All presentations are free and held in live stream format. Video of all lectures will be posted after each event.
2021-2022 Psychology Department Speakers Series
November 10, 1–2:30 p.m. (virtual)
The MMR Vaccine and Autism: The Story of a Medical Fraud with Lessons and Challenges for Today
Lauren Harris, PhD., Michigan State University
In 1998, a brief report was published in the British medical journal, The Lancet. The lead author, a gastroenterologist named Andrew Wakefield, and 12 co-authors claimed to have discovered a new variant, or phenotype, of “regressive autism” in association with gastrointestinal symptoms. The subjects were 12 children from 3 to 10 years of age, nine of whom were diagnosed with autism after being given the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. The authors did not claim to have found a causal connection between the vaccine and autism, but Wakefield separately made this claim and implied that the vaccine was also responsible for the reported rise in cases of autism in Great Britain. Deficiencies in the report were almost immediately pointed out, and new, large-scale, studies repeatedly failed to show any link between the MMR vaccine and autism, but the damage was done. Following the report’s publication and Wakefield’s personal campaigning, not only in Great Britain but in the United States, where he re-located after being stripped of his medical license, there was a rise of anti-vaccine zealotry, a decline in the number of children receiving the MMR vaccine, and the re-emergence of measles where it had been virtually eliminated. In my presentation, I will begin with an overview of autism symptomology, risk factors, and incidence figures. I then will describe the report and its immediate and longer-range effects, review the new evidence, and recount Wakefield’s subsequent activities, now including campaigning against the COVID-19 vaccines. I will close by describing some of what I see as lessons and challenges for today.
December 7, 1–2:30 p.m. (virtual)
Intersectional Scholarship: Resisting the Tendency to Disconnect, Dilute, and Depoliticize
NiCole T. Buchanan, Ph.D., Michigan State University
Psychological science has been slow to incorporate intersectionality, the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage, as a concept and as a framework for conducting research. This limits not only the potential for intersectionality theory, but also limits the potential impact of the research claiming to use it. In this talk, I review intersectional theory and praxis, examine resistance to fully incorporating intersectionality, and highlight how research must shift to be truly intersectional. Finally, I will issue a call to scholars to integrate intersectionality theory and praxis and to resist the tendency to dilute and depoliticize intersectionality theory and disconnect from its social justice framework.
Past Psychology Department Speaker Series videos
- Our Year with Coronavirus: Understanding the Science and Psychology of how COVID-19 has Impacted Our Lives
- What Do We Know About Race and Police Use of Deadly Force? Analyses of Real-World and Laboratory Decision Data
- Dating in the Modern Age: What Online Dating and Mobile Apps Can Tell Us about Finding (and Keeping) a Romantic Partner
- Portable Device Use and Learning in the Modern Age
- CANCELED - What Do We Know about the Psychology of Doing "Work" Together?
- What is in your suitcase? Addressing Self Awareness with The Tools to Survive
- Gambling: A Behavior Analytic Perspective
- CHARGE Syndrome: The Study of a Rare Childhood Disorder
- What Happens When We Change Ourselves? A Look at Beliefs and Health
- Coping with Grief and Loss
- Child Development in the Digital Age: How, and for Whom, Does Mobile Media Use Become Problematic?
- Unmasking the Automatic Mind: Toward a New Understanding of Unconscious Cognition
- Media effects: Can watching T.V. or playing video games really change how you think and what you do?
- The Psychology of Political Affiliation: Are Donkeys and Elephants Really that Different?
- The Emergent Use of Virtual Reality in the Treatment of Psychological Disorders
- Understanding the Neurobiology of Drug Addiction in Humans Through the Study of Animals
- Introduction to Mindfulness: Exploring the Science and Practical Application
- The Real World of Forensic Psychology
- Social Support and Mental Health: It's Not What You Think
- Do Visual Artists See the World Differently?
- No Child is an Island: Integrating Family Systems Perspectives into Children's Mental Health Treatment
- Modern Application of Darwinian Theory to Psychology
- I’m Dying to Talk with You
- Art Therapy and the Expressive Arts: Knowing Yourself Through Your Creative Side
- Self-Justification in Everyday Life: What cognitive dissonance theory reveals about cheating, justice, love, war, memory, and the decisions we make
- Do Parents Make a Difference? An Exploration in Raising a Child
- Do sports matter as much to girls as they do to boys? Gender and the Myth of the Blank Slate
- Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy: Yes, our brain is the biggest erogenous zone!
- Stress can destroy a 66 ton bridge; imagine what it might do to you? Understanding and managing stress
- Can Political Psychology Help Us Know What We're Getting When We Vote?
- Anger: Just One Letter Away From Danger!
- Our Connection To Something Bigger: The Archetypes of C.G. Jung.
- Mental Toughness: The X-Factor in Sport and Life
- Will Psychologists Be Replacing Their Couch With A Computer Screen?
- I Didn’t Do Anything To Make You Feel That Way – How We Communicate Without Saying Anything.
- The Human Genome: Will You Be Able To Pre-Order The Sex, Height, and Personality Of Your New Baby?
- The Role of Technology in Our Lives: The Good, the Bad, and the Scary
- Alzheimer's Disease: One of the Things I'd Like to Forget.
- Things That Go Bump in the Night: An Introduction to Parasomnias
- Finding, Landing, and Thriving in a Job that You Love
- The Roots of Morality: Does Religion Play a Role or is the Tail Wagging the Dog?
- Forensic Psychology: The Real World of CSI
- Animal Psychology: We Do More Than Make Dogs Salivate Or Teach Rats To Run Mazes
- The Psychology Of Love: Do Opposites Attract or Do Birds Of A Feather Flock Together?
- Hypnosis: It's Not Just a Stage Act
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Can’t We Just Give ‘Em A “Chill Pill?”