2016-17 Colloquium Schedule

August 9, 2016 - All colloquiums will be held from 3:30-4:30pm with a reception following immediately afterward. Locations for the talks will vary so please check individual event information.

October 6, 2016

Speaker: Leah Doane, Arizona State University

Location: ICC Auditorium

Title: Examining the Interplay of Socio-contextual Experiences and Biology: Examples from stress physiology and sleep

Abstract: A long history of research in the field of psychobiology has considered the implications of social interactions for emotion- and stress-sensitive biological processes. Investigators are also increasingly exploring socio-contextual and cultural processes in psychobiological research. In this talk I will present evidence from a longitudinal study of the transition to college supporting “WISE” incorporation of biological and socio-contextual measures in developmental research. These studies examine moment-to-moment and day-to-day dynamics among perceived stress, social connections, affect, physiology and sleep over the transition to college and the role of stress physiology and sleep in the development of psychopathology. The implications of findings across multiple time courses and contexts will be discussed in relation to new directions in my research predicting successful academic transitions and trajectories for ethnic minority populations.

Faculty host: Rebecca Ryan

You can find this event on the GU Events page!

November 3, 2016

Speaker: Greg Siegle, University of Pittsburgh

Location: Reiss 502

Title: Increased and Blunted Affect: Mechanisms and Targeted Interventions

Abstract: This presentation will consider implications of the idea that some individuals with affective psychopathologies such as depression and anxiety have increased reactivity to emotional information whereas others tend to display blunted or decreased reactions. Following a discussion of brain mechanisms that could lead to these different presentations I will explore the potential for this information to be used in treatment planning and evaluation in real-world clinics. Specific topics for which I will provide initial methods and insights from my lab will include incorporating neuroscience into communication with patients, the use of neuroimaging and psychophysiological assessment of these constructs to understand and predict response to treatments from conventional therapies, and the development of novel behavioral treatments targeted to address specific brain mechanisms.

Faculty Host: Yulia Chentsova-Dutton

December 1, 2016

Speaker: Pilyoung Kim, University of Denver

Location: ICC Auditorium

Title: Parental Brain Plasticity: The Interplay of Parenthood and Stress

Abstract: The early postpartum period represents a sensitive period when new mothers and fathers adapt to the highly challenging tasks they encounter in taking care of a newborn. Whether the new parents successfully adapt to parenting or not is critically associated with infants' developmental outcomes. In this talk, the speaker will review the structural and functional plasticity in human parents' brains, and how such plasticity supports parents' psychological adaptation to parenting and sensitive caregiving for their infants. The speaker will also discuss the early postpartum period as a window of vulnerabilities and opportunities when the parental brain is influenced by stress and psychopathology, but also susceptible to interventions.

Faculty Host: Rebecca Ryan

You can find this event on the GU Events page!

February 2, 2017

Speaker: Carolyn Hafer, Brock University

Location: Arrupe Hall, Multipurpose Room

Title: Explorations of the Deservingness Motive

Abstract: Several theories and empirical findings in psychology suggest that people have a deeply ingrained motive to see that individuals get what they deserve. In my talk, I will discuss the implications of such a motive for three disparate social domains. First, I will present research on the notion that people need to believe that the world is a just place in which individuals get what they deserve. To maintain this belief, people engage in a number of defensive reactions when confronted with victims of random misfortune, the mode of defense depending on individual differences in coping style. Second, I will discuss the role of deservingness in consumer decision-making. I will show that advertisements appealing to a deservingness motive can be effective, at least among certain consumers. Third, I will present research on deservingness and toleration of human rights violations, specifically torture. People will tolerate torture to a greater extent when the target of torture has behaved in a morally reprehensible manner and, thus, is seen to deserve harsh treatment. This result holds regardless of the degree to which people support the right to protection against torture in the abstract, and regardless of people’s political ideology. The three sets of studies suggest that a deservingness motive is applicable to diverse social realms. I will end with a brief description of some of our research in progress.

Faculty Host: Fathali Moghaddam

You can find this event on the GU Events page!

March 2, 2017

Speaker: Kim Noble, Columbia University

Location: Arrupe Hall, Multipurpose Room

Title: Socioeconomic Inequality and Children's Brain Development

Abstract: Socioeconomic disadvantage in childhood is associated with deleterious effects on cognitive development and academic achievement, which in turn have long-lasting ramifications for numerous physical and mental health outcomes across the lifespan. Yet, our understanding of the experiential, physiological, and neural pathways through which socioeconomic disparities shape developmental processes is just beginning to emerge. This talk will discuss how distal socioeconomic factors operate through more proximate factors such as the home language environment and perceived and physiologic stress, and how these proximate factors shape the development of distinct neural and cognitive systems. Implications for interventional strategies will be discussed.

Faculty Host: Rachel Barr

You can find this event on the GU Events page!

April 6, 2017

Speaker: Dan Krawczyk, University of Texas at Dallas

Location Arrupe Hall, Multipurpose Room

Title: Relational Thinking as a Foundation for Higher Cognition

Abstract: Human higher cognition is based on our elaborated ability to notice and store relational information about the environment around us. This ability has been observed in some limited situations in other species, notably non-human primates and some species of crow. Very few examples in nature indicate that other species have elaborated relational abilities. The difference between the way human and non-human species may have to do with the way in which we see the world and the human ability to use symbols to code for abstract higher-order comparisons among objects. I will present evidence of human relational reasoning on non-semantic perceptual experiments that require progressively higher-order relational comparisons to be made. Results demonstrate a strong difference among peoples' ability to solve perceptual, analogical, and system-mapped relational comparison problems. These results can be compared with analogical reasoning performance on tasks involving semantically relevant concepts. Implications for measuring higher cognition will be discussed.

Faculty Host: Adam Green

You can find this event on the GU Events page!

May 4, 2017

Speaker: Jessica Piotrowski, University of Amsterdam

Location: White-Gravenor 405

Title: Plugged In: How Media Attract and Affect Youth

Abstract: Now, as never before, young people are surrounded by media—thanks to the sophistication and portability of the technology that puts it literally in the palms of their hands. Drawing on data and empirical research that cross many fields and continents, in this presentation, Dr. Piotrowski will discuss the role of media in the lives of children from birth through adolescence, addressing the complex issues of how media affect the young and what adults can do to encourage responsible use in an age of selfies, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Faculty Host: Rachel Barr