2023 Colloquiums & Seminars

Posing While Black: The Impact of Race and Expansive Poses on Person Perception and Beyond

Dr. Francine Karmali, PHD | Psychology, University of Toronto

Wednesday, December 6th at 10:00 am

HYBRID: Halpern 126, Burnaby and Via Zoom

event details

About Dr. Karmali: Dr. Francine Karmali completed a doctorate at York University in Social and Personality Psychology. Dr. Karmali is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto, also working as a postdoctoral researcher with the SSHRC funded Engendering Success in STEM (ESS) research consortium. Dr. Karmali's research expertise is in Intergroup Cognition, which intersects two Social Psychology subfields: Social Cognition and Intergroup Relations.

Making up our minds, together: How people manifest ideas about each other in a dynamic social world.

Dr. Sally Xie, PHD | Psychology, Princeton University

Thursday, November 30th At 10:00 am

HYBRID: RCB 6152, Burnaby and VIA ZOOM

Event Details

About Dr. Xie: Dr. Sally Xie received a PhD from McGill University and currently works as a post-doctoral research fellow at Princeton University. Dr. Xie runs a program of research examining how diverse experiences shape the process of social perception. Dr. Xie focuses on how this process and its consequences vary across social and situational contexts, such as racial and gender stereotypes and transformative experiences.

Knowing how we are seen: Why does it matter?

Dr. Hasagani Tissera, PHD | Psychology, University of Toronto

Thursday, November 23rd at 9:30am

HYBRID: Room Halpern 126, Burnaby and VIA ZOOM

Event Details

About Dr. Tissera: Dr. Tissera received a Ph.D. from McGill University and is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. Dr. Tissera's research focuses on understanding people’s beliefs about how they come across to others, termed metaperceptions.

Culturally Responsive Forensic Mental Health Assessment: A Practical Approach




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Abstract: Existing models of forensic mental health assessment (FMHA) do not explicitly address the role of race or culture in data collection, interpretation, report writing, and testimony. This can create a barrier to gathering relevant information, maintaining objectivity, and reaching culturally informed opinions. Dr. Ratkalkar will present a culturally responsive approach to FMHA that systematically assesses the impact of race, culture, and intersectional identities. This approach expands the scope of 12 established foundational principles of FMHA (Heilbrun et al., 2009) to include racial and cultural identity, oppression, and privilege. Specifically, Dr. Ratkalkar will discuss how to:

-       Conduct evaluations within the expanded scope of established FMHA principles
-       Use existing tools (e.g., the Linear Sequential Unmasking – Expanded, or LSU-E, worksheet, the UnRESTS clinical     interview) in FMHA while the field of forensic psychology works toward developing specialized measures.
-       Acknowledge and avoid common pitfalls of cultural bias reduction efforts.
-       Highlight strategies to reduce bias and increase fluency in discussing race and culture in a Canadian and global context.

Examining Relationships Up Close: An In-depth Look at Couples' Everyday Stress Hormones and Health Habits



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Abstract: Social relationships are known to exert both positive and negative influences on health and well-being, with these effects becoming particularly pronounced in old age. This talk delves into a series of studies that explore various aspects of interpersonal dynamics among older couples. The first set of studies investigates older couples’ interconnectedness in their stress hormone levels (i.e., cortisol) in daily life. Specifically, using data from older couples in Vancouver, Canada, and Berlin, Germany, I examine associations between cortisol synchrony and social bonding (e.g., feeling understood, seeking closeness) in everyday life. Furthermore, I explore the consequences of cortisol synchrony on relationship satisfaction and cholesterol levels over a 3-year period. Shifting gears, a second set of studies investigates older couples’ interconnectedness in their health behaviours. First, I highlight the importance of social factors in physical activity by showing that being active with a partner is linked to higher levels of daily physical activity for individuals after stroke. Furthermore, I demonstrate that couples show hourly dyadic covariation in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behavior in their daily lives. However, I also show that shared health-compromising behaviors (e.g., smoking, being sedentary) can be associated with increased daily closeness and relationship satisfaction, emphasizing that problematic behaviors might be maintained by relationship functions. In summary, these studies shed light on the intricate interplay between stress physiology and health habits in the lives of aging couples.

