skip to content

Department of Psychology

 
Subscribe to Psychology talks and events feed
This list is intended to include all talks and seminars taking place in the Department of Psychology and certain related institutions.
Updated: 29 min 57 sec ago

Thu 15 Apr 16:00: Title to be confirmed Chair: Dr Valerie Voon

Mon, 15/02/2021 - 15:14
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Chair: Dr Valerie Voon

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 20 May 12:30: Title to be confirmed Chair: Prof Paul Fletcher

Mon, 15/02/2021 - 14:40
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Chair: Prof Paul Fletcher

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 27 May 12:30: Translational medicine in Alzheimer’s disease – taking the unfolded protein response as a therapeutic target in to clinical trials. Chair: Prof John O'Brien

Mon, 15/02/2021 - 12:45
Translational medicine in Alzheimer’s disease – taking the unfolded protein response as a therapeutic target in to clinical trials.

Abstract: Pioneering work by Professor Giovanna Mallucci here in Cambridge has identified decreased protein synthesis arising from chronic over-activation of the unfolded protein response as a key pathological event in dementia. Furthermore, work in her lab has identified a number of licensed drugs as potentially reversing this and rescuing disease phenotypes. In this talk I will recap some of this laboratory work before focussing on how we are translating this work in terms of experimental medicine and clinical trials.

Chair: Prof John O'Brien

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 29 Apr 12:30: Striatal dopamine computations in learning about agency Chair: Prof Paul Fletcher

Mon, 15/02/2021 - 11:47
Striatal dopamine computations in learning about agency

Abstract: The basal ganglia and dopaminergic systems are well studied for their roles in reinforcement learning and reward-based decision making. Much work focuses on “reward prediction error” (RPE) signals conveyed by dopamine and used for learning. Computational considerations suggest that such signals may be enriched beyond the classical global and scalar RPE computation, to support more structured learning in distinct sub-circuits (“vector RPEs”). Such signals allow an agent to assign credit to the level of action selection most likely responsible for the outcomes, and hence to enhance learning depending on the generative task statistics. Experimental data from mice will be presented, showing spatiotemporal dynamics of dopamine terminal activity and release across the dorsal striatum in the form of traveling waves that support learning about agency.

Chair: Prof Paul Fletcher

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Fri 19 Feb 16:30: Nocturnal dreaming: A replica or a distortion of waking life experiences?

Mon, 15/02/2021 - 09:02
Nocturnal dreaming: A replica or a distortion of waking life experiences?

Many psychological studies of dreaming have revealed a continuity between waking and sleep consciousness, with evidence ranging from the dominance of visual modality to the rumination over personal concerns in dreams. Such continuity led to the proposal that dreaming can be used as a research model of waking consciousness (Antti Revonsuo). On the other hand, many discrepancies have been observed between waking and dreaming activities, e.g. we read or browse a lot during the daytime but seldom in dreams. Moreover, dreams are often made of bizarre social encounters as well as temporal and spatial discontinuities with very minimal insight into the hallucinatory nature of these experiences. This led to the proposal that dreaming can be treated as a model of psychosis rather than typical waking consciousness (Allan Hobson). While psychological studies continue informing (and challenging) both of these accounts, recent cognitive neuroscience experiments brought new evidence regarding continuity of the neural correlates of behavioural, cognitive and perceptual functions between waking life and dreaming. For instance, inhibition of the primary sensorimotor cortex during sleep reduces the frequency of motor dreams, while the anger in dreams is associated with frontal alpha asymmetry – a neural marker of the affective processing during wakefulness. The implication of such findings for continuity/discontinuity debate is discussed, as well as the emerging new directions for the science of dreaming.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 13 May 12:30: What’s behind the trauma Chair: Dr Paul Wilkinson

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 17:33
What’s behind the trauma

Abstract not available

Chair: Dr Paul Wilkinson

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 20 May 12:30: Title to be confirmed

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 16:17
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 25 Mar 12:30: Neurocognitive Predictors of Depression Relapse Chair: Dr Rudolf Cardinal

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 16:16
Neurocognitive Predictors of Depression Relapse

Abstract: The burden of depression is to no small part due to its chronic or recurring nature. As such, the maintenance of any treatment gains is of paramount importance. A key step in this process is the decision to discontinue antidepressant medication. However, at present there are no predictors to indicate who can safely discontinue medication. The AIDA study recruited 123 patients who had remitted on antidepressant medication and were intent on discontinuing their medication. Patients were randomized into two groups. Both groups underwent two extensive assessments involving clinical, behavioural, imaging and biochemical assessments, but one group was tested before and after discontinuing antidepressants, while the other was tested twice before discontinuation. Patients were followed up for 6 months to monitor for relapses. 57 healthy, never-depressed matched controls were recruited. Of 104 patients who completed at least one assessment, 84 completed the study, with 34 relapsing during the follow-up. Amongst standard clinical variables, only treatment by non-specialists was robustly associated with relapse (p=0.005), but did not predict relapse out-of-sample. In contrast, several behavioural (effort-related), psychological (brooding rumination, neuroticism) and imaging (EEG alpha asymmetry and task-related fMRI amygdala activation) variables had predictive power, while resting-state connectivity showed some effects of discontinuation. Overall, relapse after antidepressant discontinuation can be predicted by a number of variables. A combination of these may reach an accuracy sufficient to have clinical relevance.

