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This list is intended to include all talks and seminars taking place in the Department of Psychology and certain related institutions.
Updated: 40 min 52 sec ago

Wed 15 Jun 16:00: Misinformation: Subjective beliefs, Source credibility, and Social Networks

Sun, 15/05/2022 - 12:46
Misinformation: Subjective beliefs, Source credibility, and Social Networks

Misinformation is a significant societal challenge with impact on health, elections, and more. To understand why and how misinformation spreads in society as well as gauge the impact of interventions, we have to consider multiple factors such as cognitive functions (e.g. belief revision, cognitive biases), social functions (e.g. the social networks people inhabit, socio-cultural norms), and structural elements (e.g. algorithms that promote information on social media, legislation). As such, it is hardly surprising that several strands of research explore the impact and spread of misinformation. In this talk, I focus on the interplay between belief revision and social structure by considering Bayesian approaches to source credibility and dependencies as well as how these models unfold in dynamic and complex information systems. I present research on cognitive models that test belief revision predictions and consider how these can be implemented in agent-based models to explore facets such as echo chamber formation, micro-targeting, and inoculation. While I provide some supportive evidence for the Bayesian models, I highlight key limitations around the complications of reliability as well as consider perspectives for the construction of larger information models that integrate insights from cognitive and social psychology as well as disciplines like anthropology and political science.

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Thu 19 May 12:30: Psychological Inoculation Against Misinformation

Thu, 12/05/2022 - 17:29
Psychological Inoculation Against Misinformation

Abstract: Much like a viral contagion, false information can spread rapidly from one mind to another. Moreover, once lodged in memory, misinformation is difficult to correct. Inoculation theory therefore offers a natural basis for developing a psychological ‘vaccine’ against the spread of fake news and misinformation. Specifically, in a series of randomized lab and field studies, we show that it is possible to pre-emptively “immunize” people against disinformation about a wide range of topics by pre-exposing them to severely weakened doses of the techniques that underlie its production. This socio-cognitive process (also known as “prebunking”) helps people cultivate cognitive antibodies in a simulated social media environment. During the talk, I’ll showcase several award-winning real-world interventions we developed and empirically evaluated in 20 languages—with governments and social media companies—to help citizens around the world recognize and resist unwanted attempts to influence and mislead.

Biography: Sander van der Linden, Ph.D., is Professor of Social Psychology in Society and Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. He has been ranked among the top 1% of social scientists in the world (by citation and impact) and has won numerous awards for his research on human judgment, communication, and decision-making, including the Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the Sage Early Career Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), and the Sir James Cameron Medal from the Royal College of Physicians. He co-designed the award-winning fake news game Bad News, which has been played by millions of people around the world and frequently advises governments and social media companies on how to fight misinformation. His research is regularly featured in outlets such as Nature Medicine, Nature Human Behaviour, PNAS , and Psychological Science as well as popular outlets such Rolling Stone, BBC , and the New York Times. He is currently writing two books, PREBUNKED (WW Norton/HarperCollins) and the Psychology of Misinformation (Cambridge University Press) and leads the APA ’s consensus report on the psychology of misinformation. Before joining Cambridge, he held academic positions at Princeton, Yale, and the LSE . For more information on Prof van der Linden, please visit: https://www.psychol.cam.ac.uk/people/sander-van-der-linden

The seminar will be chaired by Dr Noham Wolpe

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Thu 26 May 12:30: What is a delusion? Results and implications of phenomenological research

Thu, 12/05/2022 - 17:27
What is a delusion? Results and implications of phenomenological research

Abstract: Delusions in schizophrenia are commonly approached as false beliefs that result from epistemic failures to represent reality correctly. This view has been dominant throughout the history of psychiatry, and continues to inform contemporary research and practice. Phenomenological accounts, by contrast, have suggested that delusions are more adequately understood as pertaining to a different kind of reality experience. In my talk, I will discuss the results of a phenomenology study of delusional reality experience and its implications for diagnostic, explanatory and therapeutic approaches of delusions.