About Dr. Theresa Pauly: Dr. Theresa Pauly, Assistant Professor, studies how psychosocial factors shape health and wellbeing across the adult lifespan. She completed her PhD in daily stress hormone secretion in older couples at the University of British Columbia, Canada, in 2020 and worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, from 2020 to 2022. Her work is interdisciplinary – in psychology, gerontology, physiology – and as such she has expertise in health and aging from a biopsychosocial perspective, including interconnections between biomarkers of health (e.g., cortisol levels), psychological aspects of well-being (e.g., affective states), and daily social contexts (e.g., solitude). As Canada Research Chair in Social Relationships, Health, and Aging, Dr. Pauly combines the analysis of longer-term health and wellbeing trajectories (based on longitudinal data collected over many years) with short-term self-report data (experiential results collected over a period of days/weeks) to identify: pivotal social resources that support older adults’ health; risk and protective factors to address the pervasive challenge of loneliness in old age; and social risks and resources for health in older adults who belong to equity-seeking groups.

Spirituality in Mental Health and Psychotherapy



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Abstract: Spirituality is highly common in the general population, and among those seeking mental health treatments. Further, spirituality can play both a positive and negative role in mental health. Yet, for a variety of historical reasons, the majority of clinicians receive scant training in this area and ignore this domain in the delivery of care. This presentation will review results from a collection of scientific studies conducted at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School with acute psychiatric patients, and provide direction to clinicians in how to address spirituality among diverse patients. Attendees will learn (1) about current science pertaining to spirituality and mental health, (2) about clinical research on integration of spirituality into psychotherapy, and (3) how to address spirituality in the provision of evidence-based mental health care.

Biosketch: David H. Rosmarin, PhD, ABPP, is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the McLean Hospital Spirituality & Mental Health Program. He innovates methods for integrating spirituality into evidence-based mental health treatments and he is a widely-cited researcher in this area who has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Rosmarin’s work has been featured in Scientific American, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, and he is the author of a trade non-fiction book Thriving with Anxiety: 9 Tools to Make Your Anxiety Work for You (Release date: October 17th, 2023, by HarperCollins). He can be reached via https://spirit.mclean.harvard.edu

EDI, Antiracist Practices and Principles 



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Abstract: Extensive evidence documents the impact of stress on craving and subsequent substance use. Racial stressors such as racial discrimination are associated with increased substance use among racially and ethnically minoritized people including Black adults. Given that Black adults tend to have poorer substance use disorder treatment retention, satisfaction, and in some cases outcomes, additional research is needed to identify how treatment might be adapted to improve outcomes. Understanding the mechanisms through which racial stress impacts substance use outcomes can inform future treatment adaptations. One important mechanism is craving. This presentation will focus on the impact of racial stress on craving among Black adults.

Biosketch: Dr. Angela Haeny is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and leads the Racial Equity and Addiction Lab (REAL) at Yale School of Medicine. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with specialty in substance use disorders. Dr. Haeny is committed to eliminating racial disparities and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, which cuts across all aspects of her work. Her research investigates effective alcohol and drug treatments among individuals underrepresented in substance use research with a focus on Black adults. Her research also involves identifying understudied risk factors for substance use and problems especially salient to Black people. Currently, Dr. Haeny’s research is considering how to target racial stress and trauma and other relevant constructs in drug and alcohol treatment to improve treatment outcomes, retention, and satisfaction among Black adults. This work is funded by a 5-year career development award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Research on Solitude



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Abstract: Never has it been more important to consider the causes and consequences of solitude for well-being and mental health. This presentation will describe a program of research that has explored the complex links between experiences of solitude and socio-emotional functioning in childhood and adolescence. This research includes an examination of: (1) both the costs and benefits of solitude; (2) different "reasons" why children and adolescents spend time in solitude; (3) the implications of spending too much versus not enough time alone; and (4) how these processes play out at different stages of development.  

Biosketch: Robert Coplan is a Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa. He also holds international cross-appointments in Faculty of Education at Shanghai Normal University in China and the Department of Special Needs Education at the University of Olso. His general research interests are in the areas of children’s socio-emotional functioning and developmental psychopathology. In particular, he has extensively examined the development of shyness, social withdrawal, and social anxiety in childhood and adolescence. Current research projects focus on the causes and consequences of solitude across development, the challenges faced by shy and anxious children at school, and the meaning and implications of social withdrawal across different cultures. His most recent books include the edited volume The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone (2ndEdition), the authored book Quiet at School: An Educator’s Guide to Shy Children, and the forthcoming popular press book All Alone: The Power and Paradox of Solitude (to be published next year by Simon & Shuster).

