Past News 2010-2015
> Recent research by Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellow Daniel Re and his supervisor Faculty member Nick Rule, sheds light on shedding pounds, specifically how many pounds a person needs to lose before others find him or her more conventionally attractive. The study, written up in the Social Psychological and Personality Science academic journal in August, came up with a definite number (14 pounds for women and 18 pounds for men) for those trying to lose weight. Drs. Re and Rule, both with Uof T’s Social Perception and Cognition Lab, used 20 male and 20 female computer-generated faces and altered them to show how they would look at different body weights. Participants then assessed the faces on attractiveness, comparing them along the spectrum. Faces rather than other parts of the body were used in the study as these are immediately perceived by others and cannot be hidden or disguised under clothing. Dr. Re’s future research will investigate how much weight skinnier people need to gain before others find them more attractive. The study is covered in the December 16 issue of the Toronto Star. Read the full research paper here.
> In the December 2015 issue of the APA's Psychology and Aging, Psychology Faculty member, Dr. Alison Chasteen, writes about her research on aging and an individual’s self-perception of the aging process. Over 300 participants between the ages of 56 and 96, with differing abilities, were tested on memory, hearing, and their level of worry about getting older. Results demonstrated that a negative perception about getting older can translate into negative feelings about one’s performance which in turn leads to worse test results for memory and hearing compared to those participants with a positive self-assessment on aging. How you feel about your declining abilities can dictate how you react to them. This is the first time that memory, hearing and perception of aging are tied together in one study. The study also showed a link between hearing and memory performance, which could indicate that a failure to remember something may be a result of not hearing the request for information properly. Read about it in the Toronto Star, on U of T`s Faculty of Arts & Science website and in The Bulletin.
> Congratulations to Psychology program graduate, Winnie Lieu. Winnie is one of only eight from the University of Toronto named to the 'Highly Commended' list at this year’s Undergraduate Awards. To be included on this list a student's research or academic paper must be ranked in the top 10 per cent of more than 5,000 submissions. Award winners and highly commended entrants are invited to attend the Global Summit in Dublin starting November 10th where they participate in workshops and events geared towards enhancing their personal development, furthering their ideas and research, and strengthening their leadership skills. Read about Winnie's research in the U of T Bulletin.
> The Psychology Department is delighted to announce the recent hiring of two new Faculty members to St. George campus. Welcome Katherine and Amy. Read their short biographies below.
Katherine Duncan studies how the human brain forms and retrieves memories. Her work is currently focused on exploring the possibility that slow-acting neuromodulators bias how information is processed and stored in memory. Her lab will use multiple methods to assess this hypothesis, including behavioural manipulations, fMRI, pharmacology and neuropsychology. Katherine completed her PhD at New York University and then moved uptown to continue her training as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University. She started her academic career at UofT as an undergraduate student and is excited to return to the place where she first fell in love with the hippocampus. Hailing from a town of 300 in rural Ontario, Katherine has made it her mission in life to only live in places with public transit, spicy food, and diverse attitudes.
Amy Finn's research explores how the developing brain influences learning outcomes, either facilitating gains in learning or constraining them (like in language learning; why do adults have so much trouble?). To answer these questions, she studies domain-general aspects of development (focusing heavily on mnemonic systems) and uses a variety of experimental, training, and neuroimaging techniques; these include for example making up new languages, and scanning children’s brains. Amy comes to Toronto after completing her postdoc at MIT and her graduate work at UC Berkeley. While Amy loves to chat about brain development and learning, some other obsessions include painting/art-things, boot-camp-style-exercise, and all things related to raising little humans.
> We are pleased to announce the winners of the Psychology Department scholarships and awards for the 2014-15 academic year. A big congratulations goes out to all of our recipients!
- Linda Mamelak Undergraduate Award: Anna Petersson
- The McNab Scholarship in Psychology: Derek Berger/Rebecca Zhu
- The Psychology Graditude Scholarship: Chuqi Wang
- The Dept. of Psychology Student Award: Jason Ruggerberg
- The John D. Ketchum Memorial Scholarship: Kate Guan/Natalie Holtby
- The John D. Ketchum Memorial Bursary: Dylan Tucker/Louisa Man
- The Dr. Horace O. Frosty Steer Award: Erika Thauberger
> Faculty member Professor Alison Chasteen, an expert on prejudice and stereotyping, was interviewed by City News on September 17th. Her interview on ways to reduce prejudice and stereotyping follows the recent arrest and subsequent huge outpouring of support for a Texas Muslim youth whose school project - a clock - was mistaken for a bomb. Prejudice and stereotyping can be reduced when events and tragedies are personalized, as in the case of the Texas youth Ahmed and the photograph of a dead Syrian refugee child that went viral, Dr. Chasteen said. Through an increase in empathy, people are moved to reassess their attitudes. Watch Alison's interview in the news video on the City TV News website.
> The Psychology Department is proud to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Page-Gould was a recipient of the prestigious Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Research Awards (ERA) Program. Liz was awarded $140,000 toward her research on how to build rich multicultural societies that maximize individual thriving and active community-building. Through a combination of self-report, behavioural, psychophysiological, dyadic, longitudinal, and quantitative methods, Dr. Page-Gould investigates how thoughts and physiological responses during social interactions with people of diverse backgrounds affect the way we build social relationships and excel in diverse social environments. Congratulations, Liz.
> Ever compare your romantic partner to someone else’s? Recent research by graduate student Sabrina Thai and Faculty member Penelope Lockwood suggests that this is not necessarily a damaging activity. The key is a phenomenon called the ‘self-other overlap,’ the degree to which someone views their identity as overlapping with their partner’s. Through four studies using comparisons of partners’ attractiveness and relationship skills, Sabrina found that those with high self-other overlap (“My identity and my partner’s identity overlap a great deal”) minimize the implications of negative comparisons, while those with low self-other overlap (“My identity and my partner’s identity do not overlap much”) maximize negative partner perceptions after a threatening comparison. No fear though – Sabrina maintains that through practice there are ways to increase self-other overlap. These findings were published in the July 2015 issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and can be found here: Comparing You = Comparing Me: Social Comparisons of the Expanded Self. Read more in the Toronto Star and the University of Toronto Bulletin.
> Jacob Hirsh, former psychology graduate student and current Assistant Professor at the Rotman School of Management and UTM’s Institute for Management and Innovation, has found that populations’ extroversion levels correlate with their personal savings growth. Through three studies, Jacob showed that the more extroverted the population, the lower their savings rates tended to be. This is an extension of Jacob’s previous research, where he showed that on an individual basis, extroverts tend to struggle with delayed gratification; that is they choose immediate, smaller rewards instead of larger, delayed ones. Jacob argues that this can lead to impulsive financial decisions, making personality psychology a powerful contributor to understanding economic behaviour. His findings were published in the July 2015 issue of Personality and Individual Differences and can be found here. Read more in the University of Toronto Bulletin
> Graduate student Sabrina Thai was interviewed recently on CBC News about ongoing research into the psychology behind enhancing an athlete's performance. Sabrina is part of a team of scientists using a variety of methods to measure athletic performance with the goal of using the data to win medals. In one area of the research, University of Toronto athletes will complete surveys about their emotions after team practices and competitions in order to collect data on how relationships between team members affect a team's performance. Such research could then be used by team psychologists to improve performance, although the results would not be accessible to coaches. The research also looks at how personal problems can affect athletes. View the news clip with Sabrina's interview at http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/ID/2669375624/. It is also available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DzOzgIclRw.
