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.

A general population study of Brazilian lottery players who engage in ‘Jogo do Bicho’ (Brazilian Animal Game) and their motivations

Jogo Do Bicho, also known as the Brazilian Animal Game (BAG), is an immensely popular illegal gambling game in Brazil. Indeed, BAG generates over 60% more in revenues than legal lotteries. This is a concern as the revenue from BAG is used to fund criminal activities. Further, draws for BAG occur more frequently than the official state lotteries, which may increase the probability of an individual developing a gambling addiction. Unfortunately, there have only been a few research studies on BAG, which have focused on gamblers in treatment who make up a small portion of gamblers overall.

Neural and autonomic correlates of post-traumatic stress disorder during processing of trauma-related stimuli

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) emerges after the exposure to an event that elicits horror or helplessness, including threat of injury or death to one's self or another person. Community-based studies have evaluated its occurrence with a lifetime prevalence of 9.2% in the Canadian population. This research project aims to develop innovative, neural-substrate based, and novel theoretical paradigms for understanding psychological trauma and its clinical outcomes, including problems in emotion regulation, self-awareness, social emotional and self-referential processing.

Perception and Action interactions (New)

The influence of experience on visually- and haptically-guided grasping.
Because the visuomotor system must update information, moment to moment, as the body and the visual world moves, it has been considered to operate ?online,? and its computations are performed without conscious awareness. Some studies however, have shown that reach-to-grasp movements are susceptible to the influence of practice or experience. In one study we showed that awkward grasps (grasps made using the thumb and ring finger) are initially sensitive to a visual illusion.

Global Special Interest Group (SIG) on Early Identification and Intervention in Autism

The project title is the Global Special Interest Group (SIG) on Early Identification and Intervention in Autism. Formed in 2012, the aim of this project is to enhance research impact in diverse communities through the iterative and dynamic process of knowledge translation: the synthesis, dissemination, exchange, and application of knowledge to improve quality of life for people affected by autism. The SIG is a knowledge translation network which brings together over 100 researchers, clinicians, and advocates from over 20 countries.