity and susceptibility to peer-influence in NCAA athletes. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 40, 117-127.

Benson, A. J., & Bruner, M. W. (2018). How teammate behaviors relate to athlete affect, cognition, and behaviors: A daily diary approach within youth sport. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 34, 119-127.




Eys, M. A., Evans, M. B., & Benson, A. J. (2020). Group dynamics in sport (5th Ed.). Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Publishing.


Given our lab’s overarching interests in group dynamics, our lab attends a variety of academic conferences. Over the past two years, we’ve attended the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Annual American Psychological Association Conference, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention. We are looking forward to attending the INGRoup conference in the summer of 2022.


McGregor, A., Baird, N., Jensen, L., & Benson, A. J. (May 2021). Loved or feared? How narcissism relates to prestige and dominance strategies in teams across time. Presented at the Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention. Virtual conference.


Zhuo, Li., & Benson, A. J. (February 2021) Culture and narcissism: The roles of fundamental social motives. Presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Virtual conference.


Lynch, J., Jordan, C., Giacomin, M., & Benson, A. J. (February 2021). Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: How narcissistic admiration and rivalry relate to perceived narcissism and likeability within teams over time. Presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Virtual conference.


Baird, N., & Benson, A.J. (June 2020). An examination of team conflict: The essential role of followership. Poster Presentation at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Conference. Virtual conference.


Baird, N., Woodley, H.J.R., & Benson, A.J. (February 2020). Where you lead, I will follow: Developing a measure and nomological network of followership motives.  Poster Presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Preconference: Bringing intragroup processes back to social psychology, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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