Biography: Dr Jasper Feyaerts is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University (Belgium) and an Associate Researcher at the Center for Contextual Psychiatry at KU Leuven. His current research interests are phenomenological approaches of psychosis and delusions, interdisciplinary integration of phenomenological research with other research approaches in clinical psychology and psychiatry, and philosophy of psychiatry. For more information on Dr Feyaerts, please visit: https://ugent.academia.edu/JasperFeyaerts

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Wed 11 May 16:00: Face and feeling: Examining the role of facial feedback in emotional feeling

Wed, 11/05/2022 - 13:34
Face and feeling: Examining the role of facial feedback in emotional feeling

Following emotion embodiment theories, the facial feedback hypothesis suggests that an individual’s facial expressions can influence their emotions (e.g., that posing a smile can cause one to feel happier). In the 100+ years since the facial feedback hypothesis was first proposed (e.g., James, 1884), facial feedback effects have become a literal textbook psychological phenomenon. However, in 2016, a large failure-to-replicate raised concerns about the validity of facial feedback effects and their underlying theories (Wagenmakers et al., 2016). Since this failure-to-replicate, many researchers have characterized facial feedback effects as inconclusively supported, controversial, or even debunked. In this talk, Dr. Nicholas Coles reviews research designed to examine the extent to which such conclusions are warranted.

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Wed 11 May 16:00: Face and feeling: Examining the role of facial feedback in emotional feeling

Fri, 06/05/2022 - 12:27
Face and feeling: Examining the role of facial feedback in emotional feeling

Following emotion embodiment theories, the facial feedback hypothesis suggests that an individual’s facial expressions can influence their emotions (e.g., that posing a smile can cause one to feel happier). In the 100+ years since the facial feedback hypothesis was first proposed (e.g., James, 1884), facial feedback effects have become a literal textbook psychological phenomenon. However, in 2016, a large failure-to-replicate raised concerns about the validity of facial feedback effects and their underlying theories (Wagenmakers et al., 2016). Since this failure-to-replicate, many researchers have characterized facial feedback effects as inconclusively supported, controversial, or even debunked. In this talk, Dr. Nicholas Coles reviews research designed to examine the extent to which such conclusions are warranted.

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Thu 19 May 12:30: Psychological Inoculation Against Misinformation

Mon, 25/04/2022 - 13:53
Psychological Inoculation Against Misinformation

Abstract: Much like a viral contagion, false information can spread rapidly from one mind to another. Moreover, once lodged in memory, misinformation is difficult to correct. Inoculation theory therefore offers a natural basis for developing a psychological ‘vaccine’ against the spread of fake news and misinformation. Specifically, in a series of randomized lab and field studies, we show that it is possible to pre-emptively “immunize” people against disinformation about a wide range of topics by pre-exposing them to severely weakened doses of the techniques that underlie its production. This socio-cognitive process (also known as “prebunking”) helps people cultivate cognitive antibodies in a simulated social media environment. During the talk, I’ll showcase several award-winning real-world interventions we developed and empirically evaluated in 20 languages—with governments and social media companies—to help citizens around the world recognize and resist unwanted attempts to influence and mislead.

Biography: Sander van der Linden, Ph.D., is Professor of Social Psychology in Society and Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. He has been ranked among the top 1% of social scientists in the world (by citation and impact) and has won numerous awards for his research on human judgment, communication, and decision-making, including the Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the Sage Early Career Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), and the Sir James Cameron Medal from the Royal College of Physicians. He co-designed the award-winning fake news game Bad News, which has been played by millions of people around the world and frequently advises governments and social media companies on how to fight misinformation. His research is regularly featured in outlets such as Nature Medicine, Nature Human Behaviour, PNAS , and Psychological Science as well as popular outlets such Rolling Stone, BBC , and the New York Times. He is currently writing two books, PREBUNKED (WW Norton/HarperCollins) and the Psychology of Misinformation (Cambridge University Press) and leads the APA ’s consensus report on the psychology of misinformation. Before joining Cambridge, he held academic positions at Princeton, Yale, and the LSE . For more information on Prof van der Linden, please visit: https://www.psychol.cam.ac.uk/people/sander-van-der-linden

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Fri 13 May 16:30: Changes in Appetitive Associative Strength and Reward Value Modulate the Intrinsic Excitability and Recruitment of Nucleus Accumbens Neuronal Ensembles

Fri, 22/04/2022 - 14:40
Changes in Appetitive Associative Strength and Reward Value Modulate the Intrinsic Excitability and Recruitment of Nucleus Accumbens Neuronal Ensembles

Please note this talk will be online and in person, if you would like the Zoom link please email the organiser.There is a capacity of 50 people in the Psychology Lecture Theatre so attendees will be allowed entry on a first come first serve basis. There is a possibility that you will be refused entry once we have reached capacity.

