The psychology congress is happening from the Jan. 30th – Feb. 3rd 2023 in Zurich, Switzerland. Most speakers will attend the Congress live, while few have to join over Zoom. Join us for a week filled with talks about fascinating fields of academical psychology, social events and life in the beautiful city of Zurich.
*Talks marked with an asterisk will be held over Zoom. For people attending live, we will stream the talk live in a lecture hall of the University of Zurich.
Much of our daily life is dedicated to verbal and nonverbal interaction with others. Adequate communication skills allow a better prediction of others’ behaviour and as a result a smooth and continuous interaction. In the present talk, I will present recent evidence from our research concerning whether and how social cognitive skills are influenced by the language status of children, that is between children growing up either in a monolingual or a multilingual environment. I will present evidence and discuss a theoretical framework about how potential differences depend on language combinations, cultural influences, and the particular experiences children make in their everyday interactions.
Virtual reality refers to the presentation of computer-generated virtual environments by visualizing three-dimensional data via immersive (headsets) or non-immersive (computer screens) means. Virtual reality has been advanced in terms of technological innovations (e.g., extended field of view, increased frame rates, wireless systems, to mention just a few). It can simulate scenarios and experiences of the real world, as well as micro- and macroscopic phenomena otherwise not accessible. Furthermore, immersive virtual reality allows adults and children to engage in a naturalistic manner with the virtual environment, which can provide access to (un)observable phenomena as well as opportunities to gain sensory experiences with these phenomena. In this talk we will rely on investigations of visual memory and on the development and assessment of an educational tool to teach the water cycle in primary school to emphasize the beneficial use of immersive virtual reality as a research method as well as in educational settings. We will also discuss the need for more research to fully understand for example the differences between immersive virtual reality, non-immersive virtual reality, and real-world settings.
University professors are typically rewarded for publications in the form of books and articles, as well as grant applications that support their research work. However, increasingly, academics are being asked to contribute to broader impact in the community. What counts as social impact, how is it important, and what are the different forms that impact might take? This talk will address these issues, as well as new challenges of measurement that arise when considering impact. Despite these challenges, a focus on social impact presents exciting new avenues for all psychology students to consider. Ultimately, research and impact can reinforce and build upon one another in the course of a career in psychology. I will illustrate some ways in which my work has been enriched by research-impact partnerships and initiatives. These include training of young children in preschool cognitive skills via parental participation, games to promote learning, and a massive open online course (MOOC) for which approximately 10,000 people from 100 countries signed up, on the topic of early literacy learning. Social impact is an increasingly important element of university missions.
It is generally accepted that brainstem arousal is prerequisite for any form of consciousness. The critical brainstem structures in this respect are the extended reticulothalamic activating system (ERTAS) and the periaqueductal grey (PAG). This being so, the question arises: why is the cortex, rather than the brainstem, considered to be the anatomical seat of consciousness? The answer is that the brainstem is thought to generate the level of consciousness only, not its contents. On this view, the brainstem contributes only a quantitative dimension of consciousness (i.e., blank ‘wakefulness’); it does not contribute to the qualities of consciousness (i.e., it does not contribute to what philosophers call ‘qualia’). In this talk, I will review a range of evidence derived from a variety of neuroscientific methods which sharply contradicts this widely held view. On the basis of this evidence, I will argue that the brainstem is not only necessary but also sufficient to produce phenomenal consciousness and therefore that it, rather than the cortex, is the anatomical seat of consciousness. Cortical consciousness, I will argue, is a secondary, derivative form of consciousness. Our failure to recognise this fact, I will argue further, has led us to fundamentally misunderstand the nature and function of consciousness.
