School of Psychological Sciences & HealthPsychology Spring Seminar Schedule 2021

The School of Psychological Sciences & Health are delighted to announce their upcoming seminar series for Spring 2021, beginning on January 27th.

January 27, 1-2PM
Dr Adolfo Garcia, Universidad de San Andres
The textual footprints of neurodegeneration

Abstract: Neurodegenerative diseases are experiencing unprecendented growth, creating major burdens on health systems worldwide. Their prevalence will soon become disproportionately high in Latin America, calling for innovative approaches for patient identification and severity estimations. Mainstream diagnostic, prognostic, and monitoring procedures rely on standardized clinical/cognitive test and neuroimaging. Though irreplaceable, these approaches prove stressful, fatiguing, bound to clinician bias, and unrepresentative of everyday behaviour. Also, they are often unaffordable, unfeasible, and non-viable for remote application. Aiming to circumvent these limitations, I will introduce a novel framework rooted in ecological language tasks. First, I will present studies based on automated speech assessments, showing that brief spontaneous monologues offer rich information to identify patients and predict symptom severity. Second, I will describe findings from a naturalistic text paradigm capturing disease-specific comprehension deficits and underlying neurocognitive abnormalities. The evidence obtained so far spans diverse neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia), data collection methods (automated acoustic and textual analyses, behavioural measures, structural and functional neuroimaging, high-density, electroencephalography), and statistical approaches (inferential statistics, machine learning pipelines). Overall, this approach is typified by minimal stress and fatigue, objective and consistent outcomes, high ecological validity, negligible costs, massive scalability, and direct adaptability for remote implementation. Existing findings and ongoing extensions of the framework represent a promising complement for standard approaches in clinical settings

February 3, 1-2PM
Professor Paul Flowers, University of Strathclyde
What can qualitative analysis tell us about initiating and maintaining positive change during COVID-19?

Abstract: In this talk, Paul introduces the CATALYST project and talks through the role and findings of the qualitative components. He draws on semi-structured interviews with a purposive, diverse sub-sample of people self-reporting high levels of cross-domain positive change (n=48) collected in the early summer of 2020. He presents the findings of a thematic analysis concerning initiating and maintaining positive change bringing to life people's experiences with rich data extracts. Finally, he discusses the partnership work with various organisations that translated the project insights into awareness raising, positive change-sharing, targeted resources tailored to specific organisational audiences. The talk ends with sharing some of these resources. 

February 10, 1-2PM
Dr Julia Allan, University of Aberdeen
Cognitive control and health: Why can't people stick to diets and what can we do to help?

Abstract: The executive functions are the set of higher level cognitive processes involved in planning, initiating, and maintaining effortful goal-directed behaviours (e.g. selective attention, working memory updating, cognitive flexibility, task switching, cognitive inhibition, etc.). In this talk, I will outline work highlighting the relevance of these processes for different health behaviours (sticking to a diet, taking physical activity, coping with pain etc), discuss studies that illustrate how these processes change within people over time, and describe ways in which environments, systems and services can be re-designed to make healthy choices and behaviours cognitively easier and more likely to be enacted. 

February 17, 10-11AM
Professor Michael Gradisar, Flinders University
Making real changes in teenagers' sleep via the school setting

Abstract: Michael Gradisar is a Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at Flinders University, Australia. He's been researching teenagers' sleep since 2005, as well as treating teenager sleep disorders at his Child & Adolescent Sleep Clinic in his role as a clinical psychologist. Professor Gradisar and his team have conducted sleep interventions across the lifespan (infants, toddlers, school kids, teens, adults), including several school-based sleep interventions. His talk will focus on the evolution of of both high-intensity and low-intensity school interventions that seek to improve the sleep health of those living their second decade.

February 24, 1-2PM
Dr Vanessa Loaiza, University of Essex
The Impacts of Instructed and Spontaneous Maintenance Strategies in Working Memory

Abstract: How do we hold and manipulate information from moment-to-moment in working memory? In this talk, I will overview my recent research regarding the efficacy of different kinds of strategies to maintain information in verbal and visuospatial working memory alike, and whether there are any differences between coming up with the strategy yourself versus being instructed to implement certain strategies. Discerning the methods in which we keep information active in mind is important for the understanding of the role of working memory in higher-order cognition more broadly.

All events will last for one hour between and all Strathclyde colleagues are welcome. Zoom meeting details will be provided by e-mail. Please contact Aliyah Rehman at for further details.