Chair: Dr Rudolf Cardinal

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 18 Mar 12:30: A digital revolution for mental health science Chair: Dr Rudolf Cardinal

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 16:16
A digital revolution for mental health science

Abstract: As our understanding of the neurobiological and cognitive correlates of mental health and illness has grown through decades of research, one thing has become clear: Things are more complicated than we might have hoped. Many small effects, spanning genetic, biological, psychosocial, lifestyle, environmental and psychological levels of analysis, conspire to confer individual risk. These factors interact with one another in ways we are only beginning to understand and have not yet been able to leverage in the clinic – in part due to low power and a preponderance of cross-sectional studies. In this talk, I’ll describe recent efforts to use Internet-based methods to scale up research in mental health, in particular within-subject, longitudinal and treatment-related study designs. I’ll discuss how this involves a challenging but necessary shift from clinician-assigned diagnosis towards self-report assessments and share our experience trialling a range of methods that allow us to follow significant numbers of people through time. These include the analysis of archival twitter data as a proxy for momentary fluctuations in mood, a fully internet-based longitudinal treatment prediction study and the development of a smartphone app (http://www.neureka.ie) that aims to achieve a relatively deep characterisation of ‘brain health’ in the population at large.

Chair: Dr Rudolf Cardinal

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 22 Apr 12:30: Psychedelics: brain mechanisms Chair: Dr Graham Murray

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 15:01
Psychedelics: brain mechanisms Abstract: The talk takes a multi-level approach to the question of how psychedelics work in the brain. Key themes include:
  • the pharmacology of classic serotonergic psychedelics,
  • what this tells us about the function and evolutionary purpose of the serotonin 2A receptor,
  • the acute brain effects of psychedelics as determined by functional brain imaging,
  • the entropic brain hypothesis,
  • current evidence for psychedelic therapy,
  • the new ‘REBUS’ hierarchical predictive processing model of the action of psychedelics, and
  • how this maps on to the phenomenology of the acute psychedelic experience and therapeutic outcomes.

Chair: Dr Graham Murray

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 25 Mar 12:30: Neurocognitive Predictors of Depression Relapse

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 15:01
Neurocognitive Predictors of Depression Relapse

Abstract: The burden of depression is to no small part due to its chronic or recurring nature. As such, the maintenance of any treatment gains is of paramount importance. A key step in this process is the decision to discontinue antidepressant medication. However, at present there are no predictors to indicate who can safely discontinue medication. The AIDA study recruited 123 patients who had remitted on antidepressant medication and were intent on discontinuing their medication. Patients were randomized into two groups. Both groups underwent two extensive assessments involving clinical, behavioural, imaging and biochemical assessments, but one group was tested before and after discontinuing antidepressants, while the other was tested twice before discontinuation. Patients were followed up for 6 months to monitor for relapses. 57 healthy, never-depressed matched controls were recruited. Of 104 patients who completed at least one assessment, 84 completed the study, with 34 relapsing during the follow-up. Amongst standard clinical variables, only treatment by non-specialists was robustly associated with relapse (p=0.005), but did not predict relapse out-of-sample. In contrast, several behavioural (effort-related), psychological (brooding rumination, neuroticism) and imaging (EEG alpha asymmetry and task-related fMRI amygdala activation) variables had predictive power, while resting-state connectivity showed some effects of discontinuation. Overall, relapse after antidepressant discontinuation can be predicted by a number of variables. A combination of these may reach an accuracy sufficient to have clinical relevance.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 20 May 12:30: Title to be confirmed Chair: Dr Rudolf Cardinal

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 14:58
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Chair: Dr Rudolf Cardinal

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 11 Mar 12:30: Title to be confirmed Chair: Dr Emilio Fernandez-Egea

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 13:56
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Chair: Dr Emilio Fernandez-Egea

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 25 Feb 13:00: Behavioral addictions: COVID-19 considerations and more (NOTE time: 1-2 pm) Chair: Prof Ed Bullmore

Thu, 11/02/2021 - 13:17
Behavioral addictions: COVID-19 considerations and more (NOTE time: 1-2 pm)

Abstract: Disorders due to addictive behaviors (also known as behavioral addictions) have been included in the eleventh revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Both gambling disorder and gaming disorder are formal diagnostic entities in the ICD -11, and other behaviors (e.g., social networking, buying/shopping and pornography viewing) have also been proposed as foci of potential disorders. A common element across these conditions is the ability to engage in them via the internet. During COVID -19, considerable changes in internet use have been observed, raising questions regarding problematic and healthy use of the internet during the pandemic and thereafter. In this presentation, data regarding gambling, gaming and pornography use during the pandemic will be presented, as will guidances and prevention recommendations regarding how to promote healthy use of the internet.