Clinical cultural psychology is a new psychological subdiscipline that focuses on the influence of culture or society on mental health or suffering – and vice versa. Its main research question is: In what ways are mental health and mental suffering universal and in what ways are they culturally shaped? Methodologically, several things are important: first, that research is not conducted only on WEIRD samples (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic). Second: it is important that there is an equal relationship between emic (from inside one culture) and etic (from the perspective of an observer) approaches.For traumatic stress research, recently cultural scripts of trauma sequelae got attention. This derived from the findings that a number of cultural concepts of traumatic stress and metaphoric expressions exist to describe the posttraumatic experience and these are different depending on culture. To investigate cultural scripts of trauma consequences, we record aspects such as what matters to the concerned person, family or group, what is attributed to the trauma, what is problematic, what elicits social support? The presented multisite project (Switzerland, Rwanda, Georgia, Israel, China) is still ongoing. Initial findings are presented, which originate from focus groups and regional surveys. They expand and pluralize the concepts of PTSD (and complex PTSD) so that trauma survivors can more easily recognize themselves with their problems and so that more targeted, culturally appropriate interventions can be developed.
My talk will be focused on the question why some people have better memory than others. Thereby, I will draw a link between visual perceptual ability and memory performance. Most of the empirical evidence that I will be presenting is rooted in research on memory and visual perceptual ability in grapheme-colour synaesthesia (i.e., colour experiences in response to graphemes), some of my more recent research on visual perceptual expertise (i.e., colour experts) and memory strategies for processing highly abstract shapes (i.e., images of fractals). The resulting picture supports the notion of the enhanced processing account – namely, that enhanced processing in the ventral visual pathway of the human brain is linked with better memory for stimuli biasing processing towards the ventral visual pathway, but not for stimuli biasing processing towards the dorsal visual pathway.
There has been a proliferation of technological developments in the last few years that are beginning to improve how we perceive, attend to, notice, analyse and remember events, people, data and other information. These include machine learning, advanced user interfaces (e.g. augmented reality) and sensor technologies. A goal of being augmented with ever more computational capabilities is to enable us to see more and, in doing so, make more intelligent decisions. But to what extent are the new interfaces enabling us to become more super-human? What is gained and lost through our reliance on ever pervasive computational technology? To address this concern I will draw upon relevant recent findings in the HCI and cognitive science literatures that demonstrate how our human capabilities are being extended but also struggling to adapt to the new demands on our attention.
Attention is the ability to devote our neuro-cognitive resources to information that we deem relevant to our current tasks and interests, while ignoring irrelevant distractions. Focused attention is essential to all information processing, from perception and awareness to comprehension, learning and memory. However, achieving a selective focus of attention can be somewhat elusive. At times we find ourselves highly distracted by things we know we should ignore. At other times we are so focused we may fail to notice obvious sights such as a friend walking towards us, and may not even hear a person talking to us: we experience “inattentional blindness and deafness”. In her lecture Prof Lavie will describe research that explains the causes of these paradoxical experiences, as well as what makes some individuals more prone to them than others. The combination of psychological and neuroimaging methods allows us to provide a comprehensive theory that explains the psychology of attention in relation to its underlying neural mechanisms. Finally, applications of the research to ADHD reveal the pervasiveness of this condition in varying levels across the whole population. This research also delineates new task-based diagnostic tools and potential non-pharmaceutical remedies.
Differences between people who eat animals and people who do not has received significant research attention. However, people have different reasons to either be vegetarian or to eat animals. I will describe our teams work generating models of individual differences in motives to be vegetarian and motives to eat animals, and highlight three general findings: (1) these motives are not simply the opposite of one another, (2) these motives function similarly in people who do and do not eat animals, and (3) different dietary motives are associated with unique profiles of personality, attitudes, and behavior. Implications for promoting plant-based diets are discussed.
Disordered eating behavior, such as eating without hunger, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder (BED), often begins in adolescence but is sometimes not recognized and treated until adulthood.
The current results of etiological studies and treatment research argue for a treatment that - in addition to disorder-specific - considers the transdiagnostic features of psychological impairment. In this context, the ability to tolerate or cope with intense emotions, to control actions according to environmental demands and one's own needs play an essential role. If these competencies are impaired, being exposed to stressors and, especially in youth, being exposed to body and appearance related feedback leads to an increased experience of stress and supports the development of mental/eating disorders.
Current treatment approaches take these considerations into account to improve the effects of interventions and should use emerging technologies to ensure access to treatment for a large group of affected young individuals.
