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Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Sarah Jaser
February 9, 2016

Sarah JaserPh.D., Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Tuesday, 2/9/16

12:10 p.m. 

Wilson Hall, Room 316

Stress and Coping in Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes: Key Findings and Future Directions

I will be discussing my research related to identifying risk and protective factors in youth with type 1 diabetes, and developing family-based interventions to promote the best outcomes.


CCN Brown Bag Series: Gordon Logan
February 10, 2016

Gordon Logan, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

Wednesday, 2/10/16

12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall, Room 112

Different (Key)Strokes for Different Folks: How standard and nonstandard typists balance Fitts’ law and Hick’s law

We watch with amazement as the guitarist shreds the fretboard, the pianist tickles the ivories, and our fingers dance over the computer keyboard.  The dazzling speed and effortless grace disguises the difficulty of the underlying choice process, which has to map 10 fingers onto 120-124 positions on the guitar neck, 88 keys on the piano, and 60-100 keys on the computer keyboard.  The choice is constrained by two fundamental laws:  Fitts’ law relates movement time to distance and is optimized by recruiting more fingers.  Hick’s law relates choice time to the number of alternatives and is optimized by recruiting fewer fingers.  To achieve high levels of performance, something has to give.  Fitts’ law is immutable (the distances don’t change) but Hick’s law bends with practice in consistent environments.  Learning reduces the cost of adding more fingers.  Thus, performers who use more fingers and use them more consistently should reach higher levels of performance than practitioners who use fewer fingers less consistently.  We tested this prediction in skilled typewriting, comparing standard typists, who use the standard QWERTY mapping consistently, to nonstandard typists who depart from it by using fewer fingers or using fingers inconsistently.  Nonstandard typists typed slower and less accurately than nonstandard typists, especially when they couldn’t see the keyboard.  Tests for hierarchical control showed that nonstandard typists know as little about how they type as standard typists, suggesting the same degree of automaticity with poorer performance.  The results have interesting implications for teaching typing and other skills.  Nonstandard typing may be good enough for jazz.


Neuroscience Brown Bag Series: Michelle Failla
February 11, 2016

Michelle Failla, Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Thursday, 2/11/2016

12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall 316

“Evidence for altered pain processing in autism spectrum disorders”

Pain assessments typically rely on self-report measures. Yet, self-report measures may be unreliable in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) given ASD-associated communication difficulties. Pain assessment is important in ASD as there is a widespread assumption that individuals with ASD are insensitive to pain, yet they commonly exhibit aversive responses to innocuous stimuli. This talk will describe our investigation of this paradox using fMRI to measure neural responses to pain in adults with ASD relative to a typical comparison group. In the general population, a neural pain signature has been identified that reliably differentiates pain from innocuous stimulation. We provide evidence for intact neural pain signature responses to acute pain in ASD, yet, during sustained pain, the neural pain signature response is significantly suppressed. We will also explore differences in neural responses related to self-injurious behaviors (SIB), which are hypothesized to reflect increased pain tolerance in ASD. This work provides initial evidence for a dichotomous pain response in ASD that, if replicated in future studies, may clarify the coexistence of both hypo- and hyperresponsiveness to pain in ASD.



Quantitative Methods Colloquium Series: Joe Rodgers
February 15, 2016

A Problem, a Method, and a Dataset: Addressing Selection Bias in Social Science Research Using Sibling Control Methods with the NLSY Data

Joe Rodgers, Department of Psychology and Human Development

Do small families create smart children, or do smart parents make small families? Do mothers smoking during pregnancy cause problem behaviors in their children, or would the children of mothers who smoke have problem behaviors anyway? Do smart teens delay age at first intercourse because of their intelligence, or do other background factors cause smart teens and delayed AFI to co-occur? Does putting a child in day care cause child problems, or are mothers who have children likely to have those problems more likely to use day care?

Challenges to internal validity, the validity of causal inference, abound in the social and behavioral science literature ­ especially in quasi-experimental design settings. Tenuous causal directionality is often confidently asserted by methodologically sophisticated researchers, and in many cases without apparent awareness of the threats to validity that exist. Perhaps the most pernicious process contributing to this problem is the challenge of selection bias.

Methods to handle selection bias in quasi-experimental research settings are in their ascendancy, and include using covariates, instrumental variable approaches, and propensity score methods. In this presentation, I'll discuss a powerful design methodology that can be used to help address selection bias, the discordant sibling design. A data source with flexible longitudinal, within-family, and cross-generational data patterns is the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which has three separate data sources ­ the original NLSY79 sample, the NLSY-Children/Young Adult Sample, and the NLSY97 replication sample.

Using maternal sibling pairs from the NLSY79 sample, and their biological offspring from the NLSY-C/YA sample, we can control for most background sources of unobserved heterogeneity. I describe the dataset, and the design, and then describe findings from a number of published and ongoing studies using this methodology to address selection bias (and other threats to internal validity). To anticipate several findings, suggested above: Small families do not create smart children, and smart parents do make small families. Maternal smoking does not cause problem behaviors in children. Intelligence is not what causes smart teens to delay first intercourse. And putting a child in day care does not have a causal influence on problem behaviors.

Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Duje Tadin
February 16, 2016

Duje Tadin Ph.D., Vision & Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Rochester

Tuesday, 2/16/16

12:10 p.m.

Wilson Hall, Room 316

Visual processing as a window into mechanisms of schizophrenia, autism and cognitive aging

CCN Brown Bag Series: Geoff Woodman
February 17, 2016

Geoff Woodman, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

Wednesday, 2/17/16

12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall, Room 112


Neuroscience Brown Bag Series: Eric Wilkey
February 18, 2016

Eric Wilkey, Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt University

Thursday, 2/18/2016

12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall 316


Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Timothy J Hohman
February 23, 2016

Timothy J Hohman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology, Vanderbilt memory & Alzheimer's Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Tuesday, 2/23/16

12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall 316


CCN Brown Bag Series: Isabel Gauthier
February 24, 2016

Isabel Gauthier, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

Wednesday, 2/24/16

12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall, Room 112


Neuroscience Brown Bag Series: Brandon Moore
February 25, 2016

Brandon Moore, Department of Psychology (Maier Lab), Vanderbilt University

Thursday, 2/25/2016

12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall


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