Brown Bag Talk by A/P Gabriel Tan on 19 March

March 18, 2014

Speaker: A/P Gabriel Tan

Title: Hypnosis in the Management of Pain

Date: 19 March 2014, 12pm

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


In this talk, I will first present video clips to demonstrate the use of hypnosis in acute/procedural pain and oral surgery. Then I will briefly discuss the following topics: pain management is brain management; acute vs chronic pain; how acute pain becomes chronic pain (neurobiology); MRI evidence. A parallel theme will also include the following topics: the definition of hypnosis, neural basis of hypnosis; efficacy of hypnosis; and how hypnosis is being used to manage pain. The seminar will conclude with presentation of my own research on hypnosis

About the Speaker:

Gabriel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Director of Clinical Psychology Program, National University of Singapore. Before coming to NUS, he was an Associate Professor at the Department of Anesthesiology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baylor College of Medicine. Besides being a university professor, Gabriel also has over 35 years of professional experience as clinician researcher, teacher and consultant.

Brown Bag Talk by Prof Keith J. Holyoak on 12 March

March 6, 2014

Speaker: Prof. Keith J. Holyoak

Title: Relational Thinking and the Creative Mindset

Date: 12 March 2014, 12pm

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


The capacity for what I term “role-based” relational reasoning is revealed in the ability to see analogies and understand abstract causal relations. I will argue that this ability (possibly unique to the human species) is a core component in both intelligence and creative thinking. After reviewing what is known about the neural basis for relational reasoning, I will discuss how this ability relates to creativity, and suggest some interventions that have the potential to facilitate creative thinking.

About the Speaker:

Keith J. Holyoak, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a leading researcher in human thinking and reasoning. He received his B.A. from the University of British Columbia in 1971 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1976. Dr. Holyoak was on the faculty of the University of Michigan from 1976-1986 and then joined the Department of Psychology at UCLA. His work combines behavioral studies with both cognitive neuroscience and computational modeling. He has been a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and a James McKeen Cattell Fellowship. Dr. Holyoak is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science, the Cognitive Science Society, and the Society for Experimental Psychology. He has served as Editor of Cognitive Psychology, Senior Editor of Cognitive Science, Associate Editor of Psychological Science, and as editorial board member of numerous other journals. Dr. Holyoak has published over 200 scientific articles, and is the co-author or editor of numerous books, including Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning and Discovery (MIT Press, 1986), Mental Leaps: Analogy in Creative Thought (MIT Press, 1995), and the Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning (Oxford University Press, 2012). In a parallel career as a poet he has published Facing the Moon: Poems of Li Bai and Du Fu (Oyster River Press, 2007) My Minotaur: Selected Poems 1998–2006 (Dos Madres Press, 2010), and Foreigner: New English Poems in Chinese Old Style (Dos Madres Press, 2012).


Brown Bag Talk by Mr. Ivan Lee on 5 March

February 26, 2014

Speaker: Mr. Ivan Lee Tian Guang

Title: Assessing the combined effects of alcohol and sleep loss on cognition and simulated driving performance

Date: 5 March 2014, 12pm

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


Both sleep loss and alcohol consumption have been shown to impair driving ability and cognitive performance. It has been suggested that when sleep loss is combined with drinking, performance deficits are much greater than in either factor considered alone. Given that alcohol consumption and partial sleep deprivation are commonly combined, especially in younger drivers, it is important to investigate these effects of behavior on the risk for driving lapses and attentional failure.

This study is the first to systematically examine the interaction of alcohol and sleep loss on driving performance, cognition, and fatigue, using an alcohol clamp, a unique and reliable method in maintaining one at a constant blood alcohol level across an extended period of time.

About the Speaker:

Ivan is a M.Soc.Sci (Psychology) student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and a research assistant in the Chronobiology and Sleep Laboratory (CSL) in Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore. His main research interests are in the effects of sleep loss on cognitive and behavioral abilities, as well as in physiologic outcomes of sleep deprivation and fatigue risk management. Understandably, he loves and appreciates sleep a lot.

An Invitation – Resilience Run 2014 – Sat, 29 March!

February 20, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Saturday morning – run, walk, stroll, and be a part of a fundraising event in our Faculty 85th Anniversary joint-launch project? WHY NOT?

This email is calling for all of you out there (with or without penchant for running on a Saturday morning…) to participate and have lots and lots of fun on the event detailed below.

