University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Department of Psychological Science Colloquia
2014-15

Every year the Department of Psychological Science hosts a variety of colloquia in which distinguished national and international scholars visit UVM to discuss their research. Our colloquia are open to all, though some require prior registration due to limited seating.

Jenessa Shapiro, Ph.D.

Jenessa Shapiro Associate Professor
University California at Los Angeles
Hosted by the Social Program
From Stereotype Threat to Stereotype Threats: Implications for Theory and Intervention

April 17, 2015
4:00 - 5:00 pm
location TBA

Chitra Raghavan, Ph.D.

Chitra Raghavan Professor
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
City University of New York
Hosted by the Clinical Training Program
Coercive Control, Gender, and Sexual Orientation: Furthering Our Understanding of Intimate Partner Violence Across Differing Contexts

February 25, 2014
1:30 - 2:30 pm
John Dewey Hall room 314

Melissa Glenn, Ph.D.

Melissa Glenn Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Colby College
Hosted by the Dennis Repole Memorial Lecture in Biopsychology
Food for Mood: Organizational Influences of Early Life Diet on Adult Brain and Behavior

November 21, 2014
3:00 pm
Billings Lecture Hall

As part of her visit, she will also present a colloquium at noon in John Dewey Hall room 314 titled "Behavioral and Neural Outcomes in Rat Models of Human Psychopathology as a Function of Perinatal Choline Availability".

Rebecca M. Shansky, Ph.D.

Rebecca Shansky Assistant Professor
Laboratory of Neuroanatomy and Behavior
Department of Psychology
Northeastern University
Hosted by Departments of Psychological Science and Neuroscience
Sex Differences in Fear Circuit Structure-Function Relationships

September 29, 2014
12:00 - 1:00 pm
John Dewey Hall room 314

Only a small fraction of people who experience a severe trauma will develop PTSD as a result, but susceptibility is twice as high in women as in men. The neurobiological basis of this discrepancy is not known, but identification of biological markers that distinguish resilience and vulnerability in each sex could lead to better prevention strategies and more nuanced treatments. In animal models, individual differences in behavior during fear conditioning and extinction may be a useful tool for probing the mechanisms that underlie variability in aversive learning processes.
However, despite the robust sex differences observed in patient populations, fear conditioning and extinction research in animals has been conducted almost exclusively in males. Here we took advantage of naturally occurring behavioral variability in large cohorts of male and female rats that underwent classic fear conditioning and extinction regimens, identifying subpopulations of animals that exhibited high (HF) or low (LF) levels of freezing on an extinction retrieval test. We then performed 3D reconstructions of neurons in the infralimbic-basolateral amygdala pathway, and found that HF males, but not females, exhibited distinct morphological features in these neurons.
Retrospective analysis of behavior during fear conditioning and extinction revealed that HF/LF distinctions emerged during distinct learning phases in males and females, as well as a more complex fear response in females. Together, our findings suggest that the mechanisms and circuitry underlying successful or failed extinction maintenance are discrete in males and females, holding implications for understanding sex differences in PTSD etiology.