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Past Talks/Colloquia 2010


PSYCHOLOGY PROSEMINAR SERIES

Friday, November 5: Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Yale University

Talk: LOST IN THOUGHT: THE PERILS OF RUMINATION

2:30 pm - Dupuis Hall Room 217



PSYCHOLOGY DISTINGUISHED LECTURER SERIES

Thursday, October 14:
Dr. Adriane E. Seiffert, Vanderbilt University

Talk: HOW WE KNOW WHERE THINGS GO

2:30 pm - Miller Hall Room 1052

 


PSYCHOLOGY PROSEMINAR SERIES

Friday, October 15: Dr. Frank Tong, Vanderbilt University

Talk: DECODING VISUAL AND MENTAL STATES FROM HUMAN BRAIN ACTIVITY

2:30 pm - Dupuis Hall Room 217

 


PSYCHOLOGY DISTINGUISHED LECTURER SERIES

Friday, April 16:
Dr. Victoria Talwar , McGill University

Talk: ASSESSING AND PROMOTING THE VERACITY OF CHILD WITNESS REPORTS

3:30 pm - Bioscience Complex Lecture Hall Room 1102

  Friday, March 26:
James L. McGaugh, PhD, University of California, Irvine, Irvine CA

Talk: MAKING LASTING MEMORIES: EMOTIONAL AROUSAL AND AMYGDALA ACTIVATION

2:30 pm - Botterell Hall Room B147

 


PSYCHOLOGY PROSEMINAR SERIES

Friday, March 5:
Allison B. Sekuler, McMaster University

Talk: THE MANY FACES OF FACE PERCEPTION

2:30 pm - Botterell Hall Room B147


Past Talks/Colloquia 2009


 
Friday, November 27:
Professor Xinyin Chen, University of Western Ontario

Talk: SOCIAL FUNCTIONING AND ADJUSTMENT IN CHINESE AND CANADIAN CHILDREN

2:30 pm - Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1103

 
Friday, September 25:
Dr. Marc Hauser

Talk:  THE UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR OF OUR MORAL JUDGEMENTS

2:30 pm - Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1103

 
Friday, October 2, 2009 :
Dr. Shinobu Kitayama

Talk: THE SOCIAL SELF AND THE SOCIAL BRAIN: A PERSPECTIVE OF CULTURAL NEUROSCIENCE

2:30 pm - Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1103

 
Friday, October 23:
Dr. Katherine Burdick
Talk: TBA
Abstract: TBA
 
Friday, November 6:
Dr. Steve Spencer
 
Psychology Proseminar Series
Speaker:
Dr. Liisa Galea
University of British Columbia
Date:
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Location:
Humphrey Hall Room 223
Time:
12:00 - 1:30 pm
Title: Does motherhood change the brain?
Examining the role of reproductive hormones on neuroplasticity, cognition and mental health.
 
 
Psychology Proseminar Series
Speaker:
Jay Pratt
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto
Date:
Friday, March 27, 2009
Location:
Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1102
Time:
2:30 pm
Title: Orienting and responding: Examining varieties of attention
For the past 30 years, visual attention has been generally thought to be separable into two distinct systems; exogenous (involuntary, peripheral, bottom-up) and endogenous (voluntary, central, top-down).  This talk will examine some of the evidence gathered over the last few years that shows that attentional orienting can occur under situations that are a mix of exogenous and endogenous, particularly with centrally presented stimuli such as non-informative arrows, numbers, time-related words, and divine-related words.  Moving beyond the effect of attention on the time in which a response can be initiated, the impact of orienting attention in determining what response will be selected for action will also be examined, and initial evidence for an “action-control setting” will be presented.  Taken together, the presented work will suggest that a third variety of attention needs to be considered, and will highlight the need to consider action systems when examining all varieties of attention.
 
