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Psychology Department Speakers Series


2019-2020 Psychology Department Speakers Series

All presentations are free and held in room 168 of the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center. 
For more information, contact Dr. Frank Conner (ph: (616) 234-3612)
*Streaming video of each presentation will be available after each lecture.


What Do We Know About Race and Police Use of Deadly Force? Analyses of Real-World and Laboratory Decision Data 

October 8, 2019
1 p.m.

Among academics and the general public, there exists the widespread belief that police officers are racially-biased in their decisions to use deadly force. In this talk, Dr. Joseph Cesaria, Associate Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University, will present data collected in a lab over the last few years from both real-world shootings and simulated laboratory decisions. These data suggest that claims of pervasive racial bias in deadly-force use may indicate a misunderstanding of the nature of deadly force decisions and the cognitive processes underlying such decisions. Dr. Cersaria will discuss various points of uncertainty in the data and how future research might address these unknowns. Finally, he will discuss what we might realistically expect from various training interventions, such as implicit bias training. View the Lecture


Dating in the Modern Age: What Online Dating and Mobile Apps Can Tell Us about Finding (and Keeping) a Romantic Partner 

November 20, 2019
1 p.m.

We live in an unprecedented age of connection. There are now more ways than ever to find someone to love, someone with your exact interests, and someone who matches your preferences. Interestingly though, people often report that it’s also harder than ever before to find reliable dating partners. Why is it harder than ever to find a partner despite there being more ways than ever before? The answer might ultimately lie in how relationship dynamics play out online and on mobile dating applications. In this lecture, Dr. William Chopik, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University, will highlight the proposed challenges and solutions to dating in the modern age by providing a review of relationship science being conducted in these contexts. Attendees will gain an increased understanding and appreciation for how relationships emerge and persist in online dating and mobile dating applications. View the Lecture


Portable Device Use and Learning in the Modern Age

February 11, 2020
1 p.m.

Dr. Susan Ravizza is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University.  Her expertise in attention and memory has recently been applied to issues surrounding how portable device use (e.g., SmartPhones, laptops) interact with learning in the classroom and beyond. In the first part of the talk, Dr. Ravizza will discuss her research about the benefits and problems of using portable devices in class and what this work might suggest for classroom policies. The second part of the talk will focus on memory in the context of information presented through social media. The question to be considered is whether learning information through social media is any different from learning in other contexts. The goal of this project is to provide empirical evidence of how portable devices are being used and suggest ways to increase their effectiveness for learning while minimizing their potential to distract. These studies are important as our culture becomes more entrenched in portable technology.


What Do We Know about the Psychology of Doing "Work" Together?

March 18, 2020
1 p.m.

Most individuals spend the majority of their days doing work in a job. The vast majority of work performed in modern organizations involves coordinating efforts with coworkers (i.e., teamwork).  What does the existing psychological research say about how to make work and working with others more effective and more satisfying?  In this talk, Dr. Richard Deshon, Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University, will provide an overview of key results on work and working together from the broad discipline of Organizational Science including: team effectiveness, trust and cooperation, the challenges and opportunities of diversity in the workplace, the impact of the physical space on work, building purpose and meaning into the experience of work, and the impact of good and poor leadership.


Past Psychology Department Speaker Series videos











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