Lecture Series in 2014-2015

Unless otherwise noted all lectures will be in Psychology 1312 on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.


Oct 23, 2014
Prefrontal Control of Attention

Robert Desimone is Doris and Don Berkey Professor of Neuroscience and the director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. Prior to coming to MIT, he was Director of the NIMH Intramural Research Program, the largest mental health research center in the world. Desimone received his B.A. from Macalester College and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts of Sciences, and a recipient of numerous awards, including the Troland Prize of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Golden Brain Award of the Minerva Foundation. Dr. Desimone's research focuses on the neural bases of attention and executive control, which are frequently abnormal in major mental diseases.  His lab combines neurophysiological recording in animals and fMRI and MEG brain imaging techniques in humans to understand how neural circuits filter out distracting information. His lab is particularly interested in the role of synchronized neural activity in attentional control.

Nov 06, 2014
Mindsets: Helping Students Fulfill Their Potential

Carol Dweck is Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.  She graduated from Barnard College in 1967 and earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1972. Dr. Dweck's work bridges developmental psychology, social psychology, and personality psychology, and examines the self-conceptions people use to structure the self and guide their behavior. Her research looks at the origins of these self-conceptions, their role in motivation and self-regulation, and their impact on achievement and interpersonal processes. She has received numerous honors including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, as well as receipt of the James McKeen Cattell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Psychological Science and the Distinguisted Scholar Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Dr. Dweck is the author of Mindset: The new psychology of success (2006, Random House), Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development (1999, Psychology Press), and is co-editor of Handbook of competence and motivation (2005, Guilford) and Motivation of self-regulation across the lifespan (1998, Cambridge University Press).

This lecture is co-sponsored by the UCSB Center for the Science of Human Resilience (C-SHoRE).

Dec 11, 2014
Neural Predictors of Behavior Change

Emily Falk is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Director of the Communication Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. Prof. Falk employs a variety of methods, with a focus on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). She has worked to develop a program of research in what she calls “Communication Neuroscience” to link neural activity (in response to persuasive messages) to behaviors at the individual, group and population levels. Dr. Falk's work has been funded by grants from NCI, NICHD and the NIH Director's New Innovator Award. Prior to her doctoral work, Dr. Falk was a Fulbright Fellow in health policy, studying health communication in Canada. She received her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Brown University, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA.

Jan 08, 2015
The Power of Positive Speaking: Talking Up and Talking Down

Susan Fiske is Eugene Higgins Professor, Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University (Ph.D., Harvard University). At Princeton she directs the Intergroup Relations, Social Cognition, and Social Neuroscience Laboratory, where she examines issues of social power and intergroup relations. She is co-author, with Shelley Taylor, of Social Cognition (4th ed., 2013), the SAGE Handbook of Social Cognition (2012, with Macrae) and the SAGE Major Works in Social Cognition (2013). With marketing consultant Chris Malone, she co-authored The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies (2013). In the academic trade market, she is the author of Envy Up, Scorn Down: How Status Divides Us (2011). She has written more than 300 articles and chapters, as well as editing many books and journal special issues. Fiske’s work has had real-world impact. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 1989 landmark decision on gender bias cited her expert testimony in discrimination cases. In 1998, she also testified before President Clinton’s Race Initiative Advisory Board, and in 2001-03, she co-authored a National Academy of Science, National Research Council report on Methods for Measuring Discrimination. She chaired a 1014 NAS NRC report on IRBs in the social and behavioral sciences. In 2004, she published a Science article explaining how ordinary people can torture enemy prisoners, through processes of prejudice and social influence. She has won numerous scientific honors and awards, and, in 2013, Professor Fiske was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Feb 19, 2015
Weighting Positive versus Negative Valence: The Fundamental Nature of Asymmetries in Attitude Generalization

Russell Fazio is Harold E. Burtt Chair in Psychology at Ohio State University. Dr. Fazio received his B.A. from Cornell University, graduating Summa cum laude. He continued his education receiving an M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Princeton University. Dr. Fazio’s research investigates basic social psychological phenomena, specifically attitude change, attitude formation, and the relationships between attitude and behavior. He then applies these phenomena such as emotional disorders, political psychology, and racial prejudice. Dr. Fazio has received several honors including the Distinguished Scholar Award at Ohio State University, the APA Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution, and, in 2013, he gave the Ziva Kunda Memorial Lecture at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Mar 05, 2015
Evolution of Brain Pathways for Song and Speech

Erich Jarvis is an associate professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He leads a team of researchers who study the neurobiology of vocal learning, a critical behavioral substrate for spoken language. Recently, Jarvis co-led the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium with Guojie Zhang of the National Genebank at BGI in China and the University of Copenhagen and M. Thomas P. Gilbert of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. After a massive international effort to sequence and compare the entire genomes of 48 species of birds representing every major order of the bird family tree, Jarvis and his colleagues found that vocal learning evolved twice or maybe three times among songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds. Even more striking is that the set of genes involved in each of those song innovations is remarkably similar to the genes involved in human speaking ability. The findings are part of a package of eight scientific papers in a December 12, 2014 special issue of Science and 21 additional papers appearing nearly simultaneously in Genome Biology, GigaScience and other journals. Jarvis' name appears on 20 papers and he is a corresponding author for 8 of them.


Apr 16, 2015
Friendship and Natural Selection

James Fowler is a Professor in the Political Science and Medicine Departments at the University of California, San Diego. His work lies at the intersection of the natural and social sciences, with a focus on social networks, behavior, evolution, politics, genetics, and big data. He received his B.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. in International Relations from Yale, and then returned to Harvard to receive both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Government. He is the current Associate Editor for Network Science and Research and Politics. Dr. Fowler was recently named a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers. He is also a distinguished author, and the co-author of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (2009, Little, Brown, and Company).


May 14, 2015
The Evolution of Irrationality? Insights from Primates

Laurie Santos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. She received her A.B. in Psychology from Harvard and Radcliffe College, she then continued her education and received both an A.M. and Ph.D in Psychology (Cognition, Brain and Behavior) from Harvard University. Her research explores the evolutionary origins of the human mind by comparing the cognitive abilities of human and non-human primates. Some of her specific interests are: the core knowledge of physical and social cognition in human infants and other animals, the origins of decision-making heuristics and biases, and social cognition and theory of mind in non-human primates. Dr. Santos is the current President-Elect for Philosophy and Psychology, she received the APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in 2012, and was an invited speaker at the 2010 TED Talk in Oxford, UK. Her research has been funded by prestigious entities such as the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Santos currently sits on the Editorial Board for the PLOS One, a peer-reviewed online publication, and is an active AdHoc Reviewer for multiple journals including Animal Behaviour, Animal Cognition, Behavioral & Brain Sciences, just to name a few.

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