> Psychology Faculty member and Graduate Chair Morris Moscovitch has received the 2015 JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award in recognition of his outstanding performance in the multiple roles associated with graduate student supervision. To illustrate just some of Morris' accomplishments: over 30 former trainees from his lab are now professors or principal investigators at universities or research institutes across Canada, the United States, and across the globe and several of his trainees have won dissertation awards and/or early career awards. Our congratulations go out to Morris for receiving this well-deserved honour.
> Psychology Faculty member, Geoff MacDonald, looks at close relationships - closely. In his recent research paper “Resisting connection following social exclusion: rejection by an attractive suitor provokes derogation of an unattractive suitor” he looks at how women feel negatively about men they find unattractive when spurned by a man they consider attractive. This goes against common thinking and serves to preserve self-esteem after rejection. Conversely, when accepted by an attractive man, a woman will feel more positively toward those they consider unattractive. The paper, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, is based on two studies that assessed participants’ reactions toward men they rated as unattractive after they either faced rejection or were accepted by a man they deemed attractive. Read more in U of T’s Bulletin. Read the article here.
> Psychology graduate alumna Dr. Daniela Palombo, currently a post-doctoral researcher at Boston University School of Medicine, is lead author of a study on SDAM (severely deficient autobiographical memory), a condition manifested by the inability to remember personal events from ones past. For the ground breaking study, three adults with SDAM were examined in a lab setting with brain imaging and memory testing – a unique opportunity for researchers. Brian Levine, Psychology cross-appointee and co-author on the paper, equates this memory syndrome to living life in the third person. The study results showed brain differences, including the size of the hippocampus which plays an important role in memory, in the SDAM cases compared to control subjects. Read more about this study in U of T's Bulletin here. The study in published in Neuropsychologia.
> Nicholas Rule is the recipient of the 2015 Early Career Award given biennially by the International Academy for Intercultural Relations (IAIR). The IAIR chose Nick unanimously for this award which honours the achievements of young, developing researchers in the fields of intercultural and cross-cultural research. Nick's research in social perception and social cognition, specifically person perception, person construal, and social categorization, focuses on all the important themes for intercultural relations. Congratulations to Nick on receiving this important award. Read the IAIR Committee Chair's announcement about the award here.
> Psychology's Dirk Bernhardt-Walther was interviewed for CBC's The National about the dress (a viral internet phenomenon that had people all over the world debating the colours of a cocktail dress. Was it white and gold OR blue and black?.) Dr. Bernhardt-Walther, whose area of research is visual perception, explains the science behind the debate. The interview was aired on February 27. Watch Dirk and the dress debate at https://www.youtube.com/embed/wrzgsZfkUeY.
> Graduate Faculty member Dr. Brian Levine has been selected for the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) Benton Mid-Career Award for Research. He will receive the award at the February 2015 meeting of the INS in Denver. The Arthur Benton Award was established by the INS Board in 1982 and is awarded to a mid-career level researcher 11-23 years after the completion of their PhD. The award is based on the individual’s scope of work including contribution to neuropsychological science, an established and accelerating career path, international reputation, majority of publications in peer reviewed journals and a constant relationship with the INS.
> In the Spence Lab, Brian Pereira and Natasha Ouslis have been successful in an application to the Undergraduate Research Fund (URF} of the Faculty of Arts & Science. The URF is intended to foster the research experience by providing undergraduate students with an opportunity to develop a research project of their own. Their proposed project will focus on exploring gender differences in Shepard-Metzler mental rotation by comparing performance using the original S-M objects with performance using specially modified versions of the objects. Natasha and Brian were awarded $1,470 which will be used for SPSS licences, participant compensation, and registration fees at the 2015 APA Convention. Congratulations to Natasha and Brian.
> Congratulations to Psychology student Shayne Sanscartier for receiving the James Mark Baldwin award for best essay in PSY409H (Research Specialization: Theoretical Foundations). Each year, the Baldwin prize recognizes exceptional essays written by Psychology Research Specialists that demonstrate mastery of foundational issues in psychology. Shayne's essay, entitled 'A History of Epistemological Violence: The Importance of Sociohistorical Analysis in the Understanding of Cultural Identity' is an incisively argued critique of how some epistemological perspectives in psychology may conceal or even perpetuate cultural or racial prejudice and bias. Well done Shayne! .
> Faculty member Dr. Morgan Barense has been elected recipient of the Early Investigator Award from the Society of Experimental Psychologists. As such, she is now a Lifetime Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the oldest and most prestigious honorary society in experimental psychology, and she will join a highly select group of distinguished empirical scientists. The membership elects only a handful of Fellows each year, one of which can be the Early Investigator. Congratulations to Morgan on this exceptional and well-deserved honour!
|> At the Fall 2014 Dr. Freud Competition hosted by the PSA Academic Committee, the Hippie-Surfers team won against the largest cohort of the past few years. Team members Katherine Tran, Sera Timbebu, Rosalie Cao,Britt Gordeen, Phillip Savic, Meraj Ellahi, and Aisha Assan-Lebbe battled through the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final round to earn the title of trivia competition winners. Congratulations! A fun (and educational) time was had by all and our hats go off to all who participated. And thank-you to Dr. Dolderman for being the host with the most.|
> Department of Psychology Major Program graduate, Michael Scarpitti, and Psychology Specialist Program graduate, Florence Chan were among nine University of Toronto graduates named to the Highly Commended list at this year’s Undergraduate Awards, a global competition that takes part in Dublin. Congratulations Michael and Florence! Read more at http://news.utoronto.ca/nine-u-t-students-invited-dublin-undergraduate-awards.
> Graduate Student Samantha Joel is the lead researcher in a two-part study with U of T and Yale that compares the difference between hypothetically rejecting an undesirable suitor and the difficulty of such rejection in a 'real' situation. Participants in the study, who were lead to believe that there was an actual suitor 'waiting in the wings' to meet them, reported that the reluctance to hurt the would-be romantic partner's feelings was the reason for accepting an unwanted invitation. The study titled People overestimate their willingness to reject potential romantic partners by overlooking their concern for other people was published in Psychological Science Online First site at http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/recent. Read more in the University of Toronto Bulletin.
> Post-doctoral fellow Ryan Stephenson, working with Susanne Ferber and Morgan Barense, presented research at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting demonstrating language inefficiency in participants with autism. Through studies where subjects with autism and control subjects listened to videos of a woman speaking 1) with the sound and lip movement in sync and 2) with the sound and lip movement not in sync, results show control subjects use more comparative efficiency in listening to the in sync video than those with autism. This efficiency disparity only turns up in the context of language and not with non-speech sounds, as the study also showed. Read more.
> On November 12, Dr. Martin Seligman received the inaugural TANG Prize for Achievements in Psychology. The Prize was presented by the TANG Foundation and the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto. This award honours an internationally recognized scholar in Psychology whose record of achievement has left an indelible mark on the field, particularly in its application to the psychological wellbeing of humanity. Dr. Seligman is reknown for his pioneering role in forming the new field of Positive Psychology. The event took place at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. Following the award ceremony Dr. Seligman gave a talk entitled Positive Psychology The Cutting Edge. A video recording of the talk is available here. Read more in the U of T Bulletin.
