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2014-2015 Child Study Center Speaker Series

The Child Study Center is proud to present a series of distinguished speakers on topics related to child and adolescent development. Each annual series begins with the Child Study Center's Lois Bloom lecture, featuring a nationally recognized scholar. For additional co-sponsored events, please see News and Events: http://csc.psych.psu.edu/speaker-series/about-us/news. Please check back periodically for updated information.

Upcoming Speakers:

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Monday, February 9, 2015
3:30 - 4:30, Biobehavioral Health Building

Ned H. Kalin, MD

Hedberg Professor and Chair
Department of Psychiatry
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Co-Sponsored with the Department of Biobehavioral Health

 

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Thursday, February 26, 2015
4:15 p.m., 127 Moore Building

Dr. Valerie Shafer

Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences
Graduate School and University Center
City University of New York



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Thursday, April 2, 2015
4:15 p.m., 127 Moore Building

Dr. Christopher Browning

Professor of Sociology
The Ohio State University


 

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Thursday, April 23, 2015
4:15 p.m., 127 Moore Building

Dr. Karen Bales

Vice Chair, Professor
Department of Psychology
University of California, Davis


 

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Speakers from earlier this year:

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014
2014-2015 Child Study Center's Lois Bloom Lecture
4:15 p.m., The Nittany Lion Inn, Boardroom

Dr. BJ Casey

Director of Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology
Professor of Developmental Psychobiology
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

"Easy to Remember, Difficult to Forget: The Development of Fear Regulation"

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
4:15 p.m., The Nittany Lion Inn, Alumni Lounge

Dr. Phil Fisher

Professor of Psychology
Senior Scientist, Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC)
University of Oregon

"Interventions to Promote Positive Outcomes Following Adverse Childhood Experiences"

Abstract: This presentation will focus on two parallel and interrelated domains of research: Investigations that characterize specific dimensions of early adversity (e.g., neglect, prenatal substance exposure) as they impact children’s psychological and neurobiological development; and prevention science studies that comprise theory driven experiments to evaluate intervention programs for infants and young children. We will describe how research in each area can reciprocally impact work in the other area, and how the confluence of this activity may be employed to impact social policy towards vulnerable children and families. Examples will be drawn from the presenter’s own prior and current research.

Dr. Fisher is also presenting the BENNETT LECTURE

Thursday, October 23, 2014
4:00 p.m., 22 BBH Building

"Convergent Thinking: The Neuroscientific Intersection of Next-Generation Parenting Interventions"

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Thursday, December 11, 2014
4:15 p.m., 127 Moore Building

Dr. Tracy Dennis

Professor of Psychology
Hunter College and the Graduate Center of The City University of New York

"Mental Health on the Go: Biobehavioral Effects of Computerized and Mobile Attention Bias Modification for Anxiety"

Abstract: Anxiety and stress-related disorders are not only the most common of the psychiatric disorders but have a broad negative impact on physical health and positive adjustment. However, millions fail to seek or receive treatment due to high cost and low accessibility of evidence-based treatments, particularly in underserved communities, where the prevalence of stress-related disorders is highest. Given this public health crisis, research on alternative delivery systems that are more affordable, accessible, and engaging, such as computerized interventions and mobile and gamified applications or “apps”, has grown. Yet, this field of study is in its infancy. Recent advances in the understanding of the role of cognitive biases in stress and anxiety have led to the development of computerized interventions targeting the threat bias, or excessive attention to threat. Computerized attention bias modification training (ABMT) techniques that train attention away from threat stimuli result in reduced anxiety severity and stress reactivity comparable to the effect size of a typical 12-session cognitive behavioral therapy. Moreover, ABMT may bootstrap the efficacy of other treatments for anxiety and stress-related disorders across the lifespan and bolster general executive functions that support self-regulatory capacity. Therefore, ABMT, which is brief and cost-effective, may represent an optimal alternative treatment delivery approach. However, how and for whom ABMT is most effective remains unclear and the degree to which ABMT can be embedded in a mobile or gamified format and its potential for transfer of benefits are unknown.  In this talk, Dr. Dennis presents a series of studies using computerized ABMT that leverage the sensitivity and specificity of scalp-recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) to identify both neurocognitive changes associated with ABMT and individual differences predicting its stress- and anxiety-reducing effects. Building on these findings, she then presents two studies documenting positive behavioral and neurocognitive effects of a gamified ABMT mobile application administered on a smartphone in trait anxious adults. Findings add to the growing body of research demonstrating that evidence-based treatment mechanisms can be embedded into mobile and gamified formats, particularly those that target cognitive biases. Moreover, results identify potential neurocognitive bases for stress-reduction effects of computerized and gamified ABMT.

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