 
Psychology Proseminar Series
Speaker:
Alison Chasteen
University of Toronto
Date:
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Location:
Chernoff Hall Auditorium (90 Bader Lane)
Time:
2:30 pm
Title: When I’m 64: How Future Aged Identities Shape Age Group Perceptions and Anticipated Well-Being
Memberships in age groups are different from memberships in other types of groups because people change age groups over time.  The temporary nature of age group memberships suggests a unique role for future age group identities in shaping intergenerational perceptions as well as expectations for the future.   In a series of studies, we examined how having young adults consider their future aged selves affects their feelings toward today’s seniors as well as toward their own anticipated well-being as older adults.  In Studies 1 and 2, we found that the degree to which young adults identified with their current age group was an important moderator of their reactions to thinking about their future aged selves, such that strongly identified participants expressed more negative views of older people when they thought about aging themselves compared to when they did not.  In Studies 3 and 4, we found that age group identification moderated anticipated well-being in younger adults, such that those participants who strongly identified with their current age group expected reduced well-being in old age unless they also anticipated identifying with their future aged in-group.  In Study 5, we sought to understand age group identification better by examining two related constructs, cohort and youth identification.  We found that cohort and youth identification are distinct and relate differently to other age-related constructs.  The results from these studies support that argument that age group memberships are unique and that additional identification processes must be considered when examining determinants of intergenerational perceptions.
 
 
Distinguished Lecturer
Speaker:
Dan Keating
University of Michigan
Date:
Friday, March 20, 2009
Location:
Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1102
Time:
2:30 pm
Title: From Developmental Mechanisms to Social Disparities: Process, Person, and Population Approaches
A persistent challenge for developmental science, policy, and practice has been to understand the sources and trajectories in development that are linked to robust findings of social disparities in outcomes of health, behavior problems, social competence, and educational performance.  A working hypothesis that proposes causal links from basic processes to population patterns has guided our work on this model.  Empirical illustrations at several levels of analysis demonstrate the intensive interdisciplinarity required to test such a hypothesis, and the future directions and prospects for advancing this model are described, as are some of the major implications for policy and practice.
 
 


 

Distinguished Lecturer
Speaker:
David J. A. Dozois, Ph.D.
University of Western Ontario
Date:
Friday, March 13, 2009
Location:
Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1102
Time:
2:30 pm
Title: Cognitive Structure as a Vulnerability Factor for Depression:
Sensitivity, Specificity, Stability and Modifiability via Cognitive Therapy

Three primary levels of cognition are emphasized in Beck’s theory of depression: Cognitive products (e.g., negative automatic thoughts, dysfunctional attitudes), processes (e.g., attention and memory biases) and structures (i.e., well-organized and interconnected internal representations of self).  In this presentation, a program of research is described showing that negative cognitive structures show sensitivity and specificity to depression. The interaction of cognitive structure and negative life events also appears to predict future depression. Although the products and processes associated with depression appear to fluctuate with concurrent mood (i.e., this negative thinking improves when an individual remits from an episode), the organization of negative interpersonal content related to self appears to be temporally stable. Given that cognitive therapy (CT) is highly effective for treating the acute phase of a depressive episode, and that this treatment also reduces the risk of relapse and recurrence, it is possible that CT may alter this stable vulnerability factor. Some data will be presented that supports this idea. The implications of these results for understanding mechanisms of change in therapy and the prophylactic nature of cognitive therapy will be discussed.
 
 
Distinguished Lecturer
Speaker:
Jeremy M. Wolfe, Professor of Ophthalmology
Brigham & Women's Hospital & Harvard Medical School
Date:
Friday, February 27, 2009
Location:
Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1102
Time:
2:30 pm
Title: Bags, breasts, and lots of little cells: Visual search gets real
Modern civilization has created many demanding, socially important visual search tasks. These include airport baggage screening and many medical diagnostic procedures (mammography, cervical cancer screening, etc.). We perform these tasks with brains built for other tasks like foraging for food and recognizing scenes. The collision of these tasks and our brains produces a variety of interesting problems. What happens when you search for something that is very rare? Do expert searchers develop the ability to find complex targets in a single glance? My talk will focus on a series of problems with one foot in the lab and one foot in the real world.
 