Bring your family & friends, have fun, and yes… exercise

Looking forward to seeing LOTS of you there!



Brown Bag Talk by Takashi Obana on Feb 19

February 17, 2014


Speaker: Mr. Takashi Obana

Title: Enhanced visual-spatial and attentional states experienced by expert video game players as a result of first-person shooter action video-gaming

Date: 19 Feb 2014, 12pm

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


The existence of ‘flow’ where individuals exhibit exceptional human performance has been suggested by phenomenological research but has surprisingly been overlooked in the domain of cognitive psychology. Although researchers have speculated that action video-gaming might produce the state of “flow” experience, the previous experimental studies have thus far focused primarily on the long-term (trait) effects that result from action video-gaming, while overlooking possible short-term effects characterizing the state of “flow”. This research investigates whether playing action video-games can induce the state of flow characterized by increased attentional capacities. We compared the baseline performance of experienced action video game players on a number of visual imagery, attentional network, and attentional blink tasks, with their performances on these tasks immediately after half an hour of action video-gaming, and then after half an hour of rest. The results indicate dramatic improvement in performance on the tasks that require selective attention (visual memory, executive network, attentional blink) immediately after video game playing. However, the improvement is temporary and dissipates after half an hour of rest. The findings indicate the existence of flow states characterized by enhanced selective attention and imply the possibility to consciously access the latent resources of our brain to temporarily boost our attentional capacity upon demand.

About the Speaker:

I have been doing a research about optimal experience (i.e. what Abraham Maslow calls peak-experience) using phenomenological method. After I came to NUS, I have focused on the cognitive and neural correlates of similar optimal experience called flow using action video-game.

Brown Bag Talk by Prof Francesca Pazzaglia on 12 Feb

February 9, 2014






Speaker: Prof Francesca Pazzaglia

Title: What factors affect spatial learning and navigation? How abilities, strategies and instructions interact in affecting the performance of wayfinding tasks

Date: 12 Feb 2014, 12pm

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


Spatial knowledge can be acquired from navigation and from other different sources. In particular, human beings have the capacity to construct abstract spatial representations through the use of symbolic supports, such as language, and from virtual reality (VR). I will examine the role played by spatial ability, working memory, sense of direction, and instructions in navigation through real and VR environments. Data will be presented in support of a model of spatial learning where personal characteristics, sources of learning and tasks interact in affecting navigation and spatial representation. The outcomes will be discussed at the light of theories of spatial learning.

About the Speaker:

Francesca Pazzaglia is Professor of Psychology at University of Padua. Her main topics are memory and spatial representations. Francesca investigates cognitive processes implied in spatial representations, and the role played by verbal and visuospatial working memory in spatial ability, multimedia comprehension, spatial texts comprehension, and in the production of route directions. She has also investigated the crucial role played by several motivational and social variables, such as self-theories and gender stereotypes, in affecting spatial abilities and spatial learning.

Brown Bag Talk by Prof Esther Geva on 5 Feb

February 2, 2014

Esther Geva








Speaker: Prof Esther Geva

Title: Language and Literacy Skills in Typically and Non-Typically Developing ESL Children: Developmental and Underlying Cognitive Processes

Date: 5 Feb 2014, 12pm

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


Much of my research on L2 reading development has been guided by general questions such as: Are models of reading based on monolingual readers applicable to L2 students? Is proficiency in the L2 essential for reading in L2? How do reading and language skills in the native language relate to L2 reading skills? Do language and orthographic typology matter in understanding L2 reading development? Is it possible to identify reading disabilities in L2 learners even when they are not fluent in the L2? I will address some of these fundamental questions in relation to Canadian children who are L2 learners, and discuss the implications of research involving L2 children and youth conducted in my lab in Toronto.

About the Speaker:

Esther Geva studied in Israel, the US and Canada. She is Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto.  Her research, publications, and teaching focus on (a) developmental issues and best practices concerning language and literacy skills in children from various immigrant and minority backgrounds, including children who immigrate from non-literate countries, (b) language and literacy skills in normally developing learners and learners with learning difficulties and (c) cross-cultural perspectives on children’s psychological problems. She has published numerous articles and chapters in these areas, presented her work internationally, and served on numerous advisory, policy, and review committees in the US and Canada concerned with research on literacy development in minority children.  Springer is about to publish the book “Psychological Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children and Adolescents: A Guidebook for School and Clinical Psychologists”, she coauthored with J. Wiener.

