‘I Genuinely Like the Scientific Process’

This researcher's work in psychology gives him an idea of why people do what they do, including why he enjoys Mediterranean cuisine so much.


Erez Freud is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, at York University. His research focuses on the mental processes that allow us to perceive the world around us. We asked him everything from his love of Mediterranean cuisine to the importance of choosing the right lab for budding researchers in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about being a researcher?

I genuinely like the scientific process: asking questions, designing an experiment, collecting and analyzing data, and reaching conclusions. This process forces you to think carefully, be creative and collaborative, and develop new skills.

What advice would you give young researchers?

As a young researcher, I was fortunate to work with amazing supervisors and mentors. I learned so much from these excellent scientists who really devoted themselves to promote science and their students. Thus, I would recommend that young researchers choose their supervisors carefully. Aim to work with great researchers who are also excellent mentors. Choose a lab that provides a collaborative and supportive — rather than competitive — environment.

What inspired you to become a researcher?

As an undergraduate student, I took the “neural basis of behaviour” course. I found this class to be captivating. I was fascinated by the complex relationship between brain and behaviour, by case studies of individuals who suffer from unique brain disorders, and how their cases shaped our understanding of brain representations. After I completed this class, I understood that I want to conduct this kind of research and have my own lab.

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with my family, running outside, and reading.

What’s your favourite cuisine?

I grew up in Israel, and therefore, it might not be surprising that my favourite cuisine is Mediterranean — hummus, salads, and falafel.

If you could do any profession other than your own, what would it be?

I would probably choose to be a physician. In my work as a scientist, I often meet patients. Even though I acknowledge the value of my work, there are cases where I want to help the patients I meet and not only investigate their behaviour and neural functioning.

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