 

Talks/Colloquia 2008


Speaker:
John Holmes, Professor of Psychology, University of Waterloo
Date: Friday, November 7, 2008
Location:
Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1102
Time:
2:30 pm
Title: Risk Regulation in Relationships
A model of risk regulation is proposed to explain how people balance the goal of seeking closeness to a romantic partner against the opposing goal of minimizing the likelihood and pain of rejection. The central premise is that confidence in a partner's positive regard and caring allows people to risk seeking dependence and connectedness. The risk regulation system consists of 3 interconnected "if-then" contingency rules, 1 cognitive, 1 affective, and 1 behavioral. The authors describe how general perceptions of a partner's regard structure the sensitivity of these 3 "if-then" rules in risky relationship situations. The authors then describe the consequences of such situated "if-then" rules for relationship well-being and conclude by integrating other theoretical perspectives and outlining future research directions.

 
Distinguished Lecturer
Speaker:
Dr. Lisa Diamond, University of Utah
Date:
Friday, October 17th , 2008
Location:
Biosciences Complex Lecture Hall Room 1102
Time:
2:30 p.m.
Title: How Do I Love Thee? Rethinking the Nature and Development of Same-Sex Love and Desire
Historically, research on same-sex sexuality has presumed neat and tidy distinctions between heterosexual and homosexual individuals, as well as neat and tidy correspondences between experiences of sexual attraction and experiences of romantic love. In this presentation, Dr. Diamond reviews results from her ongoing longitudinal qualitative study of sexual-minority (i.e., nonheterosexual) women, now in its 12th year, demonstrating that many of these long-standing presumptions are woefully out of date. Dr. Diamond reviews evidence suggesting that female sexuality, in particular, has a capacity for fluidity that has long been unappreciated. She also discusses evolved biobehavioral features of the attachment system that may contribute to female sexual fluidity. Dr. Diamond's research has implications for future psychobiological investigations of sexuality, emotion, and interpersonal relationships.
 
Distinguished Lecturer
Speaker:
Dr. Marc Hauser, Harvard University
Date:
CANCELED
Location:
 
Time:
 
Title: Evolving a language faculty
Chomsky's view of the faculty of language is that it consists of three core components and their interfaces: phonological, semantic and syntactic. An important goal for those with an evolutionary bent is to determine whether these components evolved for language or for some other domain of knowledge. One approach to addressing this problem is to look at nonhuman animals, looking not only at whether they deploy these processes in the service of communication, but in other functional problems as well. In this talk, I focus on the computational resources that might underlie our grammatical abilities, presenting data from laboratory experiments on nonhuman primates that mirror those carried out with human infants. I conclude with the claim that most, if not all, of the phonological and semantic processes are shared with other animals, whereas some of the key computational resources are not. This leaves open the question of whether these computational resources are unique to language as opposed to shared with other domains of knowledge.
 
Distinguished Lecturer
Speaker:
Dr. Dan Kersten, University of Minnesota
Date:
March 7, 2008
Location:
1102 BioSciences Complex
Time:
2:30
Title: Why is visual object perception so good
The certainty of our visual experience stands in stark contrast to the ambiguity of the image information at the retina. To deal with this ambiguity, the brain exploits considerable "built-in" knowledge about the structure of the environment, both in how it responds to our actions, and how it affects our sensations. In particular, our ability to perceive the properties of objects--their sizes, depths, shapes, movements, and materials--relies on generative knowledge of the causes of image features. Bayesian theory provides a way to characterize generative models that in turn constrain possible mechanisms for object perception. I will show perceptual demonstrations involving shape, size, and lightness, that illustrate different types of generative knowledge at work. I will also describe neuroimaging (BOLD fMRI) studies in humans that suggest possible mechanisms for how such built-in knowledge is used in the brain.
 