Biography: Eisuke Koya is a Reader in Behavioural Neuroscience at the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, as well as a visiting investigator at Scripps Research in San Diego (USA). He obtained his BA in Neurobiology at the University of California at Berkeley. Afterwards, he obtained his PhD under the mentorship of Profs. Taco De Vries and Guus Smit at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands), where he investigated immediate early gene (IEG) expression patterns in corticostriatal brain areas during cue-induced drug and natural reward seeking behaviours using real-time quantitative PCR .

He then conducted his post-doctoral research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Programme (NIDA IRP , Baltimore, USA ) under the mentorship of Drs. Yavin Shaham, Bruce Hope, and Carl Lupica. During this time, he investigated how sparse sets of activated neurons or ‘neuronal ensembles’ mediated learned associations between drug effects and the drug administration context and underwent unique synaptic adaptations. In 2012, he joined the School of Psychology as a Lecturer and was promoted to Reader (USA equivalent of associate professor) in 2018. Since 2015, he has been a visiting investigator at Dr. Nobuyoshi Suto’s laboratory at Scripps Research. His laboratory investigates how neuronal ensembles in motivationally-relevant brain areas such as the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex, establish, maintain, and update appetitive associations between food rewards and the cues that predict their availability. In particular, his lab is interested in how neuronal ensembles are recruited and undergo physiological (e.g. excitability) alterations during appetitive learning. To reveal these ensemble mechanisms, our lab utilises a range of neuroscientific tools such as in vivo fibre photometry and 2-P imaging, ex vivo electrophysiology and histological approaches.

Abstract: Both humans and animals need to respond appropriately to cues that predict the availability of food for nutrient procurement. For example, one may follow a sign leading to a fast food restaurant when driving while hungry or wild mice may follow sweet smells that lead them towards fragrant ripe berries. Such reactive actions to cues (‘cue reactivity’) depend on the brain’s ability to store and retrieve learned associations about food and its predictive cues. Such ‘food-cue’ associations form during Pavlovian conditioning. Although the brain areas implicated in food-cue associations have been well-characterised, the specific neuronal populations that help encode these associations have not been fully elucidated yet.

Animal research has allowed us to obtain better insight of the precise mechanisms behind how these associations are formed and established at the level individual neurons such as their activity patterns. They also allow the characterisation of how individual neurons undergo physiological changes such as changes in their electrical or ‘excitability’ properties, which are thought to be critical for information storage and retrieval. We and others have shown that cue-reward associations are encoded in specific patterns of activity from a population of sparsely distributed neurons, called ‘neuronal ensembles’ in brain areas implicated in reward, such as the nucleus accumbens. Here, I will discuss how factors such as the strength of food-cue associations and the rewarding value of food impact cue-evoked food-seeking and the underlying activity patterns and excitability properties of neuronal ensembles in the nucleus accumbens.

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Fri 29 Apr 16:30: Trials and Tribulations: the challenges of promoting sustainable improvements in child development

Fri, 22/04/2022 - 14:29
Trials and Tribulations: the challenges of promoting sustainable improvements in child development

Please note this talk will be online and in person, if you would like the Zoom link please email the organiser.There is a capacity of 50 people in the Psychology Lecture Theatre so attendees will be allowed entry on a first come first serve basis. There is a possibility that you will be refused entry once we have reached capacity.

Biography Professor Pasco Fearon is Professor of Family Research at the University Cambridge and director of the Centre for Family Research there. He is also a senior clinical psychologist at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. He is President of the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies and a visiting fellow at the Child Study Center at Yale.

Abstract The holy grail of prevention research for children is the identification of effective target mechanisms that could promote emotional and cognitive outcomes, the creation of systems and procedures for leveraging those mechanisms to bring about change and, last but not least, related methods for sustaining those improvements over time. Observational and intervention studies have provided a wealth of good information about promising mechanisms to focus on, but our ability to reliably create change and sustain it over time lag far behind. In this talk, I will give an outline of work my colleagues and I have been doing to identify and target mechanisms implicated in children’s developmental outcomes. I will describe the thorny challenges we face in demonstrating impact and making change last. I will draw on results from several trials from high and low-middle income countries where targeting parental behaviour (a well evidenced target mechanism) either did not feed forward into impacts on child outcomes or early benefits faded with time. I will discuss possible explanations for these rather challenging outcomes and suggest some ways forward for future prevention research.

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Fri 06 May 16:30: Investigating how schizophrenia risk genes impact brain function and cognition

Fri, 22/04/2022 - 14:29
Investigating how schizophrenia risk genes impact brain function and cognition

Please note this talk will be online and in person, if you would like the Zoom link please email the organiser.There is a capacity of 50 people in the Psychology Lecture Theatre so attendees will be allowed entry on a first come first serve basis. There is a possibility that you will be refused entry once we have reached capacity.

