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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 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, presentations are on Friday afternoons, 3:15pm to 4:30pm CST


Friday, October 8th, 2021, 3:15pm

Speaker: Richard Zinbarg, Northwestern University 

Topic:Precision of measurement of a mulit-item scale: Conventional wisdom (Cronbach’s alpha) and beyond (omega_hierarchical)

Abstract:When interested in estimating the proportion of scale variance due to a latent variable common to all of a scale’s indicators, the vast majority of applied researchers believe that Cronbach’s alpha is the index of choice. Whereas many methodologists are aware of problems with using Cronbach’s alpha for this purpose, few seem to be aware that there is a better alternative to Cronbach’s alpha. In this talk, I will discuss the importance of the proportion of scale variance due to a latent variable common to all of a scale’s indicators and the central problem with Cronbach’s alpha for estimating this important parameter. In addition, an alternative to Cronbach’s alpha - coefficient omegahierarchical – will be introduced and shown to overcome the positive bias often inherent in Cronbach’s alpha. Finally, I will present the results of simulations testing the accuracy of several different methods for estimating omegahierarchical and conclude with recommendations regarding how to estimate omega hierarchical.

Location: LIVE via zoom

About Richard Zinbarg


Friday, December 10th, 2021, 3:15 pm

Speaker: Dani Bassett, University of Pennsylvania

Topic: RacialEthnic, and Gender Imbalances in Reference Lists of Scientific Papers

Abstract: In recent years, science has been pushed to grapple with the social and structural systems that produce vast gender and racial/ethnic imbalances in academic participation. While current discussions largely focus on the role of people in positions of power (e.g., journal editors, grant reviewers and agencies, department chairs, and society presidents), many imbalances are in fact perpetuated by researchers themselves. A key example is imbalance within citation practices, where people from marginalized groups are broadly undercited, precluding an unbiased trajectory of scientific discovery. Because of the downstream effects that citations can have on visibility and career advancement, understanding and eliminating bias in citation practices is vital for addressing inequity in our scientific community. Here I will describe our recent studies providing evidence of striking (and growing) gender and racial/ethnic imbalances in reference lists of STEM articles, and evaluate several candidate drivers of those imbalances. I will also discuss practical (and open-access) tools for the mitigation of disparity. 

Bio:Prof. Bassett is the J. Peter Skirkanich Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, with appointments in the Departments of Bioengineering, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Physics & Astronomy, Neurology, and Psychiatry. They are also an external professor of the Santa Fe Institute. Bassett is most well-known for blending neural and systems engineering to identify fundamental mechanisms of cognition and disease in human brain networks. They received a B.S. in physics from Penn State University and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cambridge, UK as a Churchill Scholar, and as an NIH Health Sciences Scholar. Following a postdoctoral position at UC Santa Barbara, Bassett was a Junior Research Fellow at the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind. They have received multiple prestigious awards, including American Psychological Association's ‘Rising Star’ (2012), Alfred P Sloan Research Fellow (2014), MacArthur Fellow Genius Grant (2014), Early Academic Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (2015), Harvard Higher Education Leader (2015), Office of Naval Research Young Investigator (2015), National Science Foundation CAREER (2016), Popular Science Brilliant 10 (2016), Lagrange Prize in Complex Systems Science (2017), Erdos-Renyi Prize in Network Science (2018), OHBM Young Investigator Award (2020), AIMBE College of Fellows (2020). Bassett is the author of more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, which have garnered over 32,000 citations, as well as numerous book chapters and teaching materials. Bassett’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Office, the Army Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, the Department of Defense, the Alfred P Sloan Foundation, the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, the Paul Allen Foundation, the ISI Foundation, and the Center for Curiosity.

Location: LIVE via zoom

About Dani Bassett


Friday, February 11th, 2022, 3:15 pm

Speaker: Onnie Rogers, Northwestern University

Topic: TBA

Abstract: TBA

Location: TBA

About Onnie Rogers


Friday, March 4th, 2022, 3:15 pm

Speaker: Dr. Shakira Suglia, Rollins School of Public Health

Topic: TBA


Location: TBA

About Dr.Shakira Suglia


Friday, April 8th, 2022, 3:15pm

Speaker: Nadia Brashier, Purdue University

Topic: TBA

Abstract: TBA

Location: TBA

About Nadia Brashier


Friday, June 3rd, 2022, 3:15 pm

Speaker: Elaine Walker, Emory University

Topic: Psychosis: The complex origins of vulnerability and the developmental course

Abstract: Dr. Walker’s ongoing research projects deal with genetic, neurobiological, environmental and behavioral risk factors in the etiology of serious mental disorders, particularly schizophrenia and other psychoses.  Her research group at Emory is one of the nine sites in the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS) consortium, a multisite study focused on the predictors and mechanisms of conversion to psychosis in clinical high risk (CHR) individuals.  This project involves comprehensive characterization of the behavioral, cognitive and biological manifestations of risk for psychosis, with the goal of enhancing prediction of psychosis onset.   The NAPLS study is also intended to shed light on the genetic and neurobiological mechanisms that are associated with transition to psychosis in youth at CHR.  Other CHR projects ongoing in her lab are focused on enhancing the measurement of negative symptoms and cognitive dysfunctions in youth at CHR for psychosis. Her group is also involved in ongoing investigations of vulnerability to psychoses conferred by genetic variants, including 22q11 and 3q29 deletion syndromes (DS), which are associated with significantly elevated risk for a broad range of psychiatric syndromes, including psychosis.  The 22q11 DS study is examining symptoms, electrophysiological abnormalities in patients sensory processing and the functional characteristics of neurons cultivated from patients’ induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC).  In the studies of 3q29 DS, symptoms and brain structure are examined in detail, and parallels in developmental deviations are being examined in a mouse model.

Location: TBA

About Elaine Walker




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