PHOTOGRAPHS FROM EVENT
> Psychology graduate student, Davood Ghara Gozli’s, research on the chronic playing of video action games and its effect on the coordination of vision with hand movement indicates that gamers learn a new sensorimotor skill more quickly than non-gamers. The study, led by Davood with supervisor Professor Jay Pratt, involved experiments with groups of video game players and non-players. The results suggest that benefits of playing games such as Call of Duty may enhance the ability to learn new sensorimotor tasks – skills important in tasks requiring high precision manual control such as laparoscopic surgery. Read more about Davood`s research in the University of Toronto Bulletin.
> Psychology undergraduate student Natasha Ouslis has been chosen to receive the 2014 Joel Verwegen Undergraduate Research Award at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) of the University Health Network. The award will be formally presented to Natasha at the annual TRI Research Day on December 1st. Natasha is a volunteer researcher with Professor Emeritus Ian Spence and Dr. Jennifer Campos, Director of the Challenging Environmental Assessment Laboratory at TRI. Natasha is currently working with Spence, Campos, and Psychology graduate student Julia Cistera, on a cognitive training experiment with older drivers. As a Research Opportunity Program (ROP) student in 2013-2014, she presented a poster, with fellow ROP students Brain Pereira (Psychology specialist) and Jason Jeong, at this year’s annual CSBBCS Conference. In addition, Natasha volunteers in Professor Susanne Ferber’s Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. Congratulations, Natasha! Ouslis, N.E., Pereira, B.J., Jeong, J.Y., & Spence, I. (2014). Attention and visuospatial working memory in mental rotation. Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS) Conference. Toronto, Canada. July 3-5, 2014
> Donald Stuss, Psychology graduate faculty member, is the recipient of the prestigious Gold Key Award from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. Stuss, president of the Ontario Brain Institute, is one of the world's leading neuropsychologists. He was awarded the 2014 Gold Key Award in recognition of extraordinary service in the field of rehabilitation. Read an interview with Dr. Stuss in U of T's Bulletin.
> The Psychology Department is pleased to announce the winners of the Department scholarships and awards for the 2013-14 academic year. A big congratulations goes out to all of the recipients!The Psychology Department is pleased to announce the winners of the Department scholarships and awards for the 2013-14 academic year. A big congratulations goes out to all of the recipients!
- Linda Mamelak Undergraduate Award: Ilona Larionova
- The McNab Scholarship in Psychology: Chuqing Yang
- The George Mandler Research Fund: Kate Wahl/Ravin Alaei
- The Psychology Graditude Scholarship: Nadia Huytan-Maruschak
- The Dept. of Psychology Student Award: Henry Liu
- The John D. Ketchum Memorial Scholarship: Catherine Thompson-Walsh/Michelle Hu
- The John D. Ketchum Memorial Bursary: Mari Rossi/Yasaman Ghodse-Elahi
- The Dr. Horace O. Frosty Steer Award: Adeoye Oyefiade
> It is with great pleasure that the TANG Foundation and the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto announce that Dr. Martin Seligman has been chosen as the recipient of the inaugural TANG Prize for Achievements in Psychology. This prize honours an internationally recognized scholar in Psychology whose record of achievement has left an indelible mark on the field, particularly in its application to the psychological wellbeing of humanity. Amidst excellent nominations, Dr. Seligman stood out for his pioneering role in forming the new field of Positive Psychology. The award ceremony will be held on November 12, 2014, when Dr. Seligman, will give a talk entitled Positive Psychology The Cutting Edge. Details on the talk are available on our Events page (registration is required).
The Psychology Department is delighted to announce the recent hiring of five new Faculty members to St. George campus. Welcome Liz, Suzanne, Daphna, Dirk and John. Read their short biographies below.
Dirk Bernhardt-Walther, Assistant Professor: As Dirk Bernhardt-Walther’s research explores the neural mechanisms of real-world scenes, he looks forward to exploring the real-world cityscape of Toronto. After receiving his Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems from Caltech, he did postdoctoral research at York University and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He started his first own lab at The Ohio State University, before moving to the University of Toronto in 2014. Dirk and his lab employ visual psychophysics, eye tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging as well as computational modeling in order to decode how our brain manages to make sense of the complex visual information around us. Dirk is accompanied his wife Karen, who is joining the Department of Economics at U of T, and their two young children.
Daphna Buchsbaum, Assistant Professor: Daphna's research investigates the complex interplay between social and causal reasoning: How children, adults and non-human animals use social information to help them understand the physical world. Daphna comes to Toronto after a year as a research fellow at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where she worked with monkeys and chimpanzees at the Edinburgh Zoo. Daphna completed her PhD in 2013 in the UC Berkeley Psychology department, along with a master's degree in statistics. In her non-academic life, Daphna and her dog Pumpkin have trained as a wilderness search and rescue team with the California Rescue Dog Association. While in Scotland, Daphna discovered her alternative career by participating in Bright Club, a group of academics performing stand-up comedy about their research, and hopes to bring Bright Club to the University of Toronto (get in touch if you're intrigued!).
Elizabeth Page-Gould, Associate Professor: Elizabeth Page-Gould is a social psychophysiologist who examines how social interactions with diverse friends and strangers affect the way people understand the social world. Liz’s research takes a multi-method approach to social interaction, typically combining self-report, behavioural, physiological, dyadic, and longitudinal methods. Liz received bachelors degrees in psychology and statistics from Carnegie Mellon University before completing her PhD at the University of California Berkeley. She continued her training in psychophysiology at Harvard University as a Mind/Brain/Behavior Postdoctoral Fellow prior to joining the faculty at the University of Toronto. Outside of academia, Liz is easily amused by living things and by living itself.
John Vervaeke, Lecturer: Dr. John Vervaeke has been teaching at the University of Toronto since 1994. He currently teaches courses in the cognitive science program including Introduction to Cognitive Science, and the Cognitive Science of Consciousness; courses in the Psychology department on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on insight problem solving, cognitive development with an emphasis on the dynamical nature of development, and higher cognitive processes with an emphasis on intelligence, rationality, and the psychology of wisdom. He also teaches courses in the Buddhism, psychology and Mental Health program on Buddhism and Cognitive Science, and the Science of Mindfulness Meditation. He has won and been nominated for several teaching awards including the 2001 Students' Administrative Council and Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students Teaching Award for the Humanities, and the 2012 Ranjini Ghosh Excellence in Teaching Award. His most recent publications include Relevance Realization the Emerging Framework in Cognitive Science (2012) with Tim Lillicrap and Blake Richards, a chapter in The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom entitled Relevance, Meaning, and the Cognitive Science of Wisdom (2012) with Leo Ferraro, and a chapter in SmartData: Privacy meet evolutionary robotics, with Leo Ferraro entitled Relevance Realization and the Neurodynamics and Neuroconnectivity of General Intelligence (2013). His research interests are relevance realization, insight problem solving, general intelligence, consciousness, mindfulness, rationality, and wisdom. His abiding passion is to address the meaning crisis that besets western culture.
