Skip to main content

Colloquium Series

Departmental Colloquium Series

During the academic year, the department of psychology invites respected scholars to give lectures on research and theory in contemporary psychology. Please see the schedule below for more details and room locations. All are welcome to attend and engage with the Northwestern Psychology Community.

*Currently colloquiums are being held both via zoom & in-person,  3:15pm to 4:30pm CST.


carol gilligan

Dr. Carol Gilligan
Date: Friday, October 13th, 2023 - 3:15pm
Swift Hall, Room 107
Website: About Dr. Carol Gilligan
(Host: Onnie Rogers) 

Title: In a Human Voice

Abstract: Forty years after the publication of In a Different Voice, “the little book that started a revolution,” Gilligan returns to questions she first raised in the 1970s and 80s. Given the research that she and others have done in the intervening years, three things have now become clear: 1) the “different voice” (the voice of care ethics) although initially heard as a “feminine” voice, is in fact a human voice; 2) the voice it differs from is a patriarchal voice (bound to gender binaries and hierarchies), and 3) where patriarchy is in force or enforced, a human voice is a voice of resistance and care ethics is an ethic of liberation.  In her talk, Gilligan will discuss the research leading to these insights and to her focus on resistance and accommodation as key to understanding development in social and cultural contexts. She will also speak briefly about the Listening Guide method which she and her students developed.


Dr. Mary Hegarty

Date: Friday, November 3rd, 2023 - 3:15pm
Swift Hall, Room 107
Website: About Dr. Mary Hegarty
(Host: David Uttal) 

Title: Individual Differences in Navigation

Abstract: In this talk, I will review evidence for large individual differences in human navigation ability, or what is commonly referred to as the "sense of direction". I will review how cognitive psychologists study individual differences in navigation in both real and virtual environments, and what we know so far about the variation in navigation abilities and strategies. Finally, I will review current directions of my research on this topic, including studies on how GPS use might be affecting our navigation abilities, and the commonalities and dissociations between different measures of navigation ability.

philip corlett
Dr. Philip Corlett

Date: Friday, November 17th, 2023 - 3:15pm
Swift Hall, Room 107
Website: About Dr. Philip Corlett
Host: Vijay Mittal

Title: Translational Models for Psychosis Research

Abstract: Computational approaches to explaining the symptoms of psychiatric illnesses are undergoing a renaissance. This talk will describe the development of computational approaches to psychotic symptoms through a series of phases: from conceptual, to empirical, and quantitative. The strengths of the approach include the ability to connect levels of explanation – from epidemiological data down to circuit neuroscience. The work suggests that delusions are aberrant beliefs driven by inappropriate prediction errors and hallucinations are errant percepts driven by overweighted prior beliefs. In order to unite these two symptom categories theorists and empiricists have begun to examine volatility processing. When the world is perceived to be changing unpredictably an organism is faced with two possibilities – learn quickly to pre-empt the changes or ignore that signals that change is afoot. These two strategies may underwrite delusions and hallucinations respectively and each may be implemented in independent neural circuits, each responding to aberrant signals of volatility. Furthermore, the social content of delusions and hallucinations demands explanation. Computational psychiatrists appeal either to a domain specific problem with social cognition or a domain general issue with inference. Future work in computational psychiatry, building upon the progress already made, will continue to refine the hypothesis space, ideally leading to a deeper understanding and better treatments for psychosis.


jon krosnick
Dr. Jon Krosnick

Date: Friday, January 26th, 2024 - 3:15pm
Swift Hall, Room 107
Website: About Dr. Jon Krosnick
Host: Eli Finkel

Title: Is Danny Kahneman Right?  An Evaluation of Using Surveys to Measure Economic Values

