Special Event

Solving Big Problems: Berkeley Psychology in the 21st Century

Part of the celebration of Berkeley Psychology’s 100 Year Anniversary

Recorded on April 27, 2022 as part of an ongoing series of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Psychology Department at UC Berkeley, this video featured talks by three UC Berkeley Psychology faculty members: Professors Robert Knight, Sheri Johnson, and Jason Okonofua. The presentation was moderated by Serena Chen, Professor and Chair of Berkeley Psychology, and includes remarks by Raka Ray, Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences at UC Berkeley, and Carol Christ, Chancellor of UC Berkeley. The cutting-edge research of each of these faculty and their students uniquely illustrates how psychological science can contribute to solving a broad range of big problems at both the individual and societal levels.

Physiology of Human Cognition: Insights from Direct Brain Recording with Implications for Health and Disease

Bob KnightHow do we think, remember, speak, and socialize? Discovering the physiological substrate of these human behaviors presents one of the great scientific challenges of the 21st century. Evidence obtained from electrodes inserted into the human brain for treatment of medication refractory epilepsy provides unprecedented insight into the electrophysiological processes supporting human behavior. In this talk, Professor Bob Knight, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, reviews findings with implications for understanding brain function in health and how these findings might be used for development of neuroprosthetic devices for treatment of disabling neurological disorders.

Understanding and Managing Impulsivity

Sheri JohnsonFor decades, scientists have considered the role of impulsivity in contributing to mental health and behavioral outcomes. In the last 20 years, researchers have shown that one form of impulsivity—the tendency to engage in rash and regrettable behavior during states of high emotion—is particularly related to poor outcomes. In this talk, Sheri Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, reviews some of the outcomes tied to this form of impulsivity, and highlights new treatment development work.

Sidelining Bias: A Situationist Approach to Reduce the Consequences of Bias in Real-World Contexts

Jason A. OkonofuaBias and bias-reduction have become ubiquitous topics of research, policy, and practice. In this talk, Jason A. Okonofua, Assistant Professor of Psychology, introduces an approach to study and mitigate societal consequences of bias that begins with the presumption that people are inherently complex, that is, including multiple, often contradictory patterns of selves and goals. When we conceptualize the person this way, we can ask when biased selves are likely to emerge and whether we can sideline this bias—alter situations in potent ways that elevate alternative selves and goals that people will endorse and for which bias would be non-functional. My research shows how sidelining bias has led to meaningful improvements for thousands of individuals in real-world outcomes, including higher achievement and reduced school suspensions for youth and recidivism to jail for youth and adults.

Learn more at https://ls.berkeley.edu/psychology-celebrates-100-years.

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