 
Proseminar
Speaker:
Dr. David Feinberg, McMaster University
Date: February 29, 2008
Location:
1102 BioSciences Complex
Time:
2:30
Title: Is voice pitch in men an ornament of quality?
In order for a trait to be considered an ornament of quality, it must satisfy a number of conditions including: being costly to produce; indicating mate value; being difficult to fake; and conveying a survival/reproductive benefit. Here I provide evidence that suggests voice pitch among men satisfies most, if not all of these conditions. Indeed, among men, low voice pitch is costly to produce as it is causally linked to testosterone levels; indicates mate value as it alters mate-choice relevant attributions -contingent upon ecological parameters; although somewhat able to be faked, there is selection pressure not to do so; and conveys a reproductive benefit as men with lower pitched voices have higher reproductive success than men with higher pitched voices do. Collectively, these results suggest that voice pitch in men is indeed an ornament of quality.

 
 
Distinguished Lecturer
Speaker:
Dr. Lisa Diamond, University of Utah
Date:
To be rescheduled due to weather
Location:
 
Time:
 
Title: How Do I Love Thee? Rethinking the Nature and Development of Same-Sex Love and Desire
Historically, research on same-sex sexuality has presumed neat and tidy distinctions between heterosexual and homosexual individuals, as well as neat and tidy correspondences between experiences of sexual attraction and experiences of romantic love. In this presentation, Dr. Diamond reviews results from her ongoing longitudinal qualitative study of sexual-minority (i.e., nonheterosexual) women, now in its 12th year, demonstrating that many of these long-standing presumptions are woefully out of date. Dr. Diamond reviews evidence suggesting that female sexuality, in particular, has a capacity for fluidity that has long been unappreciated. She also discusses evolved biobehavioral features of the attachment system that may contribute to female sexual fluidity. Dr. Diamond's research has implications for future psychobiological investigations of sexuality, emotion, and interpersonal relationships.
   

Talks/Colloquia 2007




Invited Talks
Speaker: Professor Brigitte Kieffer
Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Institut de Genetique et e Biologie Moleculaire
Strasbourg, France
Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Seminar Room, 920 Botterell Hall
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Title: Opioid receptors and brain function: genetic approaches
   
   
Proseminar
Speaker: Dr. Jim Ramsay
Psychology at McGill and Chemical Engineering at Queen's
Date: November 23, 2007
Location: 1102 BioScience Complex
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Title: Controlling Behavioral Input/Output Systems
The proposition that we use feedback from the consequences of our past behavior to modify our present behavior is hard to challenge, and is associated with a literature that already has a long history. Thanks to new developments, though, we in the behavioral sciences now have the statistical methodology to model data with the kinds of dynamical systems used in fields such as chemical engineering, and therefore the potential to study feedback processes directly. This talk reviews the basics of dynamical systems from a behavioral perspective, and discusses the relative merits of the three principal types of control used in other fields to keep systems on target. The talk will be nonmathematical, and will aim to stimulate the interest of psychologists in using control principals to guide their own research interests and to develop new research opportunities
   
   
Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker:
Dr. Christopher I. Petkov
Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
Date:
November 15, 2007
Location:
1102 BioSciences Complex
Time:
3:30
Title: In pursuit of primate evolutionary relationships: The auditory cortex listens, sees and feels

In noisy listening environments, the auditory system can perceptually 'fill-in' or restore occluded sounds, much like our visual system 'fills-in' occluded visual objects. In the first part of the talk I will describe an auditory-illusion, which we created on the basis of human auditory continuity phenomena (perceptual continuity), and subsequently used in studies with nonhuman primates to understand a neurophysiological basis for its perception. Behavioral evidence supported that macaque monkeys experience the illusion, and neurons from a part of primary auditory cortex revealed how they segregate the features of the complex sound, including its illusory component.

