Psychology Colloquium Speaker Series

The PLU Psychology colloquium series aims to provide PLU students, faculty and staff rich, meaningful exposure to the state of the art in research in psychology. Each year, 5-6 invited speakers from a range of backgrounds, subdisciplines, and career stages are invited to present their current research. Our colloquium series is unique both in terms of its size and its scope; in addition to faculty development, the series is used for partial satisfaction of Research Familiarization requirements in PSYC 101 and other undergraduate courses.

2023-24 Speakers

Unpacking the Role Visual Attention Plays in How we Learn from Gesture

Elizabeth Wakefield, Ph.D. Elizabeth Wakefield headshot
Associate Professor, Loyola University Chicago
March 1, 2024, 2-3pm, Xavier 201

Gestures are movements we make with our hands when we talk, that can express information to others. Decades of work has shown that gestures support our ability to communicate with others and learn new information. However, we are still working to understand why gestures support communication and learning. In this talk, I will address one potential mechanism for gesture’s effects: its ability to impact visual attention. Through three studies, I will demonstrate that gesture’s ability to guide visual attention plays a role in its support of learning, but that it is also important to consider individual differences such as age and language ability, when understanding the interplay between gesture, visual attention, and learning.

Why dwell on it? Understanding variability in fixation duration during visual search

Carly Leonard, Ph.D. Carly Leonard leaning against a brick wall.
Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Denver
February 23, 2024, 2-3pm, Xavier 201 & via Zoom

Eye movements called saccades are an important part of behavior that allow us to effectively process our visual world. Although they often seem to happen without much thought, there are many factors which can influence the nature of these simple decisions. Of particular interest here is that previous work from our lab and others has shown that saccade timing is highly variable both within and across individuals. The question remains as to why when presented with the same visual search display, there is so much variability in the amount of time a participant fixates before making a first saccadic decision. Here I will overview a number of studies using eye-tracking, individual difference measures, and event-related potentials that we have done to better understand the nature of this variability. Results are discussed in the terms of how attentional and inhibitory processes may underlie fixation duration differences.

The social self, the biological self: how biological phenotype and social behavior can inform one another.

Melvin Rouse, Ph.D. Dr. Melvin Rouse
Associate Professor, University of Puget Sound
November 3, 2023, 2-3pm, Xavier 201

Songbirds have been used as a model to study complex social behaviors and the biological underpinnings thereof for a long time. The social choices a bird makes are bounded by their social history, environmental context, biological phenotype, and so on. However, what is often under-appreciated in these data is the clear evidence that the direction of influence is multi-directional. Yes, biology can influence social decisions, but, social decisions can in turn influence biology. This fascinating truism of the data underscores the importance of nuance and inclusion in the translation and application of basic science.

Small children, big data: Using neuro- and data science to support early language acquisition

Christina Zhao, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor, Speech & Hearing Sciences
Director, Lab for Early Auditory Perception at Institute for Learning & Brain Science
University of Washington
October 13, 2023, 2-3pm, via Zoom

Infants undergo rapid speech learning during the first year of life. Particularly, the period between the age of 6 months to 12 months is an important transitional period for infants to learn their speech sounds. They are accelerating in becoming experts in their sound environment. But they are also starting to get worse in sounds that they are not exposed to. I will first introduce a fast-developing state-of-the-art technology called magnetoencephalography (MEG) that we use to measure infants’ neural activities in response to speech sound in real time and non-invasively. Using this technology, I will describe the critical neural mechanisms underlying this important transitional period for speech learning. Further, using machine-learning models, we were able to predict individual infants’ eventual language acquisition outcome when they were assessed at 6 years of age, by using their own neural activities at recorded 11 months of age. Critically, speech learning outcome during this important transitional period is highly malleable by auditory experience, such as the quality of speech input. More interestingly, our research has also demonstrated that even a music intervention during this period can have widespread effects in the infant brains for speech processing.

Page by Page: Exploring How Gender Representation in Children’s Books Affects Cognition

Jennifer LindsayJennifer Lindsay, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Pacific Lutheran University
October 6, 2023, 2-3pm, Xavier 201

The Rabbit Listened. A Sick Day for Amos McGee. Xander’s Panda Party. Tía Isa Wants a Car. Children are often exposed to picture books almost from birth. Representation of gender in children’s books is often stereotyped and underrepresents women and girls, as well as transgender and nonbinary characters. I want to know how children are affected by the representation of gender in children’s books. In this talk, I will present current work that I have done showing children’s picture books do not represent gender equitably and that gender-neutral characters are not perceived as neutral. I will also discuss next steps in examining the effects of reading a stereotype on cognitive performance.

