Colloquium Series

Current Speakers



Previous Speakers

Please click on the speaker's name to see more information.

  • Dr. Andreana Haley

    Friday, October 25, 2019

    Dr. Haley is the Director of Clinical Training in the Psychology Department at UT Austin. In this talk she will discuss the use of MRIs to examine how brain vulnerability relates to obesity and metabolic dysfunction. She will also explore the roles of nutrition, psychical activity and non-invasive transcranial laser simulation to support cognitive function in vulnerable populations. Her ultimate goal is to guide efforts to prevent and treat late-life cognitive impairment and ensure successful aging for our growing population of the elderly.

  • Dr. Kaya de Barbaro

    Friday, November 2, 2018

    Dr. Kaya de Barbaro will be visiting us from UT Austin. Her work measures early social interaction to understand the transmission of mental health risks. She focuses on collecting high-density biobehavioral markers using wearable sensors in real-world contexts. This research program bridges health, developmental, quantitative, and clinical psychology.

  • What it takes to speak two languages: Lexical representation and processing in bilingual language production

    Friday, April 6, 2018

    Speaking seems effortless to most, yet is extremely complex. Even the simplest utterance involves compiling a message to communicate, computing a grammatical structure, selecting the words that best express the message, and retrieving the sounds that make those words up. Bilingual speakers face additional complexities: they have more words to select from (across their two languages), they need more effort to retrieve non-dominant language words, and they need to avoid wrong-language slips of the tongue, or else they may not be understood. In this talk, I will discuss findings relevant to how bilingual speakers select the words they need, and what help they get in the process: Language control mechanisms help prioritize non-dominant-language production, internal monitoring mechanisms help detect wrong-language intrusions, and reusing the words of one’s conversational partner (a phenomenon known as alignment) eases the complexity of word choice.

  • Organization of Interaction of Functional Brain Networks

    March 21, 2018

    Recent advances in neuroscience have transformed our approach in mapping the human brain. Rather than relying on a simplistic view of human brain function where each region of the brain is specialized for a single function, medical imaging technology has provided a more complete understanding of the brain as an integrated system of interconnected networks that interact dynamically to carry out a given task. Human cognition and behavior involves the coordination of activity across large-scale brain networks which can be identified using function magnetic imaging resonance (fMRI). Here, we examine the relationships between these brain networks at rest and during cognitive control processing in healthy adults and in schizophrenia. 

  • Prejudice towards Arabs/Middle Easterners

    November 29, 2017 at 11:00-12:15

    Prejudice towards Arab/Middle Easterners has existed in this country ever since the first immigrants settled in the United States. Yet, despite the current climate, relatively little is known about this pan-ethnic minority group that is plagued with prejudice and discrimination. In this colloquium presentation, I will discuss the predictors of prejudice towards Arab/Middle Easterners and how this problem is complicated by the conflation of religion and ethnicity. In addition, I will present a study of Arab/Middle Eastern Americans’ perceptions of discrimination, with special attention to the issues of religious identification and acculturation.

  • LT Joseph W. Geeseman, PhD, MSC, USN

    Aerospace Experimental Psychology: Psychological experimentation and research for the US Navy

    The Aerospace Experimental Psychology (AEP) community of the US Navy is about 30 personnel strong and includes scientists with research backgrounds in human factors, industrial-organizational psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and other fields of experimental psychology. LT Geeseman will present a brief history of AEPs in the Navy and discuss some current details of the community. After providing this background information, he will present two recently completed research projects titled, "The impact of conflicting spatial representations in airborne unmanned aerial system sensor control" and "Narrowing of attention and functional field of view for helicopter pilots in a degraded visual environment.

    About LT Geeseman

    LT Geeseman is currently the staff aviation psychologist for the Chief of Naval Air Training in Corpus Christi, Texas. In this role, he supervises changes to training curricula and their impact on student performance, monitors multiple substantial databases for assessing trends in performance data to ensure maximum success in Naval aviation training, and facilitates the adoption of new technologies to improve training outcomes. In addition to his day-to-day tasking in aviation training, LT Geeseman manages several research programs and conducts his own research at laboratories throughout the US and Europe.