Abstract: One view of democracy suggests that in order to be viewed as legitimate, a government must take into account the public's wishes regarding the specifics of public policies that might be implemented. Surveys are a mechanism by which officials can learn about their constituents. But surveys often ask people to make soft and ambiguous judgments about how they would like their tax dollars spent (e.g., “Do you think government spending on the military should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?”), and many studies have shown that the public lacks detailed knowledge on the issues about which they are asked. Is it possible instead to gauge informed and precise assessments of the public's preferences? One method intended to do so is contingent valuation. The method has been used for decades by academics and by government officials without much public attention, but it has also been the subject of vigorous criticism in the context of high-stakes litigation, led early on by Nobel Prize Winner Danny Kahneman. This talk will describe how the method works (a representative sample of respondents are interviewed in their homes, given information about a situation, and asked to make judgments about the situation, and eventually vote on a proposition) and will review evidence evaluating its effectiveness and the cogency of the criticisms launched against it. The evidence provides insights into how people make judgments and into whether the public can live up to the requirements of democracy.


vanessa volpe
Dr. Vanessa Volpe

Date: Friday, April 5th, 2024 - 1:00pm
Swift Hall, Room 107
Website: About Dr. Vanessa Volpe
Host: Onnie Rogers

Title: To Be Young, Online, and Black: Racism, Liberation, and Health in Online Environments

Abstract: The online context provides challenges and opportunities for Black young adults' oppression, liberation, and subsequent health. Yet a majority of psychological research has emphasized deficit-based narratives of online activity, examining outcomes such as internet addiction, body image concerns, and shorter attention spans. In this talk, I will first introduce my model of structural online racism to describe both the ways that features of online environments themselves pose risks to Black young adult health and how Black young adults actively innovate and resist in the face of these risks. Next, I will present results from my experimental, correlational, and mixed-methods empirical studies that test this model and incorporate intersectionality. Topics will include mechanisms of exposure to vicarious online oppression and health that can be targeted in interventions, Black-centered online social support, and acts of resistance to online oppression via racial identity, critical media literacy, and content creation and curation. Finally, I will conclude with recommendations for how to understand and study internet and technology environments from a psychological perspective that prioritizes and centers the liberation and equitable health of Black young adults. 


 dana miller-cotto
Dr. Dana Miller-Cotto

Date: Friday, May 3rd, 2024 - 3:15pm
Swift Hall, Room 107
Website: About Dr. Dana Miller-Cotto
Host: Mesmin Destin

Title: Examining measurement invariance by race: The case of the dimensional change card sort

Abstract: Executive function remains one of the most investigated variables in both cognitive science and education given its high correlation with numerous academic outcomes. Differences appear in executive function skills between children from higher socioeconomic and lower socioeconomic homes and children from different racial/ethnic backgrounds, with children from under resourced and minoritized communities demonstrating poorer performance relative to their peers with more resources. However, many accounts associate these differences with poor home/community values, imply inherent deficits in children from these communities, and imply a need to target these communities through executive function training. In this talk, I outline commonly held beliefs about these differences and offer strengths-based counternarratives that might be explaining these differences. Using a strength-based approach, I will also offer next steps for the field, and end by providing an example where my colleagues and I tested measurement invariance for the Dimension Change Cart Sorting (DCCS) Task across three ethnic/racial groups: White, Black, Latine, and Asian, using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study- Kindergarten dataset. 
Dr. David Creswell

Date: Friday, May 17th, 2024 - 3:15pm
Swift Hall, Room 107
Website: About Dr. David Creswell
Host: Rick Zinbarg

Title: How do mindfulness interventions work?

Abstract: There has been a significant growth in research and public interest in mindfulness interventions, which teach a capacity to be more open and receptive to present moment experience. In this presentation I will talk about some of the initial randomized controlled trials of mindfulness interventions for health, and my program of research which explores the biological and behavioral mechanisms linking mindfulness interventions with health. In particular, I will describe the promise for acceptance and equanimity skills in driving the benefits of mindfulness interventions. Discussion will focus on new research and clinical treatment opportunities with mindfulness interventions.