News

A day of family fun and education under the blue whale skeleton

On Saturday, May 14, everyone is invited to an open house event that will take place under and around the blue whale skeleton that hangs in Memorial's new Core Science Facility.

Come learn the story of the whale skeleton and take part in interactive learning opportunities, and have lots of fun along the way.

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Faculty of Science holds interdisciplinary research conference

The Faculty of Science held its first interdisciplinary research conference April 8-9.

Scientific Endeavours in Academia (SEA) brought together undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty from across the faculty’s nine departments and five interdisciplinary graduate programs.

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Psychology hosts annual day to recognize student achievement

The Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Science celebrated its 12th annual Research Day recently and recognized both student research and staff teaching.

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Psychology Department Colloquium - Jared Trask

For this week's Colloquium, on March 25th, we will be joined by Jared Trask. Please see the talk title and summary below:

Title: Investigating Backwards Conditioning for Covert Memory Capture in Female C57BL/6 Mice: Preliminary Findings

Summary: Prolonged exposure therapy is one of the primary treatment methods for PTSD and other fear-related disorders, however, existing therapies require the patient to re-submit themselves to traumatic memories/cues. Thus, the question becomes can we cause a fear memory to become unstable through indirect re-exposure so we may selectively target and eliminate it? In forward fear conditioning (Classical Pavlovian Conditioning), animals associate the cue (Conditioned Stimulus; CS) with the shock (Unconditioned Stimulus; US), rather than the context because the cue is a better predictor. On the other hand, in backward conditioning, the cue is presented after the shock delivery and subsequent presentation of the cue indirectly reactivates the context's memory and therefore, the context–shock association. My current research further investigates "covert" memory erasure, using backward conditioning and hypothesizes that a backward CS reactivates a contextual fear engram in the hippocampus in the absence of re-exposure to the conditioning context allowing for manipulation of an indirectly retrieved contextual fear memory. This talk will discuss my experimental findings to date along with a brief overview of the final experiment(s) to investigate whether a single injection of rapamycin is sufficient to extinguish an indirectly retrieved contextual fear memory (induced via backward conditioning) and block freezing behaviour when the subject is re-exposed to the initial conditioning context.

Reminder: Colloquium takes place at 3 pm in A1046

 

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Psychology Department Colloquium - Gillian Foley

For this week's Colloquium, on March 11th, we will be joined by Gillian Foley. Please see the talk title and summary below:

Title: Correctional Officers’ Experiences with Transgender Prisoners in Canadian Federal Prisons

Summary: Since December of 2017, Canada’s federal correctional system allows prisoners to be assigned to prisons according to their gender. This presentation discusses how correctional officers’ experiences working with transgender prisoners affect their views of safety and discretion. As prison is a gender binary space, policies and procedures surrounding transgender prisoners remain difficult to navigate. Although most correctional officers appear to be supportive of transgender placement policies, the addition of new policies places further stressors on an already stressful occupation. This presentation will explore the main themes discussed during interviews with 77 correctional officers and the implications of these findings.

Reminder: Colloquium takes place at 3 pm in A1046

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Psychology Department Colloquium - Samantha Scurrey

For this week's Colloquium, on February 18th, we will be joined by Samantha Scurrey. Please see the talk title and summary below:

Title: Internalized Weight-bias and Psychological Correlates, and the Role of Social Support Among Individuals Seeking Bariatric Surgery

Summary: Mental illnesses are heightened among individuals seeking and undergoing bariatric surgery when compared with the general population. An important factor to consider when examining the increased rates of mental illnesses among individuals seeking bariatric surgery that has been largely neglected until recently is internalized weight bias (IWB). IWB has been found to be positively associated with psychological disorders and factors, and negatively associated with self-esteem and quality of life. However, one limitation of the current research is the limited consideration paid to socially desirable responding which has been found to be heightened in this population. Further, it is paramount to investigate factors that may be protective against IWB and related consequences. One potential protective factor of IWB is social support, which has not yet been explored. The current study aims to 1) examine the association between IWB and symptoms of depression, anxiety, binge eating, self-esteem and quality of life and 2) investigate the potential moderating role of social support between IWB and significant mental health and quality of life outcomes.