Chair: Prof Ed Bullmore

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 25 Feb 12:30: Behavioral addictions: COVID-19 considerations and more Chair: Dr Valerie Voon

Tue, 09/02/2021 - 16:06
Behavioral addictions: COVID-19 considerations and more

Abstract: Disorders due to addictive behaviors (also known as behavioral addictions) have been included in the eleventh revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Both gambling disorder and gaming disorder are formal diagnostic entities in the ICD -11, and other behaviors (e.g., social networking, buying/shopping and pornography viewing) have also been proposed as foci of potential disorders. A common element across these conditions is the ability to engage in them via the internet. During COVID -19, considerable changes in internet use have been observed, raising questions regarding problematic and healthy use of the internet during the pandemic and thereafter. In this presentation, data regarding gambling, gaming and pornography use during the pandemic will be presented, as will guidances and prevention recommendations regarding how to promote healthy use of the internet.

Chair: Dr Valerie Voon

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 11 Feb 12:30: Society, brains and mind research - insights from studies of ageing populations Chair: Prof Tasmin Ford

Tue, 09/02/2021 - 16:05
Society, brains and mind research - insights from studies of ageing populations

Abstract: This talk will draw on population studies that we have led from Cambridge over several decades, focused on older populations aiming to provide an evidence base for basic understanding of syndromes such as dementia as well as informing policy development for the populations of the future.

Chair: Prof Tasmin Ford

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Fri 12 Feb 16:30: Being an I: Cognitive and Neurobiological processes of “Self” models

Mon, 08/02/2021 - 08:49
Being an I: Cognitive and Neurobiological processes of “Self” models

Perhaps the most fundamental construct of the human psyche is the sense of self. “Self” models are present at several distinct levels of cognition and underlie essential phenomenological aspects of the human experience, from the feeling of being an embodied agent in this world to our personal autobiographical narrative. Despite the dominant role the of the “Self” in our psychology, the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying this construct are not well understood. In this talk I will show how the brain integrates interoceptive, sensory and especially motor signals to form the fundamental model of the bodily self, allowing us the corporeal experience of “being” in this world. I will further discuss how the self can be compromised in neurological and psychiatric conditions highlighting the role of deviant sensorimotor processing in modulating the models of the Self.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 29 Apr 12:30: Striatal dopamine computations in learning about agency

Thu, 04/02/2021 - 17:32
Striatal dopamine computations in learning about agency

Abstract: The basal ganglia and dopaminergic systems are well studied for their roles in reinforcement learning and reward-based decision making. Much work focuses on “reward prediction error” (RPE) signals conveyed by dopamine and used for learning. Computational considerations suggest that such signals may be enriched beyond the classical global and scalar RPE computation, to support more structured learning in distinct sub-circuits (“vector RPEs”). Such signals allow an agent to assign credit to the level of action selection most likely responsible for the outcomes, and hence to enhance learning depending on the generative task statistics. Experimental data from mice will be presented, showing spatiotemporal dynamics of dopamine terminal activity and release across the dorsal striatum in the form of traveling waves that support learning about agency.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 25 Feb 12:30: Behavioral addictions: COVID-19 considerations and more

Tue, 02/02/2021 - 14:10
Behavioral addictions: COVID-19 considerations and more

Abstract: Disorders due to addictive behaviors (also known as behavioral addictions) have been included in the eleventh revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Both gambling disorder and gaming disorder are formal diagnostic entities in the ICD -11, and other behaviors (e.g., social networking, buying/shopping and pornography viewing) have also been proposed as foci of potential disorders. A common element across these conditions is the ability to engage in them via the internet. During COVID -19, considerable changes in internet use have been observed, raising questions regarding problematic and healthy use of the internet during the pandemic and thereafter. In this presentation, data regarding gambling, gaming and pornography use during the pandemic will be presented, as will guidances and prevention recommendations regarding how to promote healthy use of the internet.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 22 Apr 12:30: Psychedelics: brain mechanisms

Tue, 02/02/2021 - 09:27
Psychedelics: brain mechanisms Abstract: The talk takes a multi-level approach to the question of how psychedelics work in the brain. Key themes include:
  • the pharmacology of classic serotonergic psychedelics,
  • what this tells us about the function and evolutionary purpose of the serotonin 2A receptor,
  • the acute brain effects of psychedelics as determined by functional brain imaging,
  • the entropic brain hypothesis,
  • current evidence for psychedelic therapy,
  • the new ‘REBUS’ hierarchical predictive processing model of the action of psychedelics, and
  • how this maps on to the phenomenology of the acute psychedelic experience and therapeutic outcomes.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list