    Geeseman recently received the Robert S. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Aviation Research for his work in areas of spatial awareness, visual attention, stress, spatial disorientation, and hypoxia. His exploration of these research areas directly impacted the safety and mission readiness for helicopter and jet pilots across many different manned and unmanned aircraft. Furthermore, LT Geeseman designed and managed the first-ever investigation and modeling of human performance for long-endurance unmanned aerial system (UAS) operations currently shaping the concept of operations for Naval UAS assets.

    Prior to joining the Navy in 2012, LT Geeseman received his PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. His research interests began in multi-modal sensation and perception, and during graduate school, he investigated the influence of auditory stimuli on visual localization. The Navy amply provided LT Geeseman many opportunities to pursue his original interests and to also pursue research questions well beyond his academic training.

  • Do I laugh with the sinners or cry with the saints? Understanding obsessive religious fears and compulsive versus religious rituals.

    March 3, 2016

    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessions, which give rise to compulsions in an effort to reduce associated anxiety or perceived harmful effects. Scrupulosity is an OCD manifestation in which obsessive fears and compulsive rituals are religious or moral. Consequently, patients with scrupulosity often derive anxiety and distress from religion rather than comfort. Moreover, clinicians struggle with scrupulous patients whose pathology is entangled with their culturally normative values. In fact, scrupulosity is manifest differently as a function of specific cultural values and religious observances. Scrupulosity is also associated with poor insight and magical thinking. Not surprisingly, several studies demonstrate that the presence of religious obsessions predicts poor treatment response. In this talk, I will discuss the nature of scrupulosity with attention to religious and cognitive influences, the relationship between religion and OCD, obsessional meta-cognitive styles, concepts of God, beliefs about scrupulosity among clergy, and relevant psychiatric comorbidity.

  • Comparative Effectiveness of a culturally adapted Brief Motivational Intervention and non-adapted brief motivational intervention to reduce heavy drinking among Hispanic Males

    March 11, 2015

    This presentation will provide the background and rationale for evaluating the comparative effectiveness of a culturally adapted brief motivational intervention among heavy drinking Hispanic males.  Research findings from the first randomized trial that was sufficiently powered to determine ethnic differences in drinking outcomes following brief motivational intervention in the medical setting will be presented.  These results led to the current research funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to compare a culturally adapted and non-adapted brief motivational intervention among heavy drinking Hispanic males in a bilingual, bicultural context.  The theoretical framework and specific aims for the currently funded research will be described.  In addition, the process for developing the cultural adaptation using a community based participatory research approach will be described and recent results of qualitative research and their implication for the refinement of the cultural adaptation to be tested in a comparative effectiveness trial will be presented.

  • Good and Bad Inferences from Neuroimaging Data: Uncovering the Function of the Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex

    September 17, 2014

  • On the Dynamics of Thinking and Feeling

    Wednesday April 2, 2014

    The model developed in my laboratory links components of emotion (Arousal and Valence) to cognitive processes (Attention and Memory). Specifically, the model proposes that Arousal (shifts in autonomic activation) is related to shifts in attention. Increases in arousal orient our attentional systems towards signals from our external environment, while decreases orient our attention to our internal environment. Valence affects whether the activation pattern produced by the signal is strengthened (through repetition and rumination) or integrated (through elaboration and reflection) with other activation patterns. Further, it is suggested that shifts in attention act to amplify the signals from the specified source, either external or internal. Increases in arousal lead to amplification of attended signals from our external environment, while decreases amplify internal signals (we tend to focus on one or the other). An additional hypothesis stemming from the model is that emotional experiences can have different sources in their generation; emotions are attributable to an external source (seeing the spider produces a fear response) or an internal source, emotions in the absence of external stimuli (thinking about a spider can also produce fear). The model will be presented along with research testing various aspects of the model.

    Dr. Estrada graduated with a Doctorate in Psychology from Cornell University in 2010. He is an assistant professor at Stephen F. Austin State University and is currently conducting research on topics of anticipation, affect, mood, memory, risk taking, and decision making. 