Reminder: Colloquium this week will also be virtual as the presenter is out-of-province. Meeting details are below:

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Psychology Department Colloquium - Keltie Pratt

For this week's Colloquium, on February 11th, we will be joined by Keltie Pratt. Please see the talk title and summary below:

Title: Associations between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Insomnia Symptoms on Suicide Risk in Canadian Adults

Summary: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur before the age of 18. ACEs are highly prevalent and exposure to these experiences can negatively impact an individual’s overall health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Potential consequences of these experiences include experiencing insomnia and insomnia symptoms and an increased risk for suicide and related behaviours. Research has also demonstrated the connection between poor sleep and risk for suicide. Despite these associations being well established, much less is understood about the relationship between these three variables. The purpose of the current study is to determine whether the relationship between insomnia symptoms and suicide risk is moderated by the experience of childhood adversities within a community sample of Canadian adults.

Reminder: Colloquium this week will be virtual, meeting details below:

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Psychology Department Colloquium - David Storey

For this week's Colloquium, on January 28th, we will be joined by David Storey. Please see the talk title and summary below:

Title: Gender Differences in Attachment in Youth Involved with the Street: An Exploratory Study

Summary: Youth involved in the street (YIS) have been shown to suffer from higher rates of attachment insecurity, childhood maltreatment, and psychopathology than their non-street involved peers, yet little is known about how male and female YIS differ in their expression of attachment. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between gender, attachment orientation, childhood maltreatment, and psychopathology in a sample of YIS to generate hypotheses for future research and inform targeted therapeutic interventions in this underserved population. The study combined data from two previously collected samples of youth (108 total: 67 males, 41 females), aged 15 to 24, recruited from a community non-profit organization in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, who were administered validated self-report measures of attachment orientation, childhood maltreatment, and psychopathology. Statistical analyses included robust one-way multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA), robust independent samples t tests, and robust multiple regressions using a running-interval smooth. The analysis revealed that female YIS report significantly higher rates of attachment anxiety and childhood maltreatment, but comparable rates of attachment avoidance and psychopathology relative to male YIS. Rates of attachment anxiety strongly predict rates of attachment avoidance in female but not male YIS; further, this is expressed in a strongly curvilinear fashion. Implications of these findings are discussed relative to gender-based theories of attachment and the provision of targeted mental health interventions in YIS.  

Reminder: Colloquium will be virtual this week, meeting details below:

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Information for Students Interested in Applying for a Major in Psychology/Behavioural Neuroscience

For students who are interested in applying to the BA/BSc Major in Psychology or BSc Major in Behavioral Neuroscience, please note that a new application form is currently being developed. You will need to complete this new form in order to be admitted into these major programs for Fall 2022. The new form will be available later this semester, probably by early March, and will be posted on the psychology department webpage. The deadline for application is June 1st, 2022. If you have any questions, you can contact me, Dr. Anju Anand, the Academic Program Officer for Psychology at psychundergradadvisor@mun.ca or psyugradadvice@mun.ca

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Psychology Department Colloquium - Nicole Eddy

For this week's Colloquium, on January 21st, we will be joined by Nicole Eddy. Please see the talk title and summary below:

Title: The Impact of Executive Dysfunction on the Mathematics Achievement of Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Summary: Executive Function (EF) involves the neurological processes behind how we organize environmental information, plan, and direct behaviour. EF components have been found to be related to mathematical performance. Individuals on the autism spectrum often experience challenges with their executive functioning- what is referred to as “executive dysfunction”. Additionally, autistic individuals display a widespread pattern of mathematic achievement, with both below and above IQ-expected performance, and are significantly more like to be diagnosed with a math-based learning disability than the general population. Considering the relationship between EF and math performance, the present study intends to explore this relationship in an autistic youth sample.

Reminder: This Colloquium is virtual, meeting details below

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Call for Nominations for Two Additional Convocation Awards 2020-2021

The following awards are available to students who have or will be graduating in the 2020-21 Academic Year. Inquiries about these awards can be directed to Dr. Carolyn Walsh at psychdeputyhead@mun.ca

Captain Robert Bartlett Award

Chancellor’s Undergraduate Award

Click here for more information on how to apply

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Call for Nominations for The Dr. James L. Walker Convocation Award

The Dr. James L. Walker Convocation Award

This award was established in memory of Dr. James L. Walker, a Brandon University department head, psychology professor and research consultant whose innovative teaching, socially relevant research and integration of research into treatment programs for Alzheimer’s patients transformed the lives of students, colleagues and patients. Valued at $1,000, it will be awarded at convocation to a graduating undergraduate student in the Psychology or Behavioural Neuroscience honors program who has demonstrated both academic excellence (a minimum of clear standing) and leadership within their community. The award will be conferred by the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards upon the recommendation of the Head, Department of Psychology.