Dysfunctional expertise: The use of virtual reality to explore the behaviour, cognitions, and emotions of burglars and sex offenders

Professor Claire Nee & Dr Zarah Vernham | University of Portsmouth Department of Psychology: International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology

Thursday June 8th from 2:30PM in RCB 6152

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Abstract: In recent years, virtual reality has been used to deepen our understanding of expertise in offending behaviour while the crime is carried out in a virtual environment. The current presentation will begin by explaining the theory of [dysfunctional] expertise and how it can be applied to offending behaviours. To date, most of the work conducted using virtual environments has focused on property crime. The next part of the presentation will therefore provide an overview of how we have developed our understanding of burglars through the use of virtual environments. This research has shown that burglars have ‘expertise’ in and around the crime scene. Such expertise includes burglars approaching burglary tasks with ease, speed and consistency, and being less deterred by security measures, which differs from non-offenders, who are typically slow, haphazard and inconsistent in their property search, and are more deterred by security measures. Competencies developed as a result of repetition in offending behaviour are not restricted to property crime. Another example of a crime that has been linked to expertise is that of child sexual offending. The next part of the presentation will discuss our most recent experimental study (currently underway, in the data collection phase) that aims to obtain an insight into the offence-related decisions of child sexual offenders through combining virtual reality with eye-tracking data and spontaneous ‘think-aloud’ verbalisations. We will end the presentation by summarising the implications of this research and discussing the challenges we have faced with completing offender research in the U.K.

Executive Function Improvement Training (eFIT) for Older Adults: Impact of an At-Home Physical Activity Program

Dr. Mauricio Garcia-Barrera

Friday March 24th from 1:00PM - 2:30pm in RCB 6152

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Abstract: Research on physical activity has demonstrated it can serve as a protective factor against normative aging-related changes in cognition and mental health, and concern was raised during the recent COVID-19 pandemic about older adults’ reduced amount of physical activity engagement. In fact, there are reports that feelings of depression, social isolation, and stress have increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers and government officials recommend physical activity to minimize the negative psychological and physiological impacts of COVID-19. However, older adults have generally shown less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and positive behavioural adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting a need for physical activity programs and strategies targeted for older adults. Filling this gap, and in collaboration with the Tall Tree Integrated Health Clinic, our eFIT study developed and implemented a remote exercise training program for a group of healthy, insufficiently active community-dwelling adults ages 65 years and older who were recruited from communities across Canada. We are now examining the data looking at the impact of our fully remote, at-home, and self managed 8-week physical activity program. This presentation includes discussion of our earliest line of analyses, and some conclusions, learnings, and lessons, about the feasibility of these type of remote studies.

About Dr. Garcia-Barrera: Mauricio Garcia-Barrera, PhD (he/his) is a native of Medellin, Colombia. After completing his Bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Antioquia, he relocated to Georgia (US), where he obtained his Master’s and PhD at the University of Georgia. He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria (Canada), which he joined in 2008. At UVic, he created the Cortex Lab, a research lab specialized in the study of the neural and behavioural foundations of executive functioning. He serves as Associate Editor of the APA journal Psychological Assessment and served as the President of the Latin American Association of Neuropsychology between 2018 and 2021. His current research focuses on the study of both clinical events and environmental variables that may modify executive function across the lifespan, including physical activity and participation in sports, as well as sports-related concussions, among others. Dr. Garcia-Barrera is also a member of the Sports Neuropsychology Society, and has a research study investigating the effects of physical activity on cognitive performance and mood of older adults.

Optimizing Consultation for Treatment Fidelity and Client Outcomes

Dr. Shannon Dorsey

Friday FEBRUARY 3rd from 1:00PM - 2:30PM via Zoom

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Abstract: Successful implementation of EBPs requires effective implementation support at various levels (provider, organization, system). At the provider-level, important implementation strategies include effective training as well as supervision or consultation to support providers in using and tailoring the EBP for delivery to their clients. This talk will focus on the evidence-base for consultation and review some of the literature on measuring EBP fidelity, an important implementation outcome. 

About Dr. Dorsey: Shannon Dorsey, Ph.D., is Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington and Adjunct Professor in Global Health and Psychiatry. Her research focuses on treatment effectiveness and implementation science, specifically for children and adolescents receiving care in low and under-resourced contexts and settings. She has focused on how to address the mental health treatment gap by training and supporting lay counselors to deliver mental health care in regions and countries with few mental health professionals. She has also focused on supervision as an implementation strategy. All of her work includes strong partnerships and collaborations with communities and practice partners. She co-directs an NIMH-funded Center, IMPACT, focused on optimizing mental health care for children and adolescents in under-resourced settings. 

