Speaker: Jasmine Tan

Title: Factors influencing responses to group-directed criticism: The moderating role of social exclusion, power, and category differentiation

Date: Friday 26 August, 1-2 pm 

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room) 


When faced with criticisms directed at the groups to which people belong, one factor that influences the recipient’s response to the criticism is the group membership of the critic. Known as the Intergroup Sensitivity Effect (ISE), past research has demonstrated that people are more receptive to criticisms made by an ingroup member than the same criticism made by an outgroup member. In this talk, I will present two studies that examined how the combination of motivational factors (social exclusion, lack of power) and social-cognitive factors (perceptions of ingroup-outgroup boundaries) moderate responses towards ingroup versus outgroup critics. Under control conditions, critic group membership determines responses towards criticism, thus replicating the ISE. However, following the recall of social exclusion (Experiment 1) and lack of power (Experiment 2), critic group membership and perceived category boundaries interact, such that people who do not perceive much differentiation between their ingroup and their outgroup respond similarly to ingroup and outgroup critics. Put differently, the ISE disappears only when the recipient’s situation is one of low social inclusion/power and low category differentiation. Implications of these findings for the communication of group-directed criticisms are discussed.

About the Speaker:

Jasmine received her B.Soc.Sci.(Hons.) degree in Psychology from NUS. She is currently a M.Soc.Sci. candidate in the department, working under the supervision of A/P Michelle See. Her current research is on group-directed criticism and seeks to identify factors influencing how people respond to critics and criticisms. 



Speaker: Prof Zheng Ye

Title: Improving impulsivity in Parkinson’s disease with atomoxetine

Date: Friday 19 August, 1-2 pm 

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room) 


Impulsivity is more than a problem of impulse control disorders (ICDs). ICDs are diagnosed in about 14% of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) but impulsivity exists even in patients without ICD. In this talk, I would like to present our recent studies on a novel noradrenergic therapy for impulsivity in PD, targeting patients’ inability to cancel a wrong action. Response inhibition deficits in PD may result from loss of noradrenergic projections to the forebrain. In Part 1, I will show that selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor atomoxetine (which is approved for the treatment of ADHD) can improve PD patients’ motor inhibition performance via enhancing inferior frontal cortical activations and frontostriatal functional connectivity. However PD patients varied remarkably in their treatment responses. In Part 2, I will show a machine-learning model that can predict beneficial effects of atomoxetine on response inhibition in PD with high accuracy using clinical and neuroimaging measures. This model aimed to identify potential responders from nonresponders to maximize benefits and minimize harms of the target therapy but the principals and approaches we revealed are applicable to other brain disorders and potential therapies. 

About the Speaker:

Dr. Ye completed her PhD at Peking University (China) in 2010 and then worked as post-docs at the University of Lübeck (Germany), University of Cambridge (UK) and Donders Institute (Netherlands). In 2015, she joined the CAS Institute of Psychology as a full professor. Her research interest includes the neurobiology of impulsivity and cognitive inflexibility in Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other brain disorders. She has published papers in top journals including Brain, Biological Psychiatry, and Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.



Speaker: Dr. Chin Hong Tan

Title:  Cerebrovascular influence on brain and cognitive aging

Date: Friday 12 August, 1-2 pm 

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room) 


Recent studies have introduced a non-invasive approach of quantifying cerebrovascular health using diffuse optical imaging. This novel method estimates the cerebral arterial pulse across the entire scalp to extract measures such as pulse amplitude and arterial compliance. In this talk, I will discuss these methodological developments and findings elucidating the relationships between cerebrovascular health and a variety of indices associated with aging. These indices include blood pressure, brain volume, cardiorespiratory fitness, white matter health and cognitive function.

About the Speaker:

Chin Hong received his B.Soc.Sci(Hons) in Psychology from the National University of Singapore in 2011 and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016. His graduate research focuses on using a multimodal neuroimaging approach to understand the role of cerebrovascular health in brain and cognitive aging. Later this year, Chin Hong will begin a postdoctoral scholar position in the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, to work primarily on PET imaging and genetics of neurodegenerative diseases. 


We are pleased to announce that two of our graduate students have recently won the Graduate Students’ Teaching Award. Eri Sasaki is receiving the award for the second time. Congratulations!!

Takashi eri_sasaki

Takashi Obana
Eri Sasaki

Since Takashi is a first-time winner, we also took the opportunity to find out what makes him such an effective teacher.