If you would like to be considered for this award please e-mail Carolyn Walsh (psychdeputyhead@mun.ca) with the subject line: Walker Convocation Award Application. Attached to your email should be a single pdf document which consists of: 1) your resume/cv and, 2) a one-page summary of how you have demonstrated leadership within your community. Deadline: Monday, April 12, 2021 at 5 pm

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Seeking nominations for The Rennie Gaulton Award for Excellence in Teaching

In 2009, the Psychology Department lost one of its most dedicated teachers, Rennie Gaulton, to cancer. During the 30 years Rennie taught psychology, he inspired many students to learn more about the field, many of whom went on to pursue a degree in psychology. He pioneered new methods of teaching and evaluating psychology, and his enthusiasm for teaching was shared with all those who took his classes. To honour Rennie’s commitment to teaching psychology, the department has created the Rennie Gaulton Award for Excellence in Teaching.

See the nomination form for further details

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Four scholarships available to students majoring in psychology or behavioural neuroscience

The Memorial University Undergraduate Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience Society is pleased to announce four scholarships available to students majoring in psychology or behavioural neuroscience.

To apply, students must submit a PDF application package to psychdeputyhead@mun.ca with the subject line “Award Application:” followed by the name of the specific award being applied for. Students who intend to to apply for multiple awards must submit a separate PDF application package for each award. Selection will be determined by the departmental awards committee. Please see below for award descriptions and required documents to include in the application package. The deadline for applications is March 26th 2021 at 5:00pm. Late applications will not be considered. Please note only successful applicants will be notified of the award decision. Questions about the application process can be directed to munpsychsociety@gmail.com.

See more....

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The Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience Career Night

Wednesday, March 10th @ 7:00p.m.

See here for details

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Applications for PsyD Program Suspended

Because of complications with program delivery due to COVID-19, the Department of Psychology will not be taking any applications for the PsyD program this year. The earliest we would be taking applications would be Dec. 1st, 2021 for the program starting in Fall of 2022.

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A message to science students regarding the fall semester

The fall semester at Memorial University, including in the Faculty of Science, will continue to be primarily a remote teaching and learning environment for students. As previously stated, full in-person, on-campus courses will not resume before January 2021.

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Recipients of the Bill McKim Honours Thesis Award

The Awards Committee is pleased to announce the two recipients of the Bill McKim Honours Thesis Award for the 2019-2020 academic year:

Olivia Dutton (supervised by Sue Walling): Behavioural staging of a pretangle rat model of sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease: Longitudinal effects of locus coeruleus htauE14 on odour discrimination.

Sarah Higdon (supervised by Scott Deibel & Ian Webb): Influence of a circadian rhythm disruption paradigm on hippocampal-dependent memory retention and hippocampal physiology.

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Call for Nominations for The Dr. James L. Walker Convocation Award

The Dr. James L. Walker Convocation Award

This award was established in memory of Dr. James L. Walker, a Brandon University department head, psychology professor and research consultant whose innovative teaching, socially relevant research and integration of research into treatment programs for Alzheimer’s patients transformed the lives of students, colleagues and patients. Valued at $1,000, it will be awarded at convocation to a graduating undergraduate student in the Psychology or Behavioural Neuroscience honors program who has demonstrated both academic excellence (a minimum of clear standing) and leadership within their community. The award will be conferred by the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards upon the recommendation of the Head, Department of Psychology.

If you would like to be considered for this award please e-mail Christina Thorpe (psychdeputyhead@mun.ca) your resume/cv and a 1-page summary of how you have demonstrated leadership within your community. All of these documents should be included as one pdf document. Deadline: 5:00 pm, June 22, 2020

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A message to science students regarding the fall semester

The fall semester at Memorial University, including in the Faculty of Science, will continue to be primarily a remote teaching and learning environment for students. As previously stated, full in-person, on-campus courses will not resume before January 2021.

Read More