 

In the second part of the talk I will describe fMRI studies of the monkey auditory cortex. We first used high resolution fMRI to functionally reveal numerous auditory cortical areas in the non-human primate. We further identified the precise auditory cortical areas that appear to integrate information from touch and sight, which shows that already the early auditory cortical fields are modulated by information from different senses. In the context of perceptual continuity, our current electrophysiological and fMRI experiments are testing the idea that cross-sensory influences can disambiguate the acoustic information available for segmenting an auditory scene. I will conclude the talk by showing fMRI evidence for a "voice" area in the monkey brain and discuss its possible evolutionary relationship with human vocal recognition of nonlinguistic sounds.


   
   
Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker:
Dr. Tom Dishion
Child and Family Center
University of Oregon
Date:
Cancelled
Location:
 
Time:
 
Title: Deviant by Design: Peer Influence Dynamics and Ecologies that Promote Problem Behavior
This presentation discusses recent research on the conditions under which deviant peer groups form, the dynamics of influence within deviant peer groups and the potential of interventions that aggregate high risk youth to increase problem behavior. In the first part of the talk, longitudinal data are presented that show that peer rejection and academic failure increase the formation of deviant peer groups such as gangs in early adolescence. In the second part of the talk, direct observations of friendship dynamics are presented, and linked to both short and long-term increases in adolescent and young adult problem behavior. Two interpersonal dynamics are important to understanding the influence of deviant peers on problem behavior. First, research on the process of deviancy training within adolescent friendships is reviewed. It appears that friendship dyads that self-organized on deviant topics are those that are the most influential for future problem behavior. Second, implications for developmental research on peer dynamics to intervention outcomes are explored. Evidence linking interventions that aggregate high risk youth into groups to negative outcomes is briefly reviewed. Empirically supported strategies for reducing peer contagion within intervention groups, as well as alternative interventions strategies that do not aggregate are discussed.

   
   
Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker:
Dr. Richard E. Petty
Department of Psychology
Ohio State University
Date:
September 28, 2007
Location:
1102 BioSciences Complex
Time:
2:30 p.m.
Title: Self-Validation Effects in Persuasion: Focus on Power and Emotion
Much research in persuasion has examined how the number and valence of individuals' message-relevant thoughts affect the extent of influence. However, just because people generate relevant thoughts does not mean that they will use them in forming judgments. We have proposed that in order for people to use their thoughts in deliberative judgments, they need to have confidence in those thoughts. I review initial evidence for the idea that people validate their thoughts before using them, and then describe several experiments focusing on the determinants of thought validity. The determinants of thought validity documented in our research program include external factors such as social consensus, and internal factors such as feelings of power and various emotional states.
   
   
Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker:
Dr. Bruce Morton
Department of Psychology
University of Western Ontario
Date:
September 21, 2007
Location:
1102 BioSciences Complex
Time:
2:30 p.m.
Title: Perseveration, dissociation, and the development of cognitive control
Children often perseverate or repeat old behaviours that are no longer appropriate despite apparent knowledge of the correct response. Such behaviours are often attributed to functional immaturity of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), but at present there is little direct evidence of this association. I will discuss two examples of children's perseveration and dissociation--one that involves card-sorting and another that involves judgements of emotion in speech--and present a neurophysiologically-plausible model of these behaviours and associated developmental changes. The model links perseveration to the degree of conflict in these tasks and suggests that developmental changes in performance are related to changes in PFC-mediated active memory processes. I will discuss some recent studies that test predictions of the model and discuss some of my new work that examines age-related changes in PFC function through the use of fMRI.
   
   
Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker:
Dr. David A. Kenny
Department of Psychology
University of Connecticut
Date:
March 30, 2007
Location:
Botterell Hall, B139
Time:
3:30 p.m.
Title: The Dance between Accuracy and Bias in Social Judgment
The conventional wisdom is that social judgment is largely biased. I review five studies that I have conducted that show that social judgment is a complex mix of both bias and accuracy. The studies are analyzed by conventional two-way ANOVA and by more complex statistical models such as the Social Relations Model and the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. In each of the studies, it is seen that the judgments are both accurate and biased. I argue that instead of thinking accuracy and bias in either-or terms, they should be viewed in dialectical fashion of coexistence, each requiring the other.
   
