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CCN Brown Bag Series (No Talk This week)
November 26, 2014

The Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) program - no talk scheduled this week due to Thanksgiving Holiday

Neuroscience Seminar: No talk
November 27, 2014


Quantitative Methods Colloquium Series: Andrew Tomarken
December 1, 2014

The odds ratio and its alternatives: Measure-specificity of effects

Andrew Tomarken, Vanderbilt Department of Psychology

The odds ratio (OR) is among the most commonly used statistical measures of association or effect. It is by far the most commonly reported measure when dependent variables are binary and it is ubiquitous in studies focusing on the association between risk factors and disease outcomes. Unfortunately, most scientists are largely unaware of the mathematical and statistical properties of the OR and its differences, strengths, and weaknesses relative to alternative measures. After discussing several historical reasons for the popularity of the OR, I will describe several common misinterpretations and mistaken assumptions made by researchers based on an ongoing review of published research in medical and psychological journals. At various points, comparisons will be made to two alternative measures of effect, the relative risk (RR) and the risk difference (RD). Two overriding points will be emphasized: (1) Conclusions about the nature, functional form, and magnitude of effects derived from the OR will often not generalize to alternatives. Thus exclusive reliance on the OR can provide a highly selective or even misleading picture of the phenomenon under study; and, (2) Different measures are sensitive to different features of data, and at a more fundamental level, may reflect differing -- yet almost always unstated -- assumptions about the nature of main effects and interactions. I will conclude that: (1) It is important for researchers to determine those measures and models that best fit the goals of the study, the conceptualization of risk, and other aspects of the substantive phenomenon under investigation; (2) In the absence of a clearly optimal choice, researchers should report multiple measures to provide a more complete picture of the effects of predictors on binary measures; and, (3) Researchers need to expand on the cryptic verbal descriptions typically offered to describe effects and to supplement the presentation with appropriate graphical and other tools.

CCN Brown Bag Series: Isabel Gauthier
December 3, 2014

Isabel Gauthier, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 115, Wilson Hall

Title and abstract TBA

Neuroscience Seminar: Kacie Dougherty
December 4, 2014

Kacie Dougherty, Department of Psychology (Maier Lab), Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Spiking responses in V1 couple to the infragranular alpha LFP phase

The alpha-range (8-12 Hz) neural rhythm, prominent over occipital cortex, is a predictor of performance on visual tasks. Specifically, visual performance and attentional selection have been shown to co-vary with the ongoing alpha cycle recorded on the scalp. Despite its relationship to visual performance, little is known about how intracortical alpha rhythms impact visual processing. Recordings in primary visual cortex of monkeys revealed that alpha-band local field potentials (LFP) in deep cortical layers couple with gamma-range (>30 Hz) amplitude within the same column during the resting state. This finding is consistent with the notion that infragranular neurons can control neural excitability in other layers. However, the precise relationship between spiking activity within a cortical column in visual cortex and intracortical alpha-range rhythms is still unknown. Here, two macaque monkeys fixated while static grating stimuli were presented inside of the receptive field under study. During this time, we recorded LFP and multiunit spiking activity from all layers of V1 simultaneously. We found that throughout a visual stimulation period lasting several hundred milliseconds, spiking activity in all layers was relatively decreased at the time of alpha troughs recorded in the deep layers compared to spiking at alpha peaks. Specifically, the magnitude of spiking activity at alpha troughs was nearly half that at alpha peaks. These results align with the idea that infragranular neurons mediate gain control. Given that effects of attention vary with alpha activity, this alpha modulation of visual spiking responses could have implications for determining how neural activity in visual cortex is differentially shaped by alpha rhythms with and without attention.










CCN Brown Bag Series: Sonia Poltoratski
December 10, 2014

The Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) program presents Sonia Poltoratski, Department of Psychology (Tong Lab), Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 115, Wilson Hall

Title and abstract TBA

Professional Development Colloquium Series presents Vicki Ahlstrom
March 20, 2015

Careers with the US Government: A Professional Development Workshop for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows in Psychological Sciences and Neuroscience

 Vicki Ahlstrom, Engineering Research Psychologist Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Friday March 20, 2015 Location TBA 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Vicki Ahlstrom is an Engineering Research Psychologist and Technical Lead for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the Human Factors Branch at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City. She is responsible for research and standards development related to air traffic systems. Vicki was in the graduate program in Psychology at Vanderbilt from 1992-1997 under the guidance of Randolph Blake. In addition to talking specifically about her own career path and past and present job responsibilities working for the FAA, she will talk in general about some of the kinds of jobs available for those with graduate degrees in psychology and neuroscience with federal government agencies, careers in government, how jobs are advertised, how job applicants are evaluated, and general tips when considering this possible career path.

Department of Psychology Colloquium Series presents Lea Williams
April 2, 2015

Lea Williams, Ph.D., Professor, Stanford University

Thursday  April, 2, 2015

Title,  Abstract, and location : TBA

Psychology Day Colloquium presents Michael Posner
April 21, 2015

Michael Posner, Ph.D., Professor, University of Oregon

Tuesday April, 21, 2015

Fostering ATTENTION for Human Needs

At the turn of the 20th century Attention was seen as the central topic in human psychology.  One hundred years later,  attentional  networks involved in selection of information, maintaining alertness,  self control, and management of emotions have been explored by brain imaging.   Understanding attention has become central to managing our electronic devices, raising our children and obtaining the most from reading, listening and searching our connected world.  This talk will review the connection of the brain’s attention networks to early development of self regulation in children, understanding issues in psychopathology, and in training the brain to improve learning and to foster self control of adults in our highly connected world.

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