Bio I initially studied Biology at Oxford University before studying Medicine in Edinburgh and Cambridge – the latter as part of the MB/PhD Programme. I completed my PhD in the Department of Experimental Psychology supervised by Professor Barry Everitt. I am currently Head of the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in Cardiff and Director of the Cardiff University Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute. My overarching interest is in the role of genetic and environmental risk factors in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. In my work I employ a translational approach to study how genetic and environmental factors enhance risk for mental illness. I am particularly interested in how identified genetic risk factors affect learning processes in the brain; abnormalities in which underlie the key symptoms seen in a range of mental health problems. In addition to my research work I also undertake clinical work as a neuropsychiatrist.

Abstract Recent years have seen major progress in the elucidation of genetic risk factors for psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia. A major challenge now is to understand how these genetic variants impact brain function, leading to enhanced risk. In this talk I will briefly review recent findings in relation to genetic risk for schizophrenia before considering approaches to understand their biological and psychological impact. I will illustrate the talk with examples from our own work including investigations of how genetic variation in voltage gated calcium channels impacts associative learning processes of likely relevance to schizophrenia and psychosis.

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Thu 12 May 12:30: Thoughts that go bump in the night: sleep-sensitive circuits in psychiatry

Thu, 21/04/2022 - 17:02
Thoughts that go bump in the night: sleep-sensitive circuits in psychiatry

Abstract: The non-REM sleep EEG of schizophrenia patients consistently reveals abnormal thalamocortical sleep spindles and slow-waves. These oscillatory signatures constitute non-invasive, translational metrics of schizophrenia neurobiology, potentially illuminating mechanistic routes between risk factors, brain development, neural circuit dysfunction, symptoms and personalised therapies. However, grappling with complexity, heterogeneity and causality remains challenging.

I will introduce our approach to iterating between deep-brain, cellular-resolution neurophysiology in rodents and scalp EEG in genotyped volunteers and patients, most recently in young people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Sleep does not hold all the answers, but I hope to make the case that integrating sleep neurophysiology into translational psychiatry can expedite understanding of the neurobiology of individual patients, optimising their diagnosis and treatment.

Biography: Prof Matt Jones trained as a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, the UK National Institute for Medical Research and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before establishing his research team at the University of Bristol. His lab strives to understand how distributed neural networks spanning hippocampus, striatum and prefrontal cortex process and store information, and how this processing becomes impaired in neuropsychiatric disorders. To do this, they record and modulate brain activity using arrays of electrodes in rodents, genotyped volunteers and patients, then apply computational modelling and analyses to try and decode the terabytes. Current projects include analyses of sleep’s contributions to cognition, the diagnostic and translational utility of sleep neurophysiology and the circuit architecture of psychedelic drug action. For detailed biography of Prof Jones, please visit: https://research-information.bris.ac.uk/en/persons/matt-w-jones

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Fri 29 Apr 16:30: Trials and Tribulations: the challenges of promoting sustainable improvements in child development

Wed, 20/04/2022 - 13:34
Trials and Tribulations: the challenges of promoting sustainable improvements in child development

Please note this talk will be online and in person, if you would like the Zoom link please email the organiser.

Biography Professor Pasco Fearon is Professor of Family Research at the University Cambridge and director of the Centre for Family Research there. He is also a senior clinical psychologist at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. He is President of the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies and a visiting fellow at the Child Study Center at Yale.

Abstract The holy grail of prevention research for children is the identification of effective target mechanisms that could promote emotional and cognitive outcomes, the creation of systems and procedures for leveraging those mechanisms to bring about change and, last but not least, related methods for sustaining those improvements over time. Observational and intervention studies have provided a wealth of good information about promising mechanisms to focus on, but our ability to reliably create change and sustain it over time lag far behind. In this talk, I will give an outline of work my colleagues and I have been doing to identify and target mechanisms implicated in children’s developmental outcomes. I will describe the thorny challenges we face in demonstrating impact and making change last. I will draw on results from several trials from high and low-middle income countries where targeting parental behaviour (a well evidenced target mechanism) either did not feed forward into impacts on child outcomes or early benefits faded with time. I will discuss possible explanations for these rather challenging outcomes and suggest some ways forward for future prevention research.