Past Colloquium Speakers

DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
May 5, 2023Regan Gurung, Ph.D."According to the Evidence: What Psych Science suggests for Effective Teaching and Learning"Oregon State University
April 21, 2023Heidi McLaughlin, Ph.D.”I Can See the Germs!” Insights into Children’s Contamination Sensitivity and Biological KnowledgePacific Lutheran University
March 3, 2023Mark Leary, Ph.D. "We Can’t All Be Right: Psychological and Social Implications of Intellectual Humility"Duke University
November 18, 2022Laura Shneidman, Ph.D. "How important is child-directed input for supporting learning?"Pacific Lutheran University
November 4, 2022Joy Losee, Ph.D. ``Individual and Social Influences on Protective Decision-Making"University of Dayton
September 30, 2022Rachel Weissler, Ph.D."Can racial stereotypes explain emotion perception better than acoustic cues? Evidence from studies on language and cognition``University of Oregon
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
April 8, 2022Jaimie Krems, Ph.D.``Frontiers of friendships: Surprising findings on what we want in, how we compete for, and ways we keep our friends.``Oklahoma State University
February 25, 2022Cassandra Jacobs, Ph.D.``Language Shapes Memory: Insights from Behavioral and Computational Approaches``Department of Linguistics, University at Buffalo
November 5, 2021Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.``Applications of Nonverbal Communication in the Workplace (and Career Options)``Claremont McKenna College
September 24, 2021Eric Landrum, Ph.D.``All That (Undergraduate) Work Was for Something: Telling Your Story for the Psychology Workforce or Graduate School``Boise State University

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the 2020-21 Colloquium Speaker Series was canceled for the first time in 25 years.

DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
February 21, 2020Jonathan Adams, Ph.D."Individual and school-level predictors of perceived violence, victimization, and safety in middle and high schools"Department of Psychology, Pacific Lutheran University
November 13, 2019Joseph McFall, Ph.D. "Multilevel Modeling, a Basic Introduction using the EAMMi2 (Emerging Adulthood Measured at Multiple Institutions 2)"State University of New York, Fredonia
October 18, 2019Amanda Elbassiouny"What Are the Differences in the Impact of Religious and Moral Identity Priming on the Evaluation of Religious Ingroup and Outgroup Job Applicants?"California Lutheran University
October 4, 2019Munro Cullum, Ph.D."Concussion: Facts, Risks, and Long-Term Outcomes"University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
September 20, 2019Alex Czopp, Ph.D."From Humiliation to Humility: Responding to the Bias of Others"Western Washington University
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
May 3, 2019David C. Funder"Accuracy in Personality Judgment A (very) Long View"University of California, Riverside
April 5, 2019Rihana S. Mason, Ph.D."Exploring Vocabulary Assessment Issues in Young Children from Diverse Linguistic Backgrounds"Georgia State University
November 16, 2018Maria Guarneri-White, Ph.D."Are Your Friends Making You Sick? Co-rumination and Peer Victimization in Two Adolescent Samples"Psychology Department, Pacific Lutheran University
October 12, 2018Jennifer M. Roche, Ph.D."Affective Convergence of Intonational Punctuation During Text-Based and Computer-Mediated Communication"Kent State University
September 21, 2018Melanie Domenech Rodriguez, Ph.D."Advancing Social Justice in Our University Communities: Using the Tools of Psychology"Utah State University
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
April 6, 2018Alexandra Paxton, Ph.D."Data, Data, Everywhere: How A Computational Perspective Can Help Psychology Harness the Data Revolution"Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
March 2, 2018Charlotte Vaughn, Ph.D."The Perception of Linguistic Variation: Expectations & Social Meaning"Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
February 16, 2018Kate Sweeny, Ph.D."Secrets to Waiting Well"University of California
November 10, 2017Jenny Harris, Ph.D."Forensic Psychologist, Northwest University"Northwest University
October 27, 2017Marzena Cypryanska, Ph.D."Ubiquity of Comparisons: Everything is Relative (Perhaps/Probably)SWPS University of Social Science and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
October 6, 2017Katie Corker, Ph.D."College Student Personality Traits and Motivation: Levels, Stability, and Change"Kenyon College
September 22, 2017Laura P. Naumann, Ph.D."The Expression and Perception of Personality in Everyday Life"Nevada State College
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
May 5, 2017Christine L. Hansvick, Ph.D."Changing Realities: A Social Psychologist's Perspective"Department of Psychology, Pacific Lutheran University
April 21, 2017Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D."Personality is for Perceiving: Functions of Personality Impressions in Social Life"Department of Psychology, University of Oregon
March 10, 2017Jennifer L. Howell, Ph.D."Avoiding Information: Prevalence, Causes, and Remedies"Department of Psychology, University of Ohio
November 11, 2016Daniel P. Corts, Ph.D."Forgetting on Demand"Augustana College
October 7, 2016John Alderete, Ph.D."Investigating Perceptual Biases, Data Reliability, and Data Discovery in a Methodology for Collecting Speech Errors From Audio Recordings"Simon Fraser University
September 16, 2016Sunila Nair, Ph.D."DREADD'ed addiction: Investigating the role of the lateral habenula and its neuronal circuitry in cocaine addiction"Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
May 6, 2016John Moritsugu, Ph.D."Curiouser and Curiouser"Department of Psychology, Pacific Lutheran University
March 18, 2016Lynette H. Bikos, Ph.D."Re-entry from Abroad: Plotting the Pathway Home"Department of Clinical Psychology, Seattle Pacific University
March 10, 2016Jennifer Howell, Ph.D."Avoiding Information Prevalence, Causes, and Remedies"Ohio University
December 4, 2015Azim Shariff, Ph.D."Religion: How Social Psychology Can Help Us Answer the Big Questions"Department of Psychology, University of Oregon
November 6, 2015Sherry L. Willis, Ph.D."Cognition and Aging: The Good, Not so Good, and Potential Plasticity"Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington
September 11, 2015Melissa Baese-Berk, Ph.D."Factors Influencing Perception of Non-Native Speech"Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
April 24, 2015Christine Moon, Ph.D."What does the very young brain need for favorable psychological development?"Pacific Lutheran University
April 10, 2015Corey Cook, Ph.D."Are you Threatening me? How perceived threats influence stereotyping and prejudice"University of Washington, Tacoma
February 13, 2015Mark Costanzo, Ph.D."The Psychology of Police Interrogations and False Confessions"Center for Applied Psychological Research at Claremont McKenna College
November 14, 2014Anthony G. Greenwald, Ph.D."Societal Impact of Scientific Research Using the Implicit Association Test"University of Washington
October 31, 2014Kalim Gonzales, Ph.D."How the Rich Multidimensional Environment Assists Early Bilingual Learners"Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China
October 17, 2014Izabela K. Grey, Ph.D."Preschoolers' Play Narratives and Childhood Adaptation in an Ethno-racially Diverse Sample"Pacific Lutheran University
September 26, 2014Philip Watkins, Ph.D."The How of Gratitude and Happiness: Exploring How Gratitude Enhances Subjective Well-Being"Eastern Washington University
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
May 9, 2014Scott Bates, Ph.D."The Opportunistic Generalist: Bunnies, Dropouts, Space Plants, and College Students"Utah State University
April 11, 2014Ethan McMahan Ph.D."Lay Beliefs and the Experience of Well-Being"Western Oregon University
March 14, 2014Carolyn Weisz, Ph.D."Anticipating Stigma: The Double Burden of Homelessness and Race"University of Puget Sound
