Dr. Nigel Mantou Lou

Photo by Louise Major, UVic Photo Services

 ** I am curently recruiting honour and graduate students (how to join)**

I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, and research fellow at the Centre for Youth and Society, University of Victoria. I am a social-educational psychologist and the director of the Motivation and Intercultural Relations (MIR) Lab.

Background: I completed my Ph.D. in Psychology in 2019 (University of Alberta) and a  postdoc at McGill (2020-2021).

Teaching:  I teach a variety of courses at the University of Victoria, including social psychology, cultural psychology, psychology of migration, and statistics (see here).

Research: My research interests are at the intersection of social/personality psychology, educational psychology, and applied linguistics, especially where they converge on motivation, identity, intercultural communications, and intergroup relations. One line of my research focuses on beliefs and motivation that influence language development and intergroup/interpersonal processes. Current projects include examining social factors that shape mindsets and goal pursuits related to the success of language learning and interpersonal/intergroup communication. Another line of my research focuses on acculturation and socio-cultural adaptation, particularly their relations with discrimination, identity, and language development. Current projects include studying immigrants and ethnic minorities’ experiences of racism, and how their experiences may continue to impact their well-being and socio-cultural adaptation. 

Award: My honors and awards include winning the AERA Wilbert J. McKeachie Early Career Award for Motivation in Education Research (2023). My work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council  (SSHRC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), among others.

Editorial: I am an editorial fellow for the Journal of Educational Psychology and an associate editor for Psychology of Language and Communication. I am also on the editorial board of British Journal of Social PsychologyInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations, and Social Psychology of Education.


Research areas and representative publications

Migration and Acculturation:

Lou, N. M. (in press). Course design for the psychology of migration: Intradisciplinary and experiential approach. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology.  Preprint    Materials

Lou, N. M. (2021). Acculturation in a postcolonial context: Language, identity, cultural adaptation, and academic achievement of Macao students in Mainland ChinaInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations, 85, 213–225.

Li, W-Q, Li, L. M.W., & Lou, N. M. (2022). Who moved with you? The companionship of significant others reduces movers’ motivation to make new friends. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 25(2), 319-335.

Lou, N. M., & Noels, K. A. (2019). Sensitivity to language-based rejection in intercultural communication: The role of language mindsets and implications for migrants’ cross-cultural adaptationApplied Linguistics, 40(3),478–505.

Identity, Prejudice, and Intergroup Relations:


Lou, N. M., & Noels, K. A. (2023). “Your English is good for an immigrant”: Examining mixed effects of mindset messages on perceived linguistic potential of and blame attributions towards ESL migrants. Journal of Language and Social Psychology.

Lou, N. M, Noels, K. A., Kurl, S., Zhang, Y. S., & Leslie, H. (2022). COVID discrimination experience: Chinese Canadians’ social identities moderate the effect of personal and group discrimination on well-being. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Lou, N. M., Noels, K. A., Kurl, S., Zhang, Y. S., & Leslie, H. (in press). Chinese Canadians’ experiences of the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism: Relations with identity, negative emotion, and anti-racism incident reporting. Canadian Psychology.

Haldane, C., Lou, N. M., Harley, J. M. (in press). Social-historical accounts of identity processes and resilience: Experiences of older and prominent members of the LGBTQ+ community. Journal of Homosexuality.

Chaffee, K. E., Lou, N. M, Noels, K. A., & Katz, J. (2019). Why don’t “real” men learn foreign languages? Masculinity threat and gender ideology suppress men’s language motivation. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations.

Lou, N. M., & Noels, K. A. (2020). Mindsets about language learning and support for immigrants’ integration. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 79, 45–57.

Intercultural Communication and Language Learning:

Lou, N. M., & Noels, K. A. (2020). Breaking the vicious cycle of language anxiety: Growth language mindsets improve lower-competence ESL students’ intercultural interactionsContemporary Educational Psychology, 61,101847.

Lou, N. M., Chaffee, K. E., & Noels, K. A. (2021). Growth, fixed and mixed mindsets: Mindset system profiles in foreign language learners and their role in engagement and achievement. Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

Lou, N. M., & Noels, K. A. (2020). Mindsets matter for linguistic minority students: Growth mindsets foster greater perceived proficiency, especially for newcomersModern Language Journal, 104(4), 739-756.

Cross-Cultural Psychology: 


Lou, N. M., & Li, L.M.W. (in press). Social mobility and motivational payoff: Achievement motivation is more important in students’ performance and well-being in cultures with high vs. low social mobility. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. Preprint

Lou, N. M., & Li, L.M.W. (2023). The mindset × societal norm effect across 78 cultures: Growth mindsets are linked to performance weakly and well-being negatively in societies with fixed-mindset norms. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(1), 134–152.    Preprint

Lou, N. M., & Li, L. M. (2017). Interpersonal relationship mindsets and rejection sensitivity across cultures: The role of relational mobility. Personality and Individual Differences, 108, 200–206.

Lee, H., Lou, N. M., Johnson, M. D., & Park, S. W. (2019). A Socio-ecological approach to understanding mental and physical health: The mediating role of relationship beliefs and goals. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.36(10),3117-3138.

Mental Health and Well-Being:

Lou, N. M., Noels, K. A. Zhang, Y. S. D. & Kurl, S. (2022). Ethnic minority, immigrants, and Indigenous peoples’ well-being disparities in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating role of threat perceptions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 88, 148-156.

Lou, N. M., Montreuil, T. C., Feldman, L., Fried, G., Lavoie-Tremblay, M., Bhanji, F., Kennedy, H., Kaneva, P., Drouin, S., & Harley, J. M. (2022). Evaluations of healthcare providers’ perceived support from personal, hospital, and system resources: Implications for wellbeing and management in healthcare in Montreal, Quebec during COVID-19. Evaluation & the Health Professions.

Lou, N. M., Montreuil, T. C., Feldman, L., Fried, G., Lavoie-Tremblay, M., Bhanji, F., Kennedy, H., Kaneva, P., & Harley, J.M. (2021). Nurses and physicians’ distress, burnout, and coping strategies during COVID-19: Stress and impact on perceived performance and intentions to quit. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

Harley, J. M., Montreuil, T. C., Lou, N. M., Feldman, L., Fried, G., Lavoie-Tremblay, M., Bhanji, F., Kennedy, H. (2022). Rethinking how healthcare professionals cope with stress: A process model for COVID-19 and beyondHealth Care Management Review.