   
Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker:
Dr. Patrick J. Bennett
Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
McMaster University
Date:
March 2, 2007
Location:
Botterell Hall, B139
Time:
3:30 p.m.
Title: Identifying Human Faces
We are remarkably adept at perceiving faces. A single, brief glance often is sufficient for us to determine a person's age, gender, emotional state, and identity. Our apparent expertise at perceiving faces, as well as the social significance of such stimuli, has lead to the suggestion that we have perceptual mechanisms that are specialized for processing information conveyed by human faces. This expertise and related specialized processing applies only to upright faces, however, presumably because we have little experience with inverted faces. Nevertheless, there is evidence that suggests that, at least in some circumstances, human observers are remarkably inefficient at processing upright faces. In my talk, I will describe several experiments that show that adults use only a very small percentage of the available information to identify pictures of upright faces. This inefficiency is due, in part, to the fact that observers identify faces on the basis of information in a small spatial region near the eye(s) and brow(s). Another reason that we are so inefficient at identifying faces is that we rely on information conveyed at a particular spatial scale (i.e., a narrow range of spatial frequencies). Surprisingly, these constraints on identification apply similarly to both upright and inverted faces. Indeed, our evidence suggests that the dramatic difference between our perception of upright and inverted faces reflects subtle, quantitative differences in face processing, rather than the operation of qualitatively different mechanisms. These results suggest that the mechanisms used to identify upright and inverted faces may be more similar than previously believed.
   
   
Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker:
Dr. Deborah Capaldi
Oregon Social Learning Center
Eugene, OR
Date:
Cancelled
Location:
 
Time:
 
Title: Intimate Partner Violence and Crime: Women's Influence on Men's Behavior.

Adolescent boys and young men show considerably higher levels of delinquency and criminal behavior than do girls and young women. Lower levels of antisocial behavior by females has tended to lead to the view that antisocial behavior in women is not very significant in terms of either pathology or influences on others. In addition, intimate partner violence has been viewed as a male-only phenomenon until recently, and prevention and treatment programs are still predominantly based on a view of one-sided battering by the male. Deviant influences between the sexes have been largely hypothesized and tested as being from men to women. Women's influence on men as been predominantly viewed as beneficial, and reforming for deviant men.

 

In recent years there has been much more research focus on patterns and outcomes of antisocial behavior in girls and women. I will present theory and findings from the Oregon Youth Study Couples Study regarding patterns of aggression to partner in young men and women and mutual influences over time. In addition, I will present recent work where we examined the influence of the behavior of men's female partners on their persistence in crime, or onset of crime, in the early adult period. Findings suggest that we should include girls and women in preventive efforts targeting crime and intimate partner violence.


   

Talks/Colloquia 2006


Distinguished Lecturer Series
Speaker: Dr. Robert P. CARLYON
Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit,
Cambridge, UK
Date:
November 15, 2006
Location:
215 Dupuis
Time:
3:30 p.m.
Title: A retrospective effect in auditory perception?
When a sound is turned off and then resumed a short time later, it can be heard as continuous, provided that the silent interval is filled by another sound that would have masked the target if it had actually remained uninterrupted. This "continuity illusion" is useful when listening to sounds in everyday life, which may be transiently masked by other sounds. (For example, if I clap my hands in the middle of the word "meet", you hear my voice continue behind the clap, rather than interpreting it as "me eat"). I will describe a series of experiments on a phenomenon which may reflect a "retrospective" aspect of the illusion: if a sound is preceded by another sound that could plausibly mask it, people "hear" that sound as being longer than it actually was. This is consistent with them hearing it begin before it actually did, although other explanations are possible. Colleagues and I used behavioural and EEG measures to examine this hypothesis, and to determine the stage of processing at which the illusory percept arises. I will discuss the results in terms of the way the brain recodes information to make sense of perception in a complex auditory world.

Past Seminars [PDF File]

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