The Joseph R. Royce Research Conference is a peer-reviewed research conference that focuses on psychology and related topics. The goals are:
The conference is a full day event held each winter term. Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate, and undergraduate students present papers and posters describing their current research activities. The conference is named in honour of Dr. Joseph R. Royce, who was Head of the Department of Psychology from 1960 to 1967 and Director of the Centre for Advanced Study in Theoretical Psychology from its foundation in 1966 until 1979.
The 26th Annual Royce conference will be held on Friday, March 2, 2012. The organizing committee is pleased to announce that Björn Brembs of Freie Universität Berlin will be the keynote speaker at this year’s conference. As well, the conference will feature invited presentations by Marcia Spetch and Anthony Singhal. The submission form for this year's conference is now available. The submission deadline is Feb 3. If you are interested in organizing a symposium, please contact Peter Dixon ( ). The Royce conference provides a showcase for research in the Department, and the organizing committee would like to encourage students and faculty to present at this year’s conference.
|Björn Brembs, Freie Universität Berlin|
|Title: World- and self-learning, two learning systems that determine who we are|
|Abstract: Our internal construct of the world around us would be useless, if we lacked a concept of how to behave in it. Even before we are born, we explore the consequences of our actions by using trial and error. Recent research in several vertebrate and invertebrate species have begun to elucidate how the mechanisms by which we learn about the world and those that learn about how to behave in it interact to enable each individual to develop their own, personal solutions to their every day problems.|
|Dr. Marcia Spetch, University of Alberta|
|Title: Extreme memory and risky choice|
Abstract: When presented with a risky choice (e.g., $10 for sure or a 50% chance of $20), people tend to be risk averse if the outcomes are gains and risk seeking if the outcomes are losses. This difference in risk preference for gains and losses has been shown repeatedly and is a cornerstone of prospect theory, a prominent economic theory of decision making under uncertainty. Studies of risky choice, however, typically present people with hypothetical scenarios that explicitly describe the outcomes and odds for each choice. If people are not told what will happen and instead learn about the outcomes and odds from their own choice experience, they develop the opposite preferences, with greater risk seeking for gains than for losses. One possible reason for this difference is that experience-based choices are biased by a stronger memory for the more extreme outcomes experienced. We provide evidence that people are more likely to remember stimuli associated with extreme values, and we test the hypothesis that changes in risk sensitivity with experience are due to a memory-induced overweighting of the locally extreme outcomes (largest gains and largest losses). In support of this hypothesis, we find that people show greater risk seeking for gains than for losses only when the experience-based choices involve locally extreme outcomes.
|Dr. Anthony Singhal, University of Alberta|
|Title: Neural correlates of attention-emotion interactions in adolescents with and without mental health concerns|
|Abstract: The majority of mental disorders have a childhood onset and tend to be among the most resistant to change. Moreover, mental health problems are the leading cause of morbidity, mortality, and disability in youth worldwide. Thus, it is important to understand the nature of the neural mechanisms that underlie mental dysfunction in youth. In this talk I will present data from a large scale study with combined neuroimaging methods (fMRI & ERP) to examine neural dysfunction in attention and emotion processes in a population of high-risk adolescents with varied mental health concerns. In this study we employed a modified version of the emotional-oddball task where clinical and healthy participants were presented with fearful and sad images interleaved with non-emotional targets. This task allowed for the analyses of neural activity in response to all stimulus types as well as interactions among them. Our main fMRI results showed differential activation in the emotion and attention circuits in the brain, including the amygdala, orbitofrontal and dorsolateral-prefrontal cortices, as well as parietal regions. Our main ERP results revealed differences in markers of attention (P100, P300) and attention-emotion interactions (late posterior positivity – LPP). I will discuss how these data provide a neural picture of cognitive and affective processing in adolescence along with markers of dysfunction, and some possible avenues for treatment.|
Royce ProgramClick here for a pdf of the Royce program.
Peter Dixon (Chair)
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Previous Royce Programs