University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Department of Psychological Science Colloquia

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.

Shimon Amir, Ph.D., FRSC

Shimon Amir Professor and University Research Chair
Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology
Department of Psychology
Concordia University
Dennis Repole Memorial Lecture
Circadian Clocks in the Limbic Forebrain: From Genes to Behavior
April 3, 2009

The PER2 clock protein is expressed rhythmically in areas of the mammalian limbic forebrain involved in motivational and emotional regulation, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), amygdala, hippocampus and striatum. These rhythms are controlled by the master circadian clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), but they are also sensitive to homeostatic perturbations (e.g. restricted feeding, stress, drugs of abuse) and hormonal states that directly influence motivated behavior. Thus, putative clock cells in the BNST, amygdala and hippocampus are in a position to integrate circadian and homeostatic information and to directly affect specific behavioral and physiological rhythms downstream from the master SCN pacemaker.

Nicki Crick, Ph.D.

Nicki Crick Director, Institute of Child Development
Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Minnesota
Cox McNeil Speaker Series
The Development of Childhood Aggression: Boys Will Be Boys, But What About Girls?
October 24, 2008

Only recently has the archaic belief about girls being made of "sugar and spice and everything nice" begun to unravel. For decades, the study and treatment of aggressive behavior excluded females to focus on the antics of boys and men. To address this gender inequity, Dr. Crick and her research teams have identified and investigated a relational form of aggression that is more characteristic of girls and women than the previously emphasized physical form of aggression.

Crick's presentation will provide an overview of what is currently known about the predictors and consequences of relational aggression for both boys and girls. It will also include a description of recent research and activities conducted by the Crick lab on topics such as relational aggression and child maltreatment, aggression and peer victimization in Japan, and development of prevention and intervention programs that target relational aggression.

Uganda Discussion Hour with Dr. Crick

In this discussion hour, Dr. Crick will provide a brief overview of her recently initiated work with child soldiers in Gulu, Uganda. This new project, the Acholi Partnership Initiative, is currently a "work in progress" so there will be plenty of time for discussion and conversation about potential future directions.

Susan Fiske, Ph.D.

Susan Fiske Eugene Higins Professor
Department of Psychology
Princeton University
Cox McNeil Speaker Series
Perils of Prejudice: Universal Biases in Mind, Brain, and Culture
October 3, 2008

Bias comes in many forms. Some groups are stereotyped as competent but not warm (for example, rich people); others are stereotyped as warm but not competent (for example, older people). Still others are stereotyped as neither competent nor nice (for example, drug addicts). The stereotypes result from social structural conditions, such as perceived cooperation-competition between groups, and their relative social status.

Different group stereotypes create distinct emotions, such as envy, pity, and disgust. These emotional prejudices matter because they make people discriminate in different ways. What's more, the distinct types of prejudice appear world-wide, in dozens of cultures, in similar, apparently universal forms. And they also operate within individual encounters between people who cooperate or compete and hold different status.

Recent neuro-imaging data indicate that distinct emotional prejudices may appear in distinct brain regions. Despite their apparent universality and neural correlates, emotional prejudices can be controlled by the social goals people have when they encounter each other.

Sandra Sigmon, Ph.D.

Sandra Sigmon Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Maine
Cox McNeil Speaker Series
Anxiety Sensitivity and Menstrual Reactivity in Women with Panic Disorder
September 26, 2008

Women with panic disorder often report more severe premenstrual symptoms than healthy controls. Building on a series of studies that have looked at stress reactivity, Dr. Sigmon will present self-report, psychophysiological, and cortisol results that may have a bearing on previous findings regarding cyclical stressor effects on women with panic disorder.