Suzanne Wood, Lecturer: Suzanne received her BA from University of California, Berkeley and her PhD from University of California, San Diego. She moved to Toronto from New York City, where she recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University. Her research explores the role of dopamine in learning and memory, using behavioural, pharmacological, and imaging techniques. At UCSD, Suzanne enjoyed teaching both lower and upper division Psychology courses. She also held informal MATLAB programming meetings in the Psychology department at Columbia, and assisted in the neuroanatomy training of its med school students. Suzanne has worn a variety of hats throughout her career, and could potentially be able to help you with your Latin grammar, rollerskating abilities, or movie review inquiries. She is excited to join the faculty at U of T and to teach courses within the Biology and Behaviour area.
The Psychology Department is very pleased to announce that Susanne Ferber has been named Undergraduate Chair effective July 1, 2014. Professor Ferber has been interim Chair since July 1, 2013 before which she served as Director of our Graduate Program. Susanne, who hails from Germany, completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Osnabrück in Germany and her doctorate at both Osnabrück and the University Hospital Tübingen. After receiving her PhD, Susanne moved to Canada for a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Western Ontario. She joined U of T's Psychology faculty in 2002 in the area of Perception/Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience.
The Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2014 inaugural TANG Prize for Achievements in Psychology. Applications are encouraged from internationally-recognized scholars in Psychology or a closely-related field who have shown creativity, and rigor in their approach and whose record of achievement has left an indelible mark on the field. Please note that the deadline for applications is August 15, 2014. This award has been made possible through generous support from the TANG Foundation. The TANG Foundation is a charitable institution with the mandate to raise awareness of the importance of psychological wellbeing in the world. For more information on the TANG Prize and how to apply, go to http://psych.utoronto.ca/tangprize/.
Faculty member Alison Chasteen has just been named as a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section. The GSA is the largest organizations in the United States dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of aging. In a July 1, 2014 press release the status of fellow is described as "the highest class of membership within the Society" and that being named as a fellow "is an acknowledgment of outstanding and continuing work in gerontology". We congratulate Alison on this achievement. New fellows will be formally recognized during GSA’s 67th Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 5 to 9 in Washington, DC. Read the press release here.
Faculty member Nicholas Rule is featured in a front page article in the Toronto Star (June 24, 2014). The article discusses Dr. Rule's research on how people can correctly judge someone's sexual orientation 65% of the time after seeing a face for less than 40 milliseconds. The aim of this research, which involves using photos of unadorned individuals who self-identify as either gay or straight (other sexual orientations are a subject of other research), is to look at how such judgments can affect, unconsiously, the decision-making process in a negative way. Dr. Rule will be presenting his research as part of WorldPride at the Bloor/Gladstone library on Wednesday, June 25th at 7 pm.
A research study on the impact of sleep quality on burnout among oncology nurse, conducted by Psychology graduate student, Daniela Bellicoso, has recently been published in the Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, Sciedu Press. Using standardized testing, the impact of participants' chronotypes (regular rising time and bed time) and sleep quality were assessed together with subjective measurements of job satisfaction and work stressfulness on burnout. The results showed a significantly higher level of personal, work-related, and client-related burnout for those than individuals with evening-type or neither-type chronotype and/or poor sleep quality. Study results illustrate that working at one’s optimal time and obtaining good quality sleep contributes to decreased burnout. Read the article here.
The Psychology Department is proud to announce that Dr. Morgan Barense and Dr. Kaori Takehara-Nishiuchi were both successful award winners of the prestigious Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Research Awards Program. Both Morgan and Kaori were awarded $140,000 toward their important research into Alzheimer`s disease, one of the biggest health challenges in Ontario today. Morgan's research project Understanding Memory Disorders: Why Does Brain Damage Impair Memory? seeks to clarify the link between brain damage and the complex cognitive problems seen in memory disorders, thus opening new possibilities for improved diagnostic techniques and rehabilitative strategies in memory disorders. Kaori`s research project entitled Organization of Cortical Memory Network in Health and Disease aims to uncover physiological mechanisms of memory and their dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease, with such insights translating into early interventions to diagnose, halt or even reverse the progression of this debilitating disease. In addition to Morgan and Kaori, UTM faculty member Dr. Emily Impett received an ERA award for her research on relationships. Emily's project Do You See What I See? The Relationship Benefits of Accurately Perceiving a Partner’s Emotions in Daily Life will develop a new digital media tool to study empathic accuracy in daily life, with test studies on how such empathy translates into tangible relationship benefits. Congratulations to Morgan, Kaori and Emily!
Incoming Faculty member, Daphna Buchsbaum, has been awarded $100,000 by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) in support of her research on computational approaches to causal and social learning in children and animals. The fund, which has just awarded a total of $3,134,307 to U of T researchers, is named for the Dr. John R. Evans, former U of T president. Dr. Buchsbaum will join the Psychology Department in July 2014. Read more.
A study conducted by Dr. Gabriela Ilie, Sessional Lecturer with the Psychology Department, on traumatic brain injury (TBI) in teenagers has just been published in the April 2014 edition of PLOS ONE. The study looks at how brain injury in teenagers increases the incidence of attempted suicide, being bullied and engaging in high risk behaviours. As well, the study shows that teenagers who experienced TBI are more likely to become bullies themselves and to seek counselling through a crisis help-line. Dr. Ilie says physicians, schools, parents and coaches need to be vigilant in monitoring adolescents with TBI, as it can exacerbate mental health and behavioural issues. Read more in U of T's Bulletin.
Congratulations to Kyle Cleversey for receiving the James Mark Baldwin Award for Best Essay in PSY 409S (Research Specialization: Theoretical Foundations). Kyle's essay, entitled "Deconstructing Mental Illness: Conceptual and Practical Concerns" is an incisively argued critique of the construct of mental illness and its application in psychological theorizing and research. Well done Kyle!
Professor Douglas Creelman 1933-2014
The Psychology Department is saddened to announce the passing, on February 9, 2014, of one of its longest serving faculty members. Douglas Creelman joined our faculty in 1964 and has been Professor Emeritus since 1999. As Emeritus, Doug continued to teach first year seminar courses, and was a favourite instructor for this program. In fact, he continued to teach up until his fall on the ice in January 2014. He also continued to curate his beloved Museum, now a virtual presence on this website. Doug will be missed by faculty, staff and students. Our condolences go out to his family. Doug's obituary can be found here.
Psychology Department Welcomes New Faculty Member, Christopher Honey
Christopher Honey is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies large-scale neural dynamics, asking how brain regions communicate and how memory arises in hierarchical brain processes. Born and raised in southern Africa, Chris studied mathematics and literature at the University of Cape Town, obtained his PhD in psychology and cognitive science from Indiana University, and completed postdoctoral training at Princeton University. He looks forward to teaching and studying brain function from computational, clinical and cognitive perspectives. Welcome Chris!
Psychology Graduate Students Featured in U of T's 2013 News in Review
Psychology graduate students Nadia Bashir and Stephanie Spielmann were featured in the U of T New's article Year in review: top stories from 2013. Nadia's research on stereotyping of activists was given special notice under U of T in the media and Stephanie's research on relationships and the fear of being single, received recognition under Great 2013 Research Stories at U of T. Congratulations to Nadia and Stephanie! And read more about our Department's achievements in the news items below.