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Fri 13 May 16:30: Changes in Appetitive Associative Strength and Reward Value Modulate the Intrinsic Excitability and Recruitment of Nucleus Accumbens Neuronal Ensembles

Wed, 20/04/2022 - 11:35
Changes in Appetitive Associative Strength and Reward Value Modulate the Intrinsic Excitability and Recruitment of Nucleus Accumbens Neuronal Ensembles

Please note this talk will be online and in person, if you would like the Zoom link please email the organiser.

Biography: Eisuke Koya is a Reader in Behavioural Neuroscience at the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, as well as a visiting investigator at Scripps Research in San Diego (USA). He obtained his BA in Neurobiology at the University of California at Berkeley. Afterwards, he obtained his PhD under the mentorship of Profs. Taco De Vries and Guus Smit at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands), where he investigated immediate early gene (IEG) expression patterns in corticostriatal brain areas during cue-induced drug and natural reward seeking behaviours using real-time quantitative PCR .

He then conducted his post-doctoral research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Programme (NIDA IRP , Baltimore, USA ) under the mentorship of Drs. Yavin Shaham, Bruce Hope, and Carl Lupica. During this time, he investigated how sparse sets of activated neurons or ‘neuronal ensembles’ mediated learned associations between drug effects and the drug administration context and underwent unique synaptic adaptations. In 2012, he joined the School of Psychology as a Lecturer and was promoted to Reader (USA equivalent of associate professor) in 2018. Since 2015, he has been a visiting investigator at Dr. Nobuyoshi Suto’s laboratory at Scripps Research. His laboratory investigates how neuronal ensembles in motivationally-relevant brain areas such as the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex, establish, maintain, and update appetitive associations between food rewards and the cues that predict their availability. In particular, his lab is interested in how neuronal ensembles are recruited and undergo physiological (e.g. excitability) alterations during appetitive learning. To reveal these ensemble mechanisms, our lab utilises a range of neuroscientific tools such as in vivo fibre photometry and 2-P imaging, ex vivo electrophysiology and histological approaches.

Abstract: Both humans and animals need to respond appropriately to cues that predict the availability of food for nutrient procurement. For example, one may follow a sign leading to a fast food restaurant when driving while hungry or wild mice may follow sweet smells that lead them towards fragrant ripe berries. Such reactive actions to cues (‘cue reactivity’) depend on the brain’s ability to store and retrieve learned associations about food and its predictive cues. Such ‘food-cue’ associations form during Pavlovian conditioning. Although the brain areas implicated in food-cue associations have been well-characterised, the specific neuronal populations that help encode these associations have not been fully elucidated yet.

Animal research has allowed us to obtain better insight of the precise mechanisms behind how these associations are formed and established at the level individual neurons such as their activity patterns. They also allow the characterisation of how individual neurons undergo physiological changes such as changes in their electrical or ‘excitability’ properties, which are thought to be critical for information storage and retrieval. We and others have shown that cue-reward associations are encoded in specific patterns of activity from a population of sparsely distributed neurons, called ‘neuronal ensembles’ in brain areas implicated in reward, such as the nucleus accumbens. Here, I will discuss how factors such as the strength of food-cue associations and the rewarding value of food impact cue-evoked food-seeking and the underlying activity patterns and excitability properties of neuronal ensembles in the nucleus accumbens.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Fri 29 Apr 16:30: Trials and Tribulations: the challenges of promoting sustainable improvements in child development

Wed, 20/04/2022 - 11:29
Trials and Tribulations: the challenges of promoting sustainable improvements in child development

Please note this talk will be online and in person, if you would like the Zoom link please email the organiser.

Professor Pasco Fearon is Professor of Family Research at the University Cambridge and director of the Centre for Family Research there. He is also a senior clinical psychologist at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. He is President of the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies and a visiting fellow at the Child Study Center at Yale.

Abstract The holy grail of prevention research for children is the identification of effective target mechanisms that could promote emotional and cognitive outcomes, the creation of systems and procedures for leveraging those mechanisms to bring about change and, last but not least, related methods for sustaining those improvements over time. Observational and intervention studies have provided a wealth of good information about promising mechanisms to focus on, but our ability to reliably create change and sustain it over time lag far behind. In this talk, I will give an outline of work my colleagues and I have been doing to identify and target mechanisms implicated in children’s developmental outcomes. I will describe the thorny challenges we face in demonstrating impact and making change last. I will draw on results from several trials from high and low-middle income countries where targeting parental behaviour (a well evidenced target mechanism) either did not feed forward into impacts on child outcomes or early benefits faded with time. I will discuss possible explanations for these rather challenging outcomes and suggest some ways forward for future prevention research.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list