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2013-2014 Child Study Center Speaker Series

Thursday, October 10, 2013
4:15 p.m., 127 Moore Building

Dr. Craig Ferris

Professor of Psychology
Director, Center for Translational NeuroImaging
Northeastern University, Boston, MA

"Processing Aggression, Fear and Reward: Effects of Development, Learning and Memory"

Abstract:  Early psychosocial or environmental insult combined with genetic vulnerability can have long lasting consequences on development.  Using an animal model of social subjugation and ethanol exposure, data will be presented showing childhood and early adolescence to be both vulnerable and resilient periods of development altering brain chemistry, neuroendocrinology and future behavior.  As behavior is context dependent, perception of the environment plays a key role in approach and avoidance.  Functional imaging data in awake animals will be presented on aggressive motivation and the non-genomic effects of stress hormone.  The talk will close on the discussion of Fragile X Syndrome and dysfunction in reward processing as gleaned from imaging awake transgenic rats exposed to multiple environmental stimuli.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013
4:15 p.m., Nittany Lion Inn, Alumni Lounge

Dr. Nancy Gonzales

Women and Philanthropy Dean's Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology (Clinical)
Director, Prevention Research Center
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Co-Sponsored with the Prevention Research Center

"Promoting School Engagement to Reduce Disparities for Mexican American Youth"

Abstract: The future well-being of our nation will be heavily influenced by the economic success, educational attainment, and health of the rapidly expanding U.S. Latino population, particularly young Latinos of Mexican origin. However, Mexican American youth face many barriers to success and integration within the U.S. In this talk, I propose that school engagement and the attainment of a high school degree are key targets for social policies and programs to reduce disparities for Mexican American youth. To illustrate, I will present findings from a randomized controlled trial of the Bridges to High School Program, a preventive intervention designed for middle school students in low-income communities, which demonstrated multiple long-term benefits for Mexican American adolescents. I will highlight key family and youth competencies that were targeted, the central role of school engagement, and evidence of differential program response based on acculturation.

Dr. Gonzales is also presenting the BENNETT LECTURE

Thursday, December 12, 2013
4:00 p.m., The Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building
"The Role of Culture in Prevention Science: Past Progress and Future Challenges"


Thursday, January 16, 2014
2013-2014 Child Study Center's Lois Bloom Lecture
4:15 p.m., Nittany Lion Inn, Ballroom A&B

Dr. Nathan A. Fox

Distinguished University Professor and Chair
Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology
University of Maryland

"Are There Sensitive Periods for the Effects of Early Experience on Cognitive and Social Competence? Lessons from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project"


Wednesday, January 22, 2014
12:15 p.m., 127 Moore Building

Dr. Seockhoon Chung

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry
University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
Visiting Scholar, Sleep Disorders Center, University of Michigan


Dr. Douglas Teti

Professor, Department of Human Development, Psychology, and Pediatrics
Penn State University

"U.S.-Korean cultural differences in the dynamics of parent-child interactions and sleep"

Drs. Chung and Teti presented a discussion on possible U.S.-Korean cultural differences in the dynamics of parent-child interactions and sleep, and how the physical differences in bedrooms and beds might (or might not) change the nature of parent-child sleep interactions.  Cultural dynamics associated with parent-child sleep interactions were discussed, as well as research examining the cultural consonance vs. cultural dissonance in sleep arrangements, and its link with criticism mothers receive from others about non-traditional sleep arrangements and maternal worries about infant sleep.


Thursday, March 27, 2014
4:15 p.m., 127 Moore Building

Dr. Michel Boivin

Canada Research Chair on Child Development
Director, Research Unit on Children's Psychosocial Maladjustment (GRIP)
Professor of Psychology
Laval University

"One Is Good, Two Is Better: How Twins May (and Should) Help Us Redefine Gene-Environment Interplay and Developmental Health"

Abstract: The actual, and still prevalent, view in developmental research and theory is that the environment and the way we experience it play a decisive role in establishing inter-individual differences in cognitive and psychosocial development. For example, both attachment theory and social learning theories posit that early experiences within the family set the stage for future development. These experiences are often seen as shared to a significant extent by children of the same family. However, the empirical foundation on which this position is based is often questionable, especially when only one child per family is assessed. Twin studies, because they assess more than one child per family and provide means of disentangling genetic from environmental contributions, are well suited to test specific hypothesis about the nature and contribution of environmental factors. The presentation will highlight results from the Quebec Newborn Twin Study that challenge some of the common assumptions regarding the role of genetic and environmental factors in development. The significance of these findings with respect to theories of socialization will also be discussed.


Thursday, April 17, 2014
4:15 p.m., 127 Moore Building

Dr. Pamela Dalton

Monell Chemical Senses Center
Philadelphia, PA


"The Role of Social and Non-social Odors Across the Lifespan"

Abstract: Olfactory learning begins prior to birth, as the olfactory receptors in the fetus are exposed to odors from the mother’s body, her diet and environment and continues throughout life.  However, some of the most salient and emotional responses to olfactory cues arise from odors experienced early in life.  This talk will cover the biology and psychology of the olfactory system with a particular emphasis on how responses to both social and non-social odors are formed and how they influence emotions, cognition and behaviors.

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