Following tradition, Psychfest is an all-day event during which second-year Master’s students, as well as new PhD students, present their research to the entire department. It’s the only opportunity for students to share their work with everyone in the Psychology department, so it’s a rare and exciting occasion for each student.

Psychfest 2017 will be held May 4/5. This year’s theme is RealTalk. It’s a catchy reminder that we are keeping the emphasis on the quality of the Psychfest presentations themselves. Presenters are being encouraged to keep their talks professional, dress for the occasion, and use it as a “dress rehearsal” for conferences and other research presentations in their futures. In addition to professionalism, we are also emphasizing minimalism and environmental-friendliness, which means that we are keeping all materials (including the brochure with abstracts) online and waste-free.

Please REGISTER for Psychfest here, especially if you plan to have any food!

Keynote: Thursday, May 4, 12:30-2pm (CIRS 1250)

Dr. Jim Coan, University of Virginia

The Social Regulation of Emotion: Neural Effects and Potential Mechanisms

High quality social relationships help us live longer, happier, and healthier lives–facts that hold true, as far as anyone knows, regardless of geography or culture. Although links between relationships and health have been observed for decades (if not millennia), the mechanisms responsible for them remain speculative. For this talk, I’ll first describe our work on one of these potential mechanisms: social regulation of the brain’s response to perceived threat. Next, I’ll offer a perspective–derived initially from our social regulation results–that integrates the study of social relationships with principles of behavioral ecology and cognitive psychology to propose that social relationships are construed by the brain as bioenergetic resources available to the self. Because of this, proximity to social resources economizes both current and predicted cognitive and bodily effort, a process that can diminish subjective stress, improve health, and prolong life.

* Note: There will be a student lunch with Dr. Coan either before or after his presentation, and a faculty dinner that evening. Please contact Siba ( if you are interested in meeting Dr. Coan at either of these meals or on an individual basis. 

Psychfest talks: Friday May 5, 10am – 50:30pm (WOOD 6)

Fifteen-minute time slots have been allotted for each presenter. The presentations themselves will be 7 minutes long, with 2-minute introductions from supervisors and 3-to-4-minute Q&A periods at the end of each one.

Schedule of events

10:00 – 10:15 am   Coffee & Simple Breakfast (provided; please RSVP)

  • 10:15   Zak Witkower (Social; Jessica Tracy)
  • 10:30   Kevin Roberts (Cognitive; Rebecca Todd / Alan Kingstone)
  • 10:45   Adri Khalis (Clinical; Amori Mikami)
  • 11:00   Siba Ghrear (Developmental; Susan Birch)
  • 11:15   Debra Bercovici (Behavioural Neuroscience; Stan Floresco)
  • 11:30   Bradford Morrison (Social; Peter Suedfeld / Del Paulhus)

11:45 am – 12:00 pm   Grad & Undergrad Awards & Honours

12:00 – 12:45 pm    Lunch (provided; please RSVP)

  • 12:45  Chelsea Christie (Health; Frances Chen)
  • 1:00    Nada Alaifan (Cognitive; Peter Graf)
  • 1:15    May Luu (Clinical; Sheila Woody)
  • 1:30    Bill Chen (Quantitative; Victoria Savalei)
  • 1:45    Shun-Fu Hu (Developmental; Janet Werker)
  • 2:00   Cindel White (Social; Ara Norenzayan / Mark Schaller)

2:15-2:30pm   Break

  • 2:30   Brandon Tomm (Cognitive; Jiaying Zhao)
  • 2:45   Theresa Pauly (Health; Christiane Hoppmann)
  • 3:00   Ryan Tomm (Behavioural Neuroscience; Kiran Soma / Stan Floresco)
  • 3:15   Rachele Benjamin (Social; Steven Heine)
  • 3:30   Serene Qiu (Clinical; David Klonsky)
  • 3:45   Ru Qi Yu (Cognitive; Jiaying Zhao)

4:00-4:15pm   Break

  • 4:15    Ryan Dwyer (Social; Elizabeth Dunn)
  • 4:30   Sheri Choi (Developmental; Janet Werker)
  • 4:45   Patrick Laflamme (Cognitive; Jim Enns)
  • 5:00   Nicole Jenni (Behavioural Neuroscience; Stan Floresco)
  • 5:15   Mario Ferrari (Clinical / Cognitive; Luke Clark)

5:30pm  Psychfest Awards & Closing Remarks

And then...     On to the Suedfeld Lounge for BOH (and pizza if you RSVP)!

Past Psychfest themes:

2016: the 90s
2015: Villans
2014: Game shows
2013: Classic videogame characters
2012: Hollywood/Celebrities
2011: Monster Mash
2010: Rockstar
2009: Star Wars/Star Trek
2008: Austin Powers
2007: SuperPsychfest (Superheroes)
2006: Mardi Gras Style