Personality traits are powerful predictors of outcomes in the domains of education, work, relationships, health, and well-being. Traditionally, the use of personality traits in applied settings has been predicated on their ability to predict valued outcomes, typically under the assumption that traits are functionally unchanging. This assumption, however, is both untrue and a limiting factor on using personality traits more widely in applied settings. In this talk, I will review existing evidence for personality change across the lifespan and discuss the role of life events as potential drivers of changes in personality traits. Based on this research, I will derive emerging principles and discuss new directions and strategies for overcoming some of the challenges associated with research on personality change.
This presentation offers a unique and powerful bottom-up methodology for social innovation promoting and securing Sustainable development goals (SDG’s) through innovative and creative decision-making and enactment a wide variety of social innovation contexts founded on a bottom-up approach. It identifies four sustainable development enabling factors, namely: 1 the presence of a trustworthy trading system for both private and public goods; 2 the need for communication facilities for provenance exploration, authentication and demonstration; 3 the ability to build and support entrepreneurial innovation clusters bottom-up; and 4 the ability to establish “Caravanserai” and promote transaction-based sustainable tourism within the local community. These four factors, when implemented together, can enable a strong contribution to social innovation enabling sustainable sustainability in all its forms.
This presentation is based on Humphreys, P. and Luk, A. (2022) Innovative, Creative and Sustainable Decision Making In Changing Contexts. Boston And Delft: Now Publishers.
It is freely available to participants in the IPSI Winter Congress at http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/2900000024. Click on the green button that says “Download Free Copy”, register and login, and you will be able to download the article PDF. Free downloads are available from 27 January to 3 February.
Social cognition—the way we understand people in everyday life—is central to psychology. I will describe the roots of social cognition in infancy and trace how it changes during later phases of development. Infants use social cognition to acquire cultural practices and behavioural skills from the adults they interact with. In preschool and elementary-school children, social cognition is used in more abstract ways to extract prevailing beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values from the culture. For example, children begin to assimilate the stereotypes of their culture, and this influences children’s identity development. In adulthood, social cognition undergirds moral decision making towards others. By considering an array of specific psychological topics across the lifespan (e.g., infant imitation, toddler prosocial behaviour, school-age children’s academic gender stereotypes, adult health behaviours during the pandemic), I will advance the idea that the link between self and other is a key concept that unifies a range of phenomena in social cognition. I will discuss and amplify the ‘Like-Me’ developmental theory (Meltzoff, 2007, 2013), which has neurobiological roots, behavioural correlates, and implications for human social learning.
We all have been there: A coworker makes an inappropriate comment during a coffee break, a colleague interrupts a presentation, a supervisor reads emails during a meeting instead of listening attentively. Such incivilities are a part of everyday life for many workers. Although these events are often considered minor and harmless, research shows that they may have detrimental consequences. In my presentation, I will elaborate on the definition and measurement of workplace incivility and its impact on employees' well-being and behavior, both at work and at home. By presenting a set of ambulatory, longitudinal, and multisource studies, I will discuss the role of situational and individual characteristics as antecedents of instigated incivility, how these factors affect employees' reaction to their experience of incivility, and the interplay between incivility and workers' impaired well-being.
Language is more than a capacity used for interpersonal communication. Linguistic representations can also form a part of reasoning in other cognitive domains. However, it is unclear whether the role of language in non-verbal domains is a necessary or mandatory one, or whether it represents an optional resource that is recruited by neurotypical people in the face of challenging or highly intentional processing demands. One method to explore language reuse in domains such as calculation, mental state reasoning or event perception is to examine the abilities of people with severe aphasia. In a series of studies, we have shown residual capacity in such domains despite profound aphasia. In this talk, I will outline these findings and show how they inform questions regarding neural reuse/shared resource, as opposed to specialized neurocognitive mechanisms dedicated to specific functions.