1. What inspires you to teach?

When I think about the inspiring classes I had in the past, they were always the classes where teachers or professors introduced me to the passionate lives of psychologists or philosophers (e.g., Emerson, Maslow, Nietzsche, Husserl). I learned from those classes that we don’t study just for the sake of conforming to the society. But we actually learn so that we can courageously question the unexamined presuppositions of established norms or theories. So I deliver the knowledge to students not just to help them get good grades on the final exam but to encourage them to use those knowledge so that they may make choices one day to search and fight against the dogmatic/unquestioned norms out in the world. This belief is what inspires me to teach.

2. What are some of the major challenges you face as a teacher?

The major challenge in teaching is definitely the preparation since I have to exhaust all the possible questions that could come up during the tutorial. It’s the most time consuming part of the teaching and we TAs still have to reserve time for our own research. When the preparation is well done, then the teaching flows. Another challenge is the balance between delivery of the course material and occasional sharing of personal experiences. Through my experience of teaching, I came to learn that students really value the latter so I try not to forget including this element in the tutorial.

3. Why do you think you are an effective teacher?

This question makes me feel very shy to answer. But if I were to state some distinguishable trait of mine compared to other tutors in NUS, it would be that I used to be a complete drop out in the school. So I truly know how it is like to feel lost during the lectures or tutorials. Therefore, I triple check that all the students are on the same page before I proceed. Students who are very quick to absorb the materials dislike my slow pace but fortunately, most students seem to like it.

Talk by A/P Mike Cheung on “Recent Advances in Meta-Analyses”


Title: Recent Advances in Meta-Analyses

Keynote speakers: Prof. John Ioannidis and A/P Mike Cheung

Date: Monday, 16 May 2016

Time: 9:00 am – 12:30pm

Venue: Tahir Foundation Building, Seminar Room 1, Level 8

Organizer: Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, NUS

 * Please refer to the link below for details.

Talk by A/P Mike Cheung on “Recent Advances in Structural Equation Modeling”


Title: Recent Advances in Structural Equation Modeling

Speaker: A/P Mike Cheung

Date: Thursday, 12 May 2016

Time: 12:30 pm – 1:30pm

Venue: Duke-NUS Medical School, Level 2, Amphitheatre, 8 College Rd, Singapore 169857

* All are welcome.

* To register, click on the following link:

* Buffet lunch will be served, outside the Amphitheatre on Level 2 at Duke-NUS Medical School.

* Please refer to the link below for more details.




Speaker: Ms. Eri Sasaki

Title:  Go beyond obligations to keep your partner grateful in the long run: Effects of relationship length and perceived obligations on gratitude

Date: Friday 22 April, 1-2 pm 

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room) 


While gratitude brings benefits to a relationship, the experience of gratitude may differ depending on the type of relationship. The present study aims to examine how relationship length influences gratitude towards a positive partner’s gesture among dating couples, by employing a dyadic daily diary methodology. Multilevel modeling analyses showed that individuals in longer relationship experienced less gratitude towards a positive partner’s act, possibly because they held higher expectations of their partners. Additional analyses found that the perceived obligatory nature of the partner’s act moderated the effect of relationship length on gratitude, such that when a partner’s gesture was perceived to be non-obligatory, the effect of relationship length on gratitude was negligible. Implications on facilitating gratitude experiences in longer relationships will be discussed.

About the Speaker:

 Eri Sasaki is a Masters candidate pursuing her M.Soc.Sci at the Department of Psychology at NUS under the supervision of Dr Tsai Fen-Fang. Her research interests lie in the intersection of close relationships and positive emotions. Her current research explores the experience of gratitude in romantic relationships.

Psychology alumnus, Chan Kai Qin, featured in latest issue of APS Observer


We are very proud to note that one of our former students, Chan Kai Qin, has been featured in the latest issue of the APS Observer. Kai Qin is now an Assistant Professor at the Psychology Department in Ashoka University and is working with his colleagues to revolutionize Psychology’s identity in India. For the full story, go to

Chan Kai Qin graduated with a Honours Degree (2nd Upper) in Psychology and a Masters of Social Science (Psychology) from the National University of Singapore. His Honours Thesis examined the effect of implicit relationship primes on risk taking and found that being exposed to the name of a friend led to participants taking more risk in computer task relative to being exposed to neutral words. This work won the 2008/09 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Prize and was later published in a leading relationship journal, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. His Master Thesis extended his Honours work by showing that religious primes (e.g., the word ‘God’) increased risk-taking on the same task. This work is published in a premiere Social Psychology journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science. Kai Qin subsequently pursued his PhD studies in Radboud University and is now a faculty in Ashoka University.

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