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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 join us for refreshments before the talk.  This will be outside the event space from 1:00-1:15pm.  The colloquium lecture will then began at 1:15pm and last untill about 2:30pm.   Please see the schedule below for more details and room locations.  At the end of the day, a reception will be held for the speaker.  This will be on 2nd floor landing of Swift Hall at 5:00pm.  All are welcome to attend and engage with the Northwestern Psychology Community.


Monday, October 14th, 2019, 1:15 pm

Speaker: Nim Tottenham, Columbia University

Topic: Development of Emotion Regulation Neurobiology and the Role of Early Experiences

Abstract: Human brain development is very slow, thus maximizing its chances of being influenced by environmental factors. Variations in early species-typical experiences, such as parental caregiving, reveal the profound effects of such influences on the development of neurocircuitry involved in affective learning and regulation (e.g., amygdala, hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex). This talk will focus on both typical development as well as development following caregiver deprivation showing that early life early environments may influence development through learning as well as altering developmental pacing of this circuitry. These age-related changes will be discussed in terms of potential developmental sensitive periods for environmental influence.

Location: Frances Searle 2-107

About Nim Tottenham


Monday, March 2, 2020, 1:15 pm

Speaker: Sandra Graham, University of California-Los Angeles

Topic: Toward a Science of Diversity for Urban Schools

Abstract: In this talk, I describe my program of research on the psychosocial benefits and challenges of racial/ethnic diversity in urban schools. This kind of research is important and timely given the changing demographics of the U.S. population, along with the increasing segregation of the nation’s public schools.  It is also important to our theoretical goal of contributing to a science of diversity for urban schools.  I describe our work testing interrelated hypotheses about the benefits of attending schools that are racially and ethnically diverse for intergroup attitudes, reduced feelings of vulnerability, and the development of social identity. These hypotheses are examined in a longitudinal study of approximately 6000 6th grade students as they entered one of 26 urban middle schools in California and then transitioned to more than 200 high schools.   The large sample is racially/ethnically diverse, comprised of Latino, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, White, and multi-racial students. I also consider our work acknowledging some of the challenges of racial/ethnic diversity particularly for marginalized ethnic groups who make lack a critical mass of same-race peers.   One goal of this talk is to present a compelling argument that greater school racial/ethnic diversity can buffer many of the normative challenges of early adolescence for all youth. A second goal is to contribute to the new field of diversity science by conceptualizing diversity in schools as a multi-faceted, multi-level, and dynamic construct that can change across time and place.  

Location: Ruan Conference Center (Transportation Center) - Lower Level

About Sandra Graham



Monday, April 27, 2020, 1:30pm -2:30pm

Speaker: Richard E. Zinbarg, Northwestern University

Topic: Neuroticism and risk for anxiety and depression: Prospective results form the NU-UCLA Youth Emotion Project

Abstract: Extant research has demonstrated strong cross-sectional associations of Neuroticism with many forms of psychopathology.  In this talk, I’ll present research my colleagues and I have conducted over the past 15 years addressing four open questions about the relationship between Neuroticism and psychopathology.  First, does Neuroticism prospectively predict psychopathology?  Second, is there any specificity in Neuroticism’s prediction of psychopathology – that is, does it predict some forms of psychopathology more strongly than others?  Third, in terms of the mechanisms through which Neuroticism might confer risk, which is stronger: stress amplification or stably elevated negative affect?  Finally, which is stronger risk or scar effects?

Location: LIVE Via Zoom

About Richard E. Zinbarg



Monday, May 11, 2020, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Speaker: Peter Rosenfeld, Northwestern University

Topic: Concealed information detection with the P300 ERP: From the 3-stimulus protocol (1987) through the enhanced, Dual Probe, Complex Trial Protocol (2020).

Abstract: The first P300-based protocol based on the concealed information test was accurate (1980s, with 85-95% diagnostic accuracy) but vulnerable to simple countermeasures, such as making secret responses to irrelevant stimuli. This turned them into targets eliciting P300s as large as those evoked by guilty knowledge (probe) items, thereby defeating the test. In 2008, the novel, P300-based "Complex Trial Protocol" (CTP) was theoretically-based to be-- and was demonstrated as-- resistant to those usual countermeasures in many scenarios (mock crimes, cognitive deficit malingering, anti-terror) in multiple studies from our lab. Finally in 2016, an independent laboratory in Vienna replicated  our findings, but came up with a wholly novel countermeasure that could defeat the anti-terror use of our CTP. There also remained the problem of confusing guilty knowledgeable and  innocent knowledgeable (e.g., witnesses) persons. With colleagues in China, we recently came up with yet another iteration of the CTP based in the distinction of item and source memory that holds much promise in distinguishing guilty and all types of innocent suspects.

Location: LIVE Via Zoom

About Peter Rosenfeld



Monday, June 1, 2020, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Speaker: Kyle Nolla, Northwestern University

Topic: Cognitive, Physiological, & Gender-based Correlates of Competitive Gaming Expertise

Abstract: Competitive gaming, or "esports," is an emerging hobby and spectator sport of our digital age. Furthermore, esports represent a rich source of data for expertise researchers: competition demands fast-paced, complex cognitive decision-making (like chess) that depends on highly trained sensorimotor action (like traditional sports). This talk covers work on the cognitive structure of esports expertise, the physiological experience of stress management in Top 1% players, and the gender-based experiences that maintain the status quo of severe female underrepresentation. Ultimately, this research sheds light on why, in the 16-year history of the studied game, 2020 was the first year in which a woman was ranked in the Top 100. We hope to inform interventions that create, recruit, and maintain high-performing women esports professionals.

In Study 1, we establish the cognitive structure of esports skill by surveying 290 competitive gamers. We consider how game knowledge, sensorimotor skill, emotion regulation, and advanced expert cognition interact to create expert performance.In Study 2, we define peak performance via 30 of the Top 100 players of the game through cognitive testing, interviews, longitudinal performance data, and physiological stress management (cortisol awakening response). In Study 3, we manipulate emotion regulation strategies and gender-based stereotype threat to test motivational and performance outcomes in 200 non-gamers. Finally, we describe an ongoing dissertation project that explores how the gendered context of gaming impacts interest, motivation, and access to esports skill acquisition, including challenges and protective factors for women gamers.

Location: LIVE Via Zoom



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