Brown Bag Talk by O’Dhaniel A. Mullette-Gillman

January 23, 2014

Speaker: Dr O’Dhaniel A. Mullette-Gillman on 29 Jan

Title: State Alterations of Human Economic and Moral Decision Making

Date: 29 Jan 2014, 12pm

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


I will discuss research examining state alterations of human decision making. I will briefly overview two projects, and then focus on a third: 1) alterations of economic decision making due to aging and sleep deprivation, cognitive fatigue, testosterone levels, and tryptophan depletion, 2) how brain states before option presentation modulate risky decision making (MVPA), and 3) moral judgment modulation by disgust priming: Behavioral function and the underlying dynamic functional connectivity.

For those interested, I discussed these projects briefly in a recently TEDx talk, available at

About the Speaker:

Dr. O’Dhaniel A. Mullette-Gillman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the National University of Singapore and the Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Program at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. Before joining NUS he held post-doctoral research fellow positions with Prof. Scott Huettel at Duke University, and Prof. Paul Glimcher at New York University. He received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College, and his BA in Biopsychology from Oberlin College.

Brown Bag Talk by Prof Jennifer Freyd on 21 Jan

January 16, 2014


Speaker: Prof Jennifer J. Freyd

Title: Betrayal Blindness, Institutional Betrayal, and Telling about Betrayal.

Date: 21 Jan 2014 (Tuesday), 12pm

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


In this research lecture Professor Freyd will focus on new research on betrayal trauma, including research on betrayal blindness, institutional betrayal, and the disclosure of betrayal. Betrayal blindness is the unawareness, not-knowing, and forgetting exhibited by people towards betrayal. Victims, perpetrators, and witnesses may display betrayal blindness in order to preserve relationships, institutions, and social systems upon which they depend. The term “Institutional Betrayal” refers to wrongdoings perpetrated by an institution upon individuals dependent on that institution, including failure to prevent or respond supportively to wrongdoings by individuals (e.g. sexual assault) committed within the context of the institution.  New research suggests that institutional betrayal can exacerbate the impact of interpersonal traumas.  Freyd will also discuss research she has conducted with her colleagues investigating aspects of the disclosure of trauma.  She will discuss some of the ways that telling about betrayal trauma can be risky and some of the ways it can be healing.  Freyd will also describe research regarding a simple intervention that appears to improve the outcome of trauma disclosures.

About the Speaker:

Jennifer J. Freyd Ph.D, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D in Psychology from Stanford University. Professor Freyd directs a laboratory investigating the impact of interpersonal and institutional trauma on mental and physical health, behavior, and society. She has published over 150 articles and her H-index is 40.  Freyd  is author of the award-winning book Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse and she co-edited with Anne DePrince the volume, Trauma & Cognitive Science.   Her new book Blind to Betrayal, co-authored with Pamela J. Birrell, was published in English by John Wiley & Sons in March 2013 with translations into Portuguese, Korean, Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.  Freyd is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  She currently serves as the Editor of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation.

Brown Bag Talk by A/P Melvin Yap on 6 Nov

November 4, 2013

Speaker: A/P Melvin Yap

Title: Megastudies: What do millions (or so) of trials tell us about lexical processing?

Date: 6th November 2013 (Wednesday), 12pm-1pm

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


Words are a major building block of cognitive science and have been germane to developments in computational modeling, attention, psycholinguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and other areas. However, the vast majority of lexical processing studies are based on experiments where researchers factorially cross the independent variables of interest. Although the traditional factorial approach has obviously yielded a wealth of findings, it is associated with a number of limitations. In the present talk, I will describe a relatively recent complementary approach to studying lexical processing, the megastudy approach, which involves letting the language define the stimuli, instead of selecting stimuli based on a limited set of criteria. I will selectively review some contributions made by megastudies across distinct domains, and also highlight accessible and freely available databases on the Internet for anyone who is interested in taking advantage of this analytic approach.

About the speaker:

At the most general level, I am interested in the processes that underlie the recognition of visually presented words. More specifically, I have been investigating how different variables influence word identification performance in different lexical processing tasks, extending conventional analytic tools with distributional analyses of response time distributions. My other research themes include attentional effects in reading, individual differences in word recognition, task-specific effects, models of lexical processing, and models of lexical decision performance.