November 8, 2013Heidi Beebe, Ph.D."Health related knowledge in rural Maasai village: What is learned, who is sharing it?"Pacific Lutheran University
October 4, 2013Courtney Stevens, Ph.D."Eavesdropping on the brain: Vulnerability and plasticity of selective attention to children at risk for school failure"Willamette University
September 13, 2013Michael Zarate, Ph.D."Cultural Inertia and Immigration - or When Theory Goes Applied"The University of Texas at El Paso
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
May 3, 2013Laura Kemmer, Ph.D."Behavioral Investigations of Right Hemisphere Contributions to Syntactic Processing"Pacific Lutheran University
March 15, 2013Russel Kolts, Ph.D."A Brief Introduction to Compassion-Focused Therapy"Eastern Washington University
February 21, 2013Andrea Karkowski, Ph.D. and Erin McKenna, Ph.D."Speciesism: Philosophy/Psychology Dialog"Department of Psychology, Capital University and Department of Philosophy, Pacific Lutheran University
November 9, 2012K. Warner Schaie, Ph.D., ABEPP'The Seattle Longitudinal Study"Pennsylvania State University and University of Washington
October 12, 2012Kathryn C. Oleson, Ph.D."Self-Doubt"Department of Psychology, Reed College
September 14, 2012Alice Eagly, Ph.D."Women as Leaders: Negotiating the Labyrinth"Northwestern University, Evanston
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
April 13, 2012Sarah Roseerry, Ph.D. "Social Cues 'Mediate Media' for Language Learning"Center for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington
March 16, 2012Julie T. Kinn, Ph.D. and Kelly Blasko, Ph.D. "Technology in Care for Posttraumatic Stress: Mobile Applications, Websites, and Virtual Reality" National Center for Telehealth & Technology, Joint Base Lewis McChord
March 2, 2012Time Beyer Ph.D."Young Children's Interpretation of Standard American English Morphology Across Varieties of English"Department of Psychology, University of Puget Sound
November 11, 2011Amani El-Alavli, Ph.D."Dr. and Mrs. Professor: Why do Students Use Less Formal Terms of Address for Female Versus Male Professors?"Eastern Washington University
October 7, 2011Jillian McLellan, Ph.D."Choosing a Career Path: Spotlight on Industrial/Organizational Psychology"Seattle Pacific University
September 16, 2011Travis L. Osborne, Ph.D."Making Sense of Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring"Evidence Based Treatment Centers of Seattle
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
April 29, 2011Karen Povey"Cooperative Care: Application of Operant Conditioning in a Zoo Setting"Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
March 25, 2011Jungsik Kim, Ph.D."Culture's Influences on Self-Evaluation and Presentation"Kwangwoon University, Korea
February 25, 2011Dianne Learned, Ph.D."Imagination and False Memories for Childhood Events"Experimental Psychologist
November 19, 2010Key Sun, Ph.D."Working with offenders with mental disorders and other correctional clients"Law and Justice Center, at Central Washington University, Pierce
October 8, 2010Ryne Sherman, Ph.D."A Psychological Assessment of Situations"Department of Psychology, University of California
September 17, 2010Agnes Kwong, Ph.D."Walking the Bicultural Tightrope"Counseling Center, University of Washington
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
May 14, 2010James Shepperd, Ph.D."Information Avoidance: Exploring Who, What, When and Why"University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
April 30, 2010Mike Hawrylycz, Ph.D."The Allen Brain Atlas: Gene Expression and Neuroanatomy in the Brain"Allen Institute for Brain Science
February 12, 2010Marieka Miller, Psy.D."Can Marital Satisfaction of Parents Raising Children with Autism be Predicted by Child and Parental Stress?"Private Practice, Issaquah, WA
November 13, 2009Jon Hammermeister, Ph.D."Sports Psychology at the Winter Olympics"Army Center for Enhanced Performance
October 16, 2009Rich Furman, Ph.D."Toward a Transnational Human Services"University of Washington, Tacoma, WA
September 25, 2009Mark Russell, Ph.D."The Origins of the Military Mental Health Crisis"Antioch University, Seattle, WA
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
April 3, 2009Garrett Gilchrist, Ph.D."Body image and muscularity in male bodybuilders and exercisers"PLU Counseling Center
March 13, 2009Alvah Bittner, Ph.D."Adventure in Statistical Power Analysis"Bittner and Associates
March 6, 2009Rich Furman, MSW, Ph.D."Transnational social work: Practice in the new global context"Social Work Program, University of Washington, Tacoma
February 20, 2009Christine Moon, Ph.D."Newborn infants and vowel movements: Learning language in the womb"Pacific Lutheran University
November 21, 2008Leigh McGraw, RN, NP-C, Ph.D., LTC, AN"Psychological Stress and Cardiovascular Disease"Nursing Research Service, Madigan Army Medical Center
October 17, 2008David Ward, Ph.D."Making Hope Happen: A Theory of Hope and Its Application to Relationships"Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Pacific Lutheran University
September 19, 2008Michael Brown, Ph.D."Burden, Bonding, and Youth: Suicide in Evolutionary Perspective"abc
DateSpeaker NameTitleAffiliation
April 18, 2008Lisa Thomas, Robin LW Sigo, Gidget Lincoln"Re-Indigenizing Our Science: Ethical and Respectful Research Partnerships with Tribal Communities"University of Washington & Suquamish Wellness Program
March 14, 2008Kevin King, Ph.D."Alcohol Dependence in the Absence of Drug Dependence" An Issue of Severity of Disorder or a Case of Unique Etiology"Child Clinical Program, University of Washington
February 22, 2008Christina Graham, Ph.D."The Practice of Health Psychology in a Regional Trauma Center"Pacific Lutheran University
November 20, 2007Christine Hansvick, Ph.D."Fostering Cognitive Complexity: Study Abroad within the Liberal Arts Context"Pacific Lutheran University
October 12, 2007Patricia L. Linn, Ph.D."Learning That Lasts a Lifetime: A Mixed-Method Study of Learning in Cooperative Education"Antioch University, Seattle
September 14, 2007Sara Hodges, Ph.D."The Me in Understanding You: Self-ish Empathy"University of Oregon