  • Monday, September 23, 2013

    Dr. Fred Frese is a retired Captain of the U.S. Marine Corps, a psychologist, and a person diagnosed with schizophrenia who has achieved a high level of recovery and professional success. He earned his doctorate in psychology from Ohio University after his diagnosis and served for 15 years as Director of Psychology at Western Reserve Psychiatric Hospital before taking his current position as associate professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University. Frese serves on several taskforces of the American Psychological Association and the boards of national organizations including the Treatment Advocacy Center and the Irwin Foundation. He has given over a thousand presentations about his life experiences and has appeared on ABC News, CNN, Nightline, and NPR. He has also testified many times to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Fred Frese is a recipient of the Clifford W. Beers Award, Mental Health America’s highest honor, for his work to improve the lives of people with mental health issues.

  • Eyewitness Memory in Civil Cases: Remembering Bad Things, not just Bad Guys.

    Date: October 3, 2012

    Dr. Weaver's research interests are in memory and cognition. He has published studies on flashbulb memory ("where were you on 9/11?"), eyewitness memory, the relationship between subjective confidence and memory accuracy ("metamemory"), reading and language comprehension. He has served on the editorial boards of five journals, and served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. He also has served as a forensic expert on eyewitness identification in civil and criminal cases in more than 15 states.

  • Date: April 4, 2012

    Professor Steven M. Smith received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin (1979). Areas of human cognition research include: Memory Retrieval Blocking & Recovery, Context-Dependent Memory, Reminiscence & Hypermnesia, Aging & Memory, Eyewitness Memory, False & Recovered Memories; Metacognition Tip-Of-the-Tongue States, Feeling-Of-Knowing Reports, Feelings of Imminence, Automatic & Recollective Processes in Metamemory; Creative Cognition Fixation & Mental Blocks, Incubation, Insight, Creative Idea Generation, Creative Design Fixation, Support Tools for Information Discovery. In addition to numerous publications, Dr. Smith has published these books:

    Finke, R. A., Ward, T. B., & Smith, S. M. (1992). Creative Cognition: Theory, Research, and Applications, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Smith, S. M., Ward, T. B., & Finke, R. A. (1995). The Creative Cognition Approach. Cambridge: MIT Press. Ward, T. B., Finke, R. A., and Smith, S. M. (1995). Creativity and the Mind: Discovering the Genius Within. New York: Plenum Press; Ward, T. B., Smith, S. M. & Vaid, J. (1997). Creative Thought: An Investigation of Conceptual Structures and Processes. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Books.

  • Date: March 7, 2012

    Biology Department University of Texas at San Antonio
    Director of the EEG/ERP lab Research Imaging Institute, UTHSCSA

    Nicole Wicha holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of California at San Diego, where she received interdisciplinary training in behavioral, computational and brain imaging techniques for addressing questions in Cognitive Neuroscience. She is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and holds a cross appointment with the University of Texas Health Science Center through the Research Imaging Center, where she is the Technical Director of the ERP laboratory. Dr. Wicha's research focuses on understanding how the brain processes language in real time using both behavioral and brain-imaging techniques, in particular event-related brain potentials (ERPs), which is a non-invasive direct measure of electrical brain activity with excellent precision in the time domain. Currently a primary focus in her lab is in understanding the unique processing capabilities of the bilingual brain. Some of the questions include how the bilingual brain predicts and processes two languages simultaneously, such as when reading a sentence that contains language switches, the implicit effects that one language can have on the other during processing or conversely how bilinguals process one language without interference from the other. Her lab research also examines how language and other cognitive abilities, such as arithmetic, interact in real time.

  • A story about drinking and risky behaviors from high school through college

    Date: February 1, 2012

    Kim Fromme received her Ph.D. from The University of Washington. Her research focuses on the etiology and prevention of alcohol abuse and risk-taking behaviors among adolescents and young adults. With support from a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, Dr. Fromme recently completed a longitudinal study of alcohol use and other behavioral risks (e.g., risky sex, aggression) in a cohort of first time college students - from high school throughout their college years.

  • Best Food FITS! A Community Intervention to Prevent Childhood Obesity

    Date: November 2, 2011

    BJ Friedman is a Professor and Director of the Texas State Dietetic Internship and Graduate Director of the Human Nutrition program. Dr. Friedman’s research agenda has focused on child nutrition, especially related to Child Nutrition Programs in Texas schools. She has published numerous papers and received federal, state and industry grants to conduct this research.