Psychological Wellness and Self-Care

Dr. Marielle Collins | Cleveland Clinic

Friday January 27th from 1:00PM - 2:30PM via Zoom

Event Details

Abstract: Psychologists and psychology trainees face unique demands in their clinical and professional work that create an increased risk for burnout. An ethical lens can be helpful for discussing issues related to burnout including problems that may arise due to burnout, and the ethical imperative of practicing self-care. This talk will cover the complexity of burnout diagnosis and early detection, and recommendations for graduate clinical training programs and practicing professionals for monitoring self and others for warning signs of burnout and implementing self-care.

References: Marielle H. Collins & Carolyn K. Cassill (2022) Psychological wellness and self-care: an ethical and professional imperative, Ethics & Behavior, 32:7, 634-646, DOI: 10.1080/10508422.2021.1971526 (Links to an external site). 

About Dr. Collins: Dr. Marielle Collins earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, where she also completed an APA accredited internship in health psychology. Dr. Collins completed her postdoctoral fellowship in health psychology at Cleveland Clinic and then joined the Cleveland Clinic staff as a health psychologist. She has worked to develop and build Cleveland Clinic’s consultation-liaison psychology service, and specializes in caring for patients within the hospital setting who are recovering from significant medical illness, and providing psychological services to patients at bedside, and expert consultation to interdisciplinary medical teams. Her research interests include developing mindfulness interventions that can be integrated into medical settings to address professional burnout, caregiver burden, pain, mood disorders, and psychological factors affecting medical conditions.   

Joint Area Talk on Sexual Wellbeing

Dr. Katrina Bouchard & Dr. Samantha Dawson | University of British Columbia

FRIDAY JANUARY 27TH FROM 2:30PM - 4:00PM in RCB 6152


Event details

Dr. Katrina Bouchard

Title: Couple-based approaches for treating women’s sexual difficulties

Abstract: Sexual health is a fundamental aspect of overall quality of life and having a satisfying sexual relationship promotes overall health. Unfortunately, sexual problems are common and tend to impact the wellbeing of both members of a couple. Despite this, researchers rarely look at sexual problems from couple perspective. In this talk, Dr. Bouchard will share emerging research on empirically supported couple-based psychological interventions for sexual dysfunctions, including genito-pelvic pain and distressing low sexual desire. She will discuss future directions for managing sexual difficulties in the context of gynaecological conditions highlighting the role of psychology in interdisciplinary research and care.

About Dr. Bouchard: Dr. Katrina Bouchard (she/her) is a Registered Psychologist and tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is the Research Director at the BC Centre for Vulvar Health and the Director of the Psychology, Health, and Sexuality (Phase) Lab at UBC (@thephaselab). The overarching goal of Dr. Bouchard’s research program is to enhance the assessment and treatment of sexual health concerns, with a focus on women and couples. Her research is currently supported by grants from Dalhousie University, the IWK Health Centre, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the University of British Columbia, and the Women’s Health Research Institute.

Dr. Samantha Dawson 

Title: Factors associated with sexual well-being and sexual pleasure among individuals and couples

Abstract: In this talk, Dr. Dawson will share recent multi-method research on sexual well-being—sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, sexual frequency—with a specific focus on factors that bolster sexual well-being for both individuals and couples. She will also discuss an often overlooked aspect of sexual well-being—sexual pleasure—and will discuss upcoming work that seeks to bridge this gap.

About Dr. Dawson: Dr. Samantha Dawson (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar, and the Director of the Sexuality and Well-being (SWell) Lab. Her multi-method research program focuses on identifying cognitive and affective mechanisms contributing to sexual function and sexual well-being in individuals and couples, with the goal of using these mechanisms to develop targeted and gender-specific interventions for sexual dysfunction. Her research program involves experimental laboratory-based research using various sexual psychophysiological measures, such as eye tracking, genital plethysmography, as well as more ecologically-valid daily experience and longitudinal methodologies. Her research is currently funded by operating grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Women’s Health Research Institute, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, as well as the University of British Columbia. You can follow her on Twitter @dawson_sj and @UBCSwell or read more about her and her incredible team.