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Events

Psychological and Behavioural Science Events 

The Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science hosts a range of events, from large public lectures to smaller internal seminars, across a broad spectrum of topics. Unless otherwise stated, our events are free and open to all.

We aim to inform and stimulate conversation
Dr IlkaGleibs 200x200

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students 

Speaker; Dr Ilka Gliebs, London School of Economics and Political Science  

Ethical Challenges in Online Research
  
New technologies like large-scale social media sites (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) and crowdsourcing services (e.g., Amazon Mechanical Turk, Crowdflower, Clickworker) are impacting social science research and providing many new and interesting avenues for research. The use of these new technologies for research has not been without challenges, and a recently published psychological study on Facebook has led to a widespread discussion of the ethics of conducting large-scale experiments online. Surprisingly little has been said about the ethics of conducting research using commercial crowdsourcing marketplaces. In this talk, I focus on the question of which ethical questions are raised by data collection with crowdsourcing tools and social media sites. I briefly draw on the implications of Internet research more generally, and then focus on the specific challenges that research with crowdsourcing tools and social media faces. I identify fair pay and the related issue of respect for autonomy, as well as problems with the power dynamic between researcher and participant, which has implications for withdrawal without prejudice, as the major ethical challenges of crowdsourced data. Furthermore, I wish to draw attention to how we can develop a “best practice” for researchers conducting online research. 



When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday October 3rd, 2018
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Mario

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students 

Speaker; Mario Macis, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School 

Ethical