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.

Eric Stice, Ph.D.

Eric Stice Senior Scientist
Oregon Research Institute
Dissonance-Based Eating Disorder Prevention Program; Using Persuasion Principles for Health Promotion
April 13, 2011, 1:30-3:00 pm
John Dewey Hall room 314
Background: Efficacy trials indicate that a dissonance-based eating disorder prevention program in which females with body image concerns critique the thin-ideal reduced eating disorder symptoms, risk factors, and future eating disorder onset. However, few effectiveness trials have tested whether this intervention produces effects when real-world providers deliver the intervention under ecologically valid conditions.
Methods: We conducted two effectiveness trials that tested whether this intervention produced effects school counselors and nurses recruited young women at high risk for eating disorder onset and deliver this group-based prevention program.
Results: A high school effectiveness trial found that adolescent females who completed the dissonance intervention, versus educational brochure controls, showed significantly greater decreases in thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, dieting, functional impairment, and eating disorder symptoms, with some effects persisting through 3-year follow-up. A college effectiveness trial, which is evaluating a new enhanced-dissonance version of this intervention, is revealing even larger intervention effects for these outcomes when school counselors, psychologists, and dieticians were responsible for participant recruitment and intervention delivery.
Conclusions: Results suggest that this intervention is effective under real-world delivery conditions, implying that it is time to disseminate this evidence-based prevention program.

Brian Yates, Ph.D.

Brian Yates Professor of Psychology
American University
Cost-inclusive treatment research: We can do it, we must do it, and here's how to start
April 8, 2011, 12:00 noon
John Dewey Hall room 100
Two important classes of variables typically are omitted in research on treatments for depression, substance abuse, and other problems common throughout our world: the costs of treatment, broadly defined, and the outcomes of treatment, monetary and monetizable. Unfortunately, these are the very measures that at least two major stakeholders care about most when deciding whether to engage in treatment: clients and third-party payers.
This talk illustrates the value of conceptualizing treatment as consuming specific, quantifiable human services resources, and producing new resources as well as avoiding future expenditures of existing resources. Cost-inclusive research adds these costs and "costy" outcomes to traditional models linking therapeutic activities to biopsychosocial processes and behavioral outcomes, to decide whether a treatment is sustainable in an economic climate that requires more services for more people with less funding. Cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-benefit-analysis, cost-utility analysis, and cost-activity-process-outcome analysis of treatments and their delivery systems offer a wealth of approaches for including these resource-focused evaluations in treatment research.

Rene Veenstra, Ph.D.

Rene Veenstra Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
University of Groningen
SIENA Models for Network and Behavior Dynamics: Innovative Designs and Analyses to Examine Selection and Influence Processes
March 29, 2011, 11:30-12:30
John Dewey Hall room 100
Social relations can have a profound impact on human development in all life stages, be it positive relations such as friendship, support, and trust, or negative relations such as dislike, envy, and bullying. The totality of relationships of a given type, measured in a meaningfully delineated social group, can be represented by a social network. When networks are used for explaining individual development, it needs to be considered that networks also can develop over time. Together with the individual characteristics that change over time, the network change constitutes a mutually dependent feedback process. In this presentation, I portray a method to analyze simultaneously network and behavior dynamics and examine selection and influence processes.

Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D.

Kerry Ressler Associate Professor and Investigator
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Center for Behavioral Neuroscience
Yerkes National Primate Research Center
Understanding Posttraumatic Stress and other Fear Disorders: From Mice to Men
March 18, 2011, 4:00 pm
John Dewey Hall room 314
Dr. Ressler will provide an overview of the neural circuitry of fear and its inhibition, including potential roles of the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex in the modulation of fear. He will then discuss molecular mediators of synaptic plasticity that are involved with fear and its extinction within these brain areas, with particular focus on Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. He will conclude with new data using convergent approaches to identify new factors that may mediate PTSD, specifically PACAP and its PAC1 receptor, and their role in the modulation of fear pathways.

Leonard Epstein, Ph.D.

Leonard Epstein Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Social and Preventive Medicine
Chief, Division of Behavioral Medicine
State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Science
Behavioral Choice Theory and Obesity: From Molecular Genetics to Public Policy
February 11, 2011, 4:00 pm
John Dewey Hall room 314
Losing weight requires a series of choices to eat healthier and be more active. Behavioral choice theory is a theoretical approach to understanding how people make decisions about how to allocate their time among alternatives and how to set priorities. Behavioral choice theory incorporates multiple levels of analysis, ranging from basic neuroscience and genetic research, field and clinical studies, and environmental analyses. Basic research will be reviewed that demonstrates the central role of choice in determining motivation to engage in behaviors, and these basic paradigms will be applied to human eating and physical activity. The interaction of genetic factors that may influence the motivation to eat, and how these genetic polymorphisms interact with behavioral phenotypes to influence the choice to eat are presented. These basic principles are extended to clinical research on weight loss in children, and prevention research to assess the role of reducing television on weight change in young children. The potential role of environmental changes that favor healthier eating and greater access to physical activity, such as pricing are noted. These studies highlight the importance of integrating basic and clinical research, and the potential for multidisciplinary approaches to improve healthy behaviors.

Lesley Cunningham, M.S.W.

Lesley Cunningham Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Workshop on Peer Mediation
January 21, 2011

Charles Cunningham, M.D.

Charles Cunningham Jack C. Laidlaw Chair in Patient-Centred Health
McMaster University
McNeil Lecture Series Talk
The Dissemination and Implementation of Peer Mediation Programs in Schools
January 21, 2011