Cross-cultural perspectives and experiences of food addiction

Researchers have recently proposed the concept of food addiction, postulating that certain foods can provoke addictive symptoms, similar to drugs of abuse. Current understanding of food addiction is, however, limited by a paucity of qualitative research examining the validity of this construct, and of cross-cultural research examining how food addiction is experienced in non-Western societies. The present cross-cultural qualitative study will address these issues by comparing and contrasting experiences and definitions of food addiction between Brazilian and Canadian individuals.

The effects of culture on spontaneous use of spatial navigation strategies

Cultural neuroscience is based on the theory that different values and behavioral practices across cultures influence information processing as well as neural structures. More specifically, it has been proposed that individualistic Westerners have an increased sensitivity to process central objects; while interdependent East Asians based on their collectivist culture have a tendency to process information holistically with attention to contextual cues. In India, urbanization and economic growth has led to the coexistence of collectivist and individualistic framework.

Optimizing the Delivery of Programs to Immigrants through Targeted, Mixed, and Universal Services

Drawing from immigrants‟ and service providers‟ experiences, the current project will explore what type of programming for immigrants is best suited to be delivered through universal (non-targeted programming), targeted (programming specifically for immigrants), or mixed services, so that these programs are most effective and well-utilized.

Developing Practical Tools for Increasing Health Literacy Related to HIV

Since low health literacy is associated with poor health outcomes (e.g., poor management of chronic diseases – like HIV), which impacts the cost of healthcare in Canada, the current project aims to mitigate the effects of low health literacy. A recent report released by the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) highlighted that considering health literacy skills of health care providers is equally important as the users of information.

Improvisational Training in the Workplace and Beyond

Corporate improv training is becoming a popular and effective method for enhancing a host of workplace skills such as leadership, communication, problem solving, collaboration, and adaptation. However, there is a lack of empirical research looking at the cognitive impacts of improv training in the workplace. As such, I am proposing to conduct a twelve-week improv training program with a targeted group of Vancity employees, with two specific objectives in mind.

Evaluation of Systemic Implementation of Collaborative and Proactive Solutions for Improving the Well-being of Students at Risk and Their Teachers

One in five youth exhibit maladaptive (i.e., externalizing, oppositional, explosive, aggressive) behaviours. These behaviours are costly in that they are linked to elevated levels of student, teacher, and familial stress. Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS), developed by Dr. Ross Greene (project collaborator) at Harvard University, teaches individuals to explore cognitive, emotional, social, and learning challenges to better understand factors that underlie problem behaviours that when targeted improve child outcomes.

UTSC/MHS/RREES Inter-disciplinary Assessment & Rehabilitation Centre for Excellence

The purpose of the funding is to provide initial support towards the establishment of an Inter-disciplinary Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre for Excellence. This center will be initiated between the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), Multi-Health Systems (MHS), Rehabilitation Research, Education and Evaluation Services (RREES), with consultation and data collection support by RTW Integrated Health Management (RIHM).

Cortical Changes Linked to Semantic Integration

In this project, we will use computerized games to teach second language material to adults. We will use neuroimaging and eye-tracking (a measurement of a person’s eye movements, which can provide information about reading and the processing of language). Adult learners will complete a 5-day game-based second language-training program. Their brain activity and eye movements will be monitored while they perform reading and auditory language tasks, before and after training.

Reproducibility of diffusion MRI white matter structural connectome

The ensemble of the human brain wiring configuration is known as the connectome. Using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, we can approximate the connectome and use it to increase our understanding of normal function and of neuro-diseases. However, the complex interactions between each steps from brain images to the final wires give rise to many potential sources of error. Using an array of modern simulations of these steps, we will study and disentangle the effect of their interactions to increase the accuracy of the connectome estimation in humans.

Exploring subliminal processing using instrumental hypnosis

Cognitive scientists typically divide cognition between controlled and automatic processes. This framework construes controlled processes as being voluntary and effortful and automatic processes as involuntarily and effortless. Automatic processes are therefore considered outside the scope of voluntary control. Undermining this notion, studies show that hypnosis – an enhanced form of mental absorption and self-regulation – can actually suppress automatic response. Hypnosis therefore provides a mean to alter mental processes that appear immune to cognitive control.