Past News 2010-2012October 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.
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.