A paper written by Psychology former graduate student and current postdoctoral fellow, Stephanie Spielmann, discusses how the fear of being single can predict the tendency of both men and women to settle for less in a romantic relationship. Results of a North American-wide survey demonstrate that the fear of being alone can result in individuals staying in an unhappy and/or unhealthy relationship even when they are aware of this very fact. Stephanie's hope is that such research results will help people make better relationship decisions. The research paper, co-authored by Psychology faculty member Geoff MacDonald is published in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Read more in U of T's Bulletin and CBC News.
Psychology prof Morgan Barense and two of her graduate students, Rachel Newsome and Lok-Kin Yeung, received special mention in U of T's Arts & Science 2013 Year in Review. In the words of former Dean Meric Gertler, the publication features "a snapshot of the impressive achievements of our faculty, staff and students". The article on Dr. Barense and her students, found on page 12 of the Review, focuses on the trios research on how reducing visual clutter may help Alzheimer’s patients recognize familiar objects. Congratulations to Morgan, Rachel and Lok-Kin. Also mentioned in the Review on page 25 is Psychology's own William Cunningham, who received the IUPsyS Young Investigator’s Award (Basic Science) from the Milde International Union of Psychological Science.
Psychology Professor Ian Spence and his team of researchers have a warning about the serious potential distraction of using cell phones and other devices while driving. It's dangerous! In three separate experiments, Dr. Spence's research demonstrates how performing difficult speech tasks while driving slows response time by close to one second - a significant difference that could mean involvement in a serious accident, or not. Furthermore, Dr. Spence states that about his experiments that “It did not matter whether the subject spoke the answer aloud or simply thought about the answer. It was the thinking, not speaking, that caused them to slow down.” Dr. Spence's paper, "How speech modifies visual attention" was published in the September/October 2013 issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology. Read more in the U of T Bulletin.
Research by graduate student Nadia Bashir on how the negative stereotype of activists can undermine their influence is garnering interational attention. Nadia is the lead writer of a research paper on how the stereotyping of environmentalists and feminists as eccentric and militant can, at times, create substantial resistance to their cause from the public, who do not wish to be associated with these perceived 'types', however inaccurate. The study results will be published in European Journal of Social Psychology. Nadia's research is co-written with faculty members, Penelope Lockwood and Alison Chasteen, Indra Noyes and The University of Waterloo’s Daniel Nadolny. For more on this study and its results, read a National Post interview with Nadia, and articles in the UK's Daily Mail and Salon.
Psychology faculty member Gillian Einstein has received funding from the Canadian Breast Canada Foundation (CBCF) to study what happens to women’s cognition, including memory and attention, after their ovaries are removed. Women who carry the BRCA1 or 2 mutations, which increase the risk of cancer, are often counselled to have their ovaries removed as a preventative measre. Dr. Einstein believes that they need. and have the right, to know how this will affect them in order to make a properly informed decision. Her study will fill the need for more research on the effect of ovarian removal on cognition. The study will eventually follow 275 women over 10 years. Read more in the U of T Bulletin.
Faculty Awards: The International Social Cognition Network (ISCON) has announced that the winner of its 2013 Early Career Award is Nicholas Rule. Dr. Rule was chosen based on his impressive productivity, the high rate with which his work is being cited - demonstrating its clear influence on the field - and the creativity and importance of the topics he has tackled in his research. Morgan Barense has won the McDonnell Scholar Award in Understanding Human Cognition, a prestigious award that was given to only eight early-stage researchers worldwide. Congratulations Nick and Morgan!
The Department of Psychology has two mobile research labs available for rent. Pictures and further information are available at http://human.cbtc.utoronto.ca/mobilelabs.
The Dept of Psychology is please to announce, the 2013 Psychology In-Course Scholarship/Award Recipients:
1. Linda Mamelak Undergraduate Award: Winnie Lieu
2. The McNab Scholarship in Psychology: Clara Ho
3. The George Mandler Research Fund: Maryna Pilkiw
4. The Psychology Graditude Scholarship: Alexandr Milovanov
5. The Dept. of Psychology Student Award: Kate Wahl
6. The John Davidson Ketchum Memorial Scholarship: Chuqing Yang
7. The John Davidson Ketchum Memorial Bursary: Beatrice Bejan
Congratulations to all of our students!
If you are interested in knowing more about these awards, please visit our website at: ttp://home.psych.utoronto.ca/undergraduate/awards.htm#undergrad
As well as the Arts & Science website at:
Congratulations to the following Psychology undergraduate students who received various awards over the past academic year!
Clara Ho (PSY Res Spec) - James Mark Baldwin Essay Award for Best Essay in PSY409 (Research Specialization: Theoretical Foundations in Psychology)
2013 PSY NSERC USRA Recipients: Beatrice Bejan, Kyle Cleversey, Daniel Glizer, Chun-Ping Hsu and Maryna Pilkiw
2013 PSY UTEA Recipients: Amrita Lamba, Jenny Shen, Chuqing Yang and Yue Zhang
Non-PSY, UofT Awards :
Ariana Zeppieri-Makhan (PSY Major) - Marion & Ross Woodman Award (New College)
Syed Hasan (PSY Major) - Queen Elizabeth II Aiming for the Top Scholarship
Isabella Costa (PSY Specialist) - The Alen Milne McCombie Scholarship and Max Weber Award
Clara Ho (PSY Research Specialist) - Isabel Bader Scholarship for Academic Excellence and Community Leadership through Victoria College (renewed)
Chantale Spencer (PSY Major) - 2012 Summer UTEA in Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at OISE
You have heard of TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks - a series of short, entertaining lectures on a wide range of topics. TEDx events are similar in nature, but are managed by independent organizations licensed by TED. On May 18th, the first University of Toronto-wide TEDx event, organized by students and bringing a complement of U of T professors together, took place at Hart House. Included in this auspicious roster of speakers was Dan Dolderman , John Vervaeke and Jordan Peterson , all from the Psychology St. George campus. These talks will be available online shortly at http://www.tedxuoft.com/. Stay tuned! And read more about this event and the TEDx student initiative here.
Congratulations to Psychology PhD graduate Taylor Schmitz! Taylor is a recipient of the University of Toronto 2013 Governor General's Gold Medal. This very prestigious award dates back to 1873 when Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General after Confederation, created what was then the Academic Medals to encourage academic excellence across Canada. Taylor iwll be presented with the award at an awards ceremony on May 29th in Convocation Hall.
Daniel Lee, Psychology graduate student, has just published research demonstrating that wide-eyed fearful expressions can be beneficial - for the individual and for observers. Vision scope is increased when eyes widen, as is the ability for others to figure out where the wide-eyed gaze is directed, very useful for detecting danger, although this wide-eyed benefit does not only apply to fearful expressions. Dan's research, which further confirms how socially connected we are, was completed in collaboration with Faculty member, Adam Anderson, and University of California's Joshua Susskind (former U of T psychology graduate). The study is currently published on the Psychological Science website. More information: APS news release. University of Toronto News.
The Psychology Department's Chair, Jay Pratt, has been named Arts & Science Vice-Dean, Research and Infrastructure. His appointment will begin June 1, 2013 and continue to June 30, 2019. Dr. Pratt, who is currenly Acting Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life, has been with the Psychology Department since 1996, becoming Chair of the Department in 2008. You can find more information about Jay, his impressive background in psychology, his research interests, and his new appointment here. Congratulations, Dr. Pratt!
Psychology's Gillian Einstein, Director of U of T's Collaborative Graduate Program in Women's Health, was interviewed on CBC's Metro Morning about the Women's Brain Health Intiative with the Initiative's founder, Lynn Posluns. Listen to the interview with Matt Galloway here.
Graduate student Sijing Wu is lead writer of a research paper published in the March 2013 edition of the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics on the link between video game playing and enhanced visual search skills . The paper, written with Ian Spence, Professor Emeritas, builds on previous research demonstrating that playing video games, even for a short period of time, can enhance visual attention. Expanding on these earlier studies, this new research shows that when participants played either shooter or driving video games for only 10 hours, the result was increased accuracy performing visual search tasks. Practical implications include the development of training tools to improve perceptual and cognitive skills. Read more in the U of T Bulletin. Read the full research paper here.
Dr. Morgan Barense was just named one of the University of Toronto's new Canadian Research Chairs, receiving CRC funding for her research in cognitive neuroscience. The CRC funding of $18.7 million is for 23 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs. Congratulations, Morgan! Read more in U of T's Bulletin here.
The University of Toronto mourns the death of former UTSC Psychology Department Chair, John Bassili. As the first Chair of the Department, Dr. Bassili made a huge contribution to its development and growth. He was also a driving force between the creation of UTSC's Graduate Department of Psychological Clinical Science, which will be welcoming its first students in September 2013. John Bassili remembered.
Psychology faculty member, Jordan Peterson, former graduate student, Jacob Hirsh, and former psychology undergraduate research specialist, Megan Walberg, are co-authors on a paper about the link between spiritualism and political views, published in the journal Social Pschology and Personality Science. The studies show that increased spiritualism can lead to increased political liberalism. Both conservatives and liberals alike supported more liberal political views after guided spiritual practice. Further, the results confirmed that religiousness was associated with political conservatism, while spirituality was associated with political liberalism. U of T Bulletin article. Read the article here.
Graduate student, Samantha Joel, who does relationship research, was quoted in a Valentine's Day CBC News item about finding love, not with a 'perfect' match, but with someone who understands you. The news piece discusses research on internet dating and on what decisions people make about their romantic relationsihps. While common goals can be very important, Joel says, "A couple can be very dissimilar and make it work." Read the news item here.
Three of the University of Toronto Bulletin's Top Ten Stories of 2012 focused on the work done by members of the Psychology Department. These include research by graduate student Renée Biss on the benefits of 'early to bed, early to rise' , Dr. Gillian Einstein's co-written paper on the relationship, or lack thereof, between PMS and mood, and UTM Professor Emily Impett's collaborative study on Facebook images and what they say about relationships. Read about these top stories in The Bulletin.
*****Psychology Chair, Dr. Jay Pratt, has been named Acting Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life for a 6-month term. In his absence Dr. Susanne Ferber will serve as Acting Chair. Jay will be returning in July 2014 to take up a second term as Chair. Congratulations all round! October 2012
Gillian Einstein is one of a team of University of Toronto researchers whose just published paper counters the claim that PMS (pre-menstrual syndrom) is linked to negative moods in women. The paper, published in Gender Medicine, is based on a literature review of 41 research studies that tracked women’s daily moods through their menstrual cycles. The outcome, that PMS is not the cause of moodiness and irrationality in women, comes as a surprise to even health professionals, Dr. Einstein states, adding that these finding demonstrates the "need to examine other factors which may affect women’s moods so that the real challenges can be treated". These ground breaking findings are widely discussed in the media, including in articles published by the Toronto Star and The Atlantic. The University of Toronto Bulletin interviews Gillian Einstein here.
Psychology graduate student, Rachel Newsome, is lead author of a paper suggesting that impaired visual perception in Alzheimer's disease may partially underlie their memory problems. These findings, built on previous research by Psychology's Morgan Barense and colleagues on perception and amnesia, demonstrate that the inability to recognize familiar faces and objects may be due as much to difficulty perceiving distinct features, as it is to decreased memory recall.The research, undertaken together with the Georgia Institute of Technology, indicates that reducing “visual clutter” (i.e. the number of visually similar features) could help patients with mild cognitive impairment complete everyday tasks. The paper was published in a special October 2013 edition of Hippocampus . Read more about this research in the University of Toronto Bulletin . Read the full paper here. Further press on this ground-breaking research can be found in the Wall Street Journal and Psych Central .
Dr. Jordan Peterson took part at the Dreamers Renegades Visionaries: The Glenn Gould Variations , held at the University of Toronto the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd. This two-day festival featured new work, new interpretations and new collaborations, included performances, talks, and exhibitions from around the world. Video clip of Jordan Peterson.
The Psychology Department welcomes two new lecturers to it's undergraduate Faculty, Drs. Ashley Waggoner Denton and Kristie Dukewich. Ashley Waggoner Denton: Ashley received her BS from the University of Toronto in 2006 and her PhD from Indiana University in 2012. Her research examines how people form impressions of others in everyday life, including how we incorporate third-party evaluations of social targets (i.e., gossip) into our own impressions. As a graduate student at Indiana University, she taught a range of courses in psychology, as well as an interdisciplinary seminar course on gossip and rumor. Ashley is teaching introductory psychology, statistics and attitudes during her first academic year with the Department.Kristie Dukewich: Kristie's research revolves around attention and perception, and the role of non-associative learning in attention. Kristie has used her post-secondary training as an opportunity to live in various Canadian cities – she received her BSc from the "finest university on the banks of the North Saskatchewan", the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She went on the complete graduate studies under Dr Raymond Klein at Dalhousie University in Halifax, a short post-doctoral position in Psychiatry at Dalhousie, and a teaching post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. As a foodie and craft beer enthusiast, Kristie can give great advice about where to find delicious food and draught beers in Edmonton, Halifax, and Vancouver. As a new transplant to the city, she is looking for suggestions about Toronto.
The International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) presents awards every four years which honour outstanding scientific achievement and significant contribution to humanity. One of these five prestigious awards, the Young Investors Award (Basic Science), was presented this month to Dr. William Cunningham, who rejoined the Psychology faculty this month. Dr. Cunningham's research focuses mainly on how the mind reflects value. The award ceremonies will be held during the 30 th International Congress of Psychology, July 22-27, 2012, in Cape Town, South Africa. We welcome WIl back to the Department and congratulate him on this achievement. Read more.
Can people who suffer from amnesia have too many memories? These paradoxical findings are the result of research by Psychology’s Morgan Barense, co-author of a study published in the July 2012 issue of Neuron . The study’s findings indicate that amnesia caused by damage to the medial temporal lobe involves not only the memory system, but affects perceptual abilities as well, resulting in difficulty recognizing objects. In brief, ‘too much information’ presented to study participants, can hinder object recall. Read more in ScienceNews . Read the full article here .
A recent article in the Cerebral Cortex co-written by Psychology/Women Studies faculty member, Gillian Einstein, revisits the homunculus model of the brain to examine the omission of female sexual organs in Penfield's mapping, and to bring attention to the female somatosensory cortex. The article opens the case for a full remapping of the female brain to produce a ‘hermunculus’, which would include previously neglected areas concerning female sexuality. Read the full article here . Dr. Einstein has been sited widely in the press, including in the macleans.ca article Medicines deadly gender gap , and in the Huffington Post .
Our congratulations go out to Karl Healey, former grad student at St. George campus and now in post-doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Karl is the recipient of a New Investigator Award 2012, presented by the APA’s Division of Experimental Psychology, on the basis of his paper, "The stability of working memory: Do previous tasks influence complex span?", which appeared in the APA's Journal of Experimental Psychology .
Psychology graduate student, Renée Biss, is the lead author, with Dr. Lynn Hasher, in a study on the benefits of being an early bird. The study, which examines the sleeping patterns of younger and older adults, finds that late risers tend to experience “social jet lag”, lower levels of positive affect which can be associated with late riser biological clocks not being aligned with society's standard "9-5" clock. Furthermore, the study reveals that as adults age, so do their rhythms and they tend to become earlier risers, a phenomenon that can be linked to the more positive outlook experienced by older populations. The study is published in the June 2012 edition of the APA jourmal Emotions . Check out the interview with Ren é e on Global TV . Read more in the U of T Bulletin . Congratulations, Renée!
Psychology graduate student, Sijing Wu, is the lead author on a research study published this month in MIT's Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience . The research, funded by NSERC, demonstrates how playing action video games (as a first person shooter) causes differences in brain activity and improvements in visual attention, thus establishing a causal relationship between playing video games and neuroplastic change. Sijing was part of a group of graduate students headed by psychology faculty members, Ian Spence and Claude Alain. Read the research paper here .
Psychology's Junchul Kim, is one of the recipients of this year's Connaught Fund in support of new researchers. The New Researcher Award is one program supported by the Connaught Fund, created from the 1972 sale of Connaught Laboratories, which first mass-produced insulin. Junchul received the funding is support of his research, Genetic Control of Ventral Hippocampal Parvalbumin Neurons in Mice. Congratulations, Dr. Kim!
The Psychology Students' Association has just published Volumn 1 (September 2012) of their new online journal, Inkblot . Congratulations to editor-in-chief, Irene Inhae Oh, and her editorial and design team for this excellent, informative publication. And thanks to advisors Dr. Jay Pratt and grad students Susan Gillingham, Elizabeth Guy Glenn, Bonnie Le, Ruxandra Luca and Rachel Newsome. You can connect to Inkblot here .
Dr. Nichola Rule is one of of 21 U of T professors who received funding from the Governnment of Ontario's Early Research Awards (ERA). These prestigious awards are given to a small number of young researchers in the early stages of their careers, with the goal of attracting, and retaining, top quality researchers to Ontario. Nick received his ERA funding award in support of his research on improving social equality for gays and lesbians (project title: The role of subtle nonverbal cues on the incidence and impact of homophobia). Read more here. We congratulations Nick on this honour.
Dr. John Vervaeke has been selected as the 2011-2012 recipient of the Arts & Science Student Union Ranjini (Rini) Ghosh Excellence in Teaching Award . The award is given to an instructor who demonatrates excellence in teaching and who contributions significantly to undergraduate education by challenging students’ intellectual capacity, influencing the development of students’ intellectual and critical skills, and being an all round outstanding educator. In addition to a plaque, presented to Dr. Vervaeke, the Psychology Department will receive a prize of $500 which will go toward undergraduate student scholarship. Congratulations, John!
Hot off the press , Sara Shettleworth's new publication, Fundamentals of Comparative Cognition , provides an excellent overview of cognition, its development, and its evolution, in all species, humans included. Published by Oxford University Press Canada , this publication is part of the Fundamentals of Cognition series. It is an excellent resource designed to concisely and clearly guide undergraduate and graduate students (and others) in the study of this important field. Congratulations, Sara!
More congratulatons for Sara Shettleworth are in order. The Psychology Department is proud to announce that Dr. Shettleworth is the 2012 recipient of the Canadian Society of Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science Donald O. Hebb Distinguished Contribution Award. The award will be presented at the CSBBCS annual meeting in June.
The Psychology Department instrument museum was profiled in a February 19 Toronto Star article . Psychology Professor Emeritus Douglas Creelman is to be credited with preserving and researching the Psychology Instrument Museum . Professor Creelman also developed an on-line exhibition of scientific instruments at the Univeristy of Toronto. You can also visit the instrument display on the 4th floor of Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street.
Jay Pratt's research was highlighted in an article published in the ScienceDaily (Dec 14, 2011) about his collaborative study on attention differences between women and men, and the effect estrogen levels have on this difference. The article references the journal paper, Estrogen modulates inhibition of return in healthy human females , published in Neuropsychologia , 2011. The article by Jay Pratt and others, investigates the influence of estrogen on the inhibition of return (IOR) that delays distracted attention from returning to the original point of attention. Results support the hypothesis that IOR is greater in women with higher estrogen levels. Read the journal article here .
Randy McIntosh with Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest has helped to create the Virtual Brain , which models brain structure and function simultaneously. This Brain , one of the first of its kind, can show how the brain responds to anything from looking at a picture to undergoing a stroke to responding to test treatments. Read more about this ground breaking research on U of T's News page.
Former Pschology graduate student, Jacob Hirsh, now with the Rotman School of Business, was lead writer of a research article on how social power, intoxication and anonymity can result in both prosocial and antisocial behaviour. The paper, published in the September 2011 Perspectives on Psychological Science, examines how situational and dispositional factors can influence the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS), leading paradoxically in both pro and antisocial behavioral results. Read more here .
Professor Emeritus Keith Oatley and Colleagues Discuss Why Fiction Can Make You More Humane
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Oatley discusses his research using MRI brain scans. By examining brain activity, results demonstrate that reading fiction can enhance empathy in readers. Collaborating studies by Psychology former graduate student and current York University faculty member, Raymond Mar, and Maja Djikic with the Rotman School of Management and a lecturer with Psychology, support Dr. Oatley's results. Know any good books? Read the Globe and Mail article here .
Psychology Faculty Member, Junchul Kim, Wins Prestigious CFI Award
We are very pleased to announce that Junchul Kim is the recipient of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Leaders Opportunity Fund for his research on hippocompal neural circuits and anxiety. Dr. Kim was one of 17 University of Toronto researchers who won a total of $3,892,005, representing 13.7% of the total funding awarded nationally. Congratulations, Junchul! Read more .
Study Shows Less is More When It Comes to Anti-Aging Treatments
Professor Alison Chasteen's recent research, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, demonstrates that younger adults view older adults' use of invasive anti-aging techniques, such as plastic surgery and botox injections, more negatively than more non-invasive methods, such as hair colouring. At the same time, older adults showed more overall tolerance towards those who used any type of anti-aging techniques, albeit with greater negativity toward more invasive measures. U of T Bulletin article. Read the full study here .
Gay Black Men are Considered More Likeable Than Both Black and White Straight Men
Studies on likeability, by graduate student Jessica Remedios and Faculty members Alison Chasteen, Jason Plaks and Nicholas Rule, indicate that men who are both black and gay are considered more likeable than either black and white straight men. People react to sexual orientation often without conscious awareness, the studies show. Research in this area can add to the understanding of such reactions and to ways of minimizing the effects of homophobia. Results were published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology . Read more about the study in the U of T Bulletin .
Research Shows Asian Women's Reaction Stronger to Racism than to Sexism
Psychology Graduate Student Jessica Remedios was lead author, with supervisor Alison Chasteen, on a study that found Asian women more susceptible to racism than sexism. Based on a study involving 242 Asian women, results demonstrate that sexism can be dismissed more easily and causes less personal distress than racial discrimination. The paper was published in the Group Processes and Intergroup Relations journal. Check out more information at the Global News site, the U of T Bulletin , and in the Vancouver Sun . Read the full article here .
Undergraduate Psychology Course Makes a Difference
Psychology's undergraduate course PSY435H1 Environmental Psychology , was featured in the June 17th edition of the University's Bulletin. The course, taught by Dr. Dan Dolderman, covers topics such as the effect of environment on stress and psychological health, environmental systems, and how the individual can make a difference in improving the environment and bringing about positive behaviour change through community-based social marketing. Read the arcticle here.
Former U of T Psychology PhD graduate student and current faculty member at UCLA, Alan Castel, was named a young 'rising star' in psychological science research by the Association for Psychological Science magazine, the Observer . Well done, Alan! Read the interview with Alan on page 26, 27 of the June 2011 issue of the Observer .
Sadness, Depression and the Brain
Psychology PhD student, Norman Farb, is lead author on a study investigating the effects of sadness on the relapse of depression. The study, under the supervision of Dr. Adam Anderson, demonstrates how small incidences of sadness can result in a relapse in recurrent depression and also examines why such relapses do not always occur. The article was published in Biological Psychiatry . Read more in the U of T Bulletin .
Dr. Stephanie Goodhew Receives OGS Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Stephanie won this highly competitive award for her postoc with Jay Pratt. Congratulations!
Psychology Faculty Awarded SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR Grants
Congratulations to the following grant recipients:
Adam Anderson, CIHR, Jan 2011 – Mar 2016
Adam Anderson, SSHRC, period TBA
Alison Chasteen, NSERC, Apr 2011 – Mar 2016
Alison Chasteen, SSHRC, Apr 2011 – Mar 2014
Eve De Rosa, NSERC, Apr 2011 – Mar 2016
Junchul Kim, NSERC, Apr 2011 – Mar 2016
Jay Pratt, NSERC, Apr 2011 – Mar 2016
Martin Ralph, NSERC, Apr 2011 – Mar 2016
Nick Rule, SSHRC, Apr 2011 – Mar 2014
Jennifer Tackett, SSHRC, Apr 2011 – Mar 2014
Psychology Department Faculty Receive Connaught New Researcher Awards
Recent Faculty members at St. George campus were the recipients of the Connaught New Researcher Award. Receiving this honour are Drs. Morgan Barense, Nicholas Rule and Kaori Takehara-Nishiuchi. Congratulations to each on this award!
Gillian Einstein of Psychology and Public Health Speaks at First Women's Brain Health Academic Symposium
The very first Women's Brain Health Academic Symposium took place in Toronto on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Dr. Einstein spoke on her research exploring the role of estrogen on brain functions such as mood and memory. Read about the symposium on CBC news . In support of Women's Brain Health Research Fund, the Women of Baycrest (women researchers focusing on women's brain health) are campaigning for a new Research Chair in Women's Brain Health & Aging. Read more about this initiative.
Faculty Members Research on Women's Health Featured in U of T Bulletin
Dr. Gillian Einstein, Associate Professor with Psychology and Public Health, was featured in a special International Women's Day article in the March 8th edition of the Bulletin. Dr. Einstein's research focuses on women's health, and the need to understand the existing diversity among individuals when treating women's health. To this end, she established the Collaborative Program in Women's Health with the aim of widening the focus of research on women's health. Dr. Alison Fleming, Psychology Department, UTM, and her work on maternal behaviour, is also featured in this article. Read the article here (go to page 9).
Faculty Member Quoted in Globe & Mail Article
Dr. Eve De Rosa's work on memory contributed to an article on memory and forgetting, published in the Feb 11, 2011 issue of The Globe & Mail. Find out why you forget where you put your keys. Read the article here.
Two Psychology Faculty Members awarded Presigious CFI Grants
Dr. Kaori Takehara-Nishiuchi and Dr. Bradley Buchsbaum (cross-appointed with the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest) were two of 62 U of T recipients of Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grants totaling $6.4 million. Dr. Takehara-Nishiuchi's award was for her research on network organizations underlying long-term memory and Dr. Buchsbaum received his grant for work on verbal memory in the human brain. Congratulations to them both. U of T Bulletin Article.
Dr. Jordan Peterson's Hancock Lecture Televised on TVO's Big Ideas
On Saturday, January 15 at 5:00 p.m. TVO's Big Ideas will broadcast the 2010 Hancock Lecture, given by Dr. Jordan Peterson last fall at Hart House. The lecture focuses on virtue from a contemporary perspective with Dr. Peterson drawing on his research and clinical practice to discuss the need for virtue in all aspects of our lives. The show will be rebroadcast on TVO at 5:00 p.m. on January 16, with a podcast of the lecture available on the Big Ideas website .
Dr. Eve De Rosa's Research Featured in U of T Magazine's "The Next Big Idea" Column
Research on memory and aging conducted by the Psychology Department's Dr. De Rosa was featured in the Winter 2011 edition of U of T Magazine as one of a few 'new, big ideas' to watch. Dr. De Rosa is researching what role the brain chemical acetylcholine plays in learning and attention, and how problems with the acetylcholine system might contribute to the decline of cognitive development. Read more here .
Psychology Professor Awarded CRC Chair
Dr. Nicholas Rule was one of nine new Canadian Research Chairs awarded to the University of Toronto. Dr. Rule was awarded a CRC in Social Psychology. Congratulations! Read more.
Looks Do Matter
Psychology professor, Dr. Nicholas Rule, is the lead author of a research paper, published in the October 2010 issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science , linking the success of law firms with the faces of the firms' managing partners. The more powerful the face, the more powerful the profit. The study, co-investigated with Nalini Ambady of Tufts University, not only demonstrates a link between facial features of managers today, but also shows a correlation between a firm's profitabilty and the firm manager's college yearbook photographs, taken years earlier. U of T Press Release . Read the full article .
Former U of T Psychology PhD graduate and current Senior Lecturer at the University of Aukland, Donna Rose Addis, was the recipient of the 2010 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize. Dr. Addis was awarded the prize for her research in memory and imagination. Donna was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to study for her PhD in neuro imaging at the University of Toronto St. George campus Psychology Department. At U of T she learned new methods of analysing imaging data which allowed her to keep at the cutting edge in her field, before moving on to do post doctoral work at Harvard. Read more .
Psychology graduate student, Taylor Schmitz, is the lead author of a research paper on how the brain's ability to focus and filter information diminishes with age. Published in the Journal of Neuoscience on November 3, the study was conducted by Dr. Eve De Rosa, Taylor Schmitz and Dr. Frederick H.T. Cheng, all of U of T’s Department of Psychology. Read more . Full article.
Two new Faculty members joined the Department of Psychology, St. George Campus this past summer. We welcome incoming Assitant Professor in the area of social psychology, Dr. Nicholas Rule , and our new Assistant Professor in the area of brain and behaviour, Dr. Junchul Kim .
Psychology graduate student, David Wasserman, won a prize for best grad student poster at the U of T Neuroscience Poster Day held on April 14, 2010. He is collaborating with Sheena Josselyn's Sick Childrens' Research Institute lab on transferring a muscarinic gene into dopamine neurons in mice to facilitate courtship calls ("ultrasonic vocalizations") and the effects of morphine on behavior.