Classification and regression trees (also termed decision trees), model-based trees, bagging and random forests are powerful statistical methods from the field of machine learning. They have been shown to achieve a high prediction accuracy, especially in big data applications with many predictor variables and complex association patterns with nonlinear and interaction effects. However, while individual trees are easy to interpret, random forests are "black box" methods and their interpretation can be misleading. The aim of this presentation is to introduce the rationale behind tree-based methods, to illustrate their potential for exploratory analyses in psychological research, but also to point out limitations and potential pitfalls in their practical application, as well as fairness issues in machine learning in general.
All living things must move and act in space in order to survive. The basic act in space is to approach or avoid, an act replete with emotion. Spatial thinking, interacting in space and with the things in space, is the foundation of all thought, not the entire edifice but the foundation. Evidence for this audacious claim comes from brain, from language, from gesture, and from graphics. Because gesture and graphics use space and marks in space to represent concrete and abstract thought, they are a more direct mode of thought and communication of thought, concrete and abstract. I will end by bringing together space, action, and abstraction.
We are living in an information-overloaded society. There are tons of academic papers published every year; we must summarize and integrate these findings before making sense of them. Meta-analysis is the de facto standard in many fields, including psychology, education, management, and medicine, to integrate research findings. Many believe that meta-analysis can only synthesize simple effect sizes, such as standardized mean difference and correlation coefficient. This presentation gives an overview of how we can integrate effect sizes from simple to complex models, such as multivariate and multilevel effect sizes and structural equation models.
Human memory is a polygenic behavioral trait with substantial heritability estimates. Despite its complexity, recent empirical evidence supports the notion that behavioral genetic and epigenetic studies of specific memory subtypes might successfully identify trait-associated molecules and pathways. The development of high-throughput genotyping methods, of elaborated statistical analyses and of phenotypic assessment methods at the neural systems level has already facilitated the reliable identification of novel memory-related genes. Importantly, a necessary crosstalk between behavioral genetic and epigenetic studies and investigation of causality by molecular genetic studies will ultimately pave the way towards the identification of biologically important, and hopefully druggable, genes and molecular pathways related to human memory and memory-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Human intracranial electrophysiological signals can be obtained from epilepsy patients implanted with recording electrodes for clinical purposes. In this talk, I will briefly introduce this method and present results of two studies in which we used this method to answer questions of basic cognitive neuroscience. In the first study, we investigated the neuronal code for sensory experience in the human medial temporal lobe. To this aim, we take a closer look at tuning properties of so-called concept cells. These neurons thus encode the semantic content of a stimulus, regardless of the sensory modality through which it is delivered. We conducted representational similarity analyses and pattern classification analyses of firing patterns evoked by visual stimuli (e.g., a picture of an apple) that could be grouped into semantic categories on multiple levels of abstraction (‘fruit, ‘food’, ‘natural things’). We found that single-neuron activation patterns contain information on higher levels of categorical abstraction, rather than just the level of individual exemplars as previously thought. In a second study, we assessed potential single neuron mechanisms underlying the reduction of neural activity on repeated or similar stimuli, i.e., “repetition suppression” (RS) that can be observed with coarse measures of neural activity such as intracranial EEG of fMRI. RS is observed on human intracranial EEG potentials in all regions in the medial temporal lobes we recorded from. Response profiles of individual neurons are best described with sharpening in the amygdala, and fatiguing in hippocampus, entorhinal and parahippocampal cortices. Together, these studies demonstrate that intracranial recordings enable us to test predictions of neurocomputational models cognition on the level of single neurons.
Research on episodic memory has mainly focused on remembering past experiences, but a growing number of studies have provided evidence for its role in a broader range of cognitive functions. According to the constructive episodic simulation hypothesis, episodic retrieval processes allow individuals to draw on the past in a manner that flexibly extracts and recombines elements of previous experiences. Such flexibility is adaptive for simulating hypothetical events based on past experiences, but it may also render the system prone to memory errors. This talk will discuss cognitive and neuroimaging studies that have examined contributions of episodic retrieval to imagining future experiences and divergent creative thinking, and will also consider evidence that these adaptive processes are related to specific kinds of memory errors.
© 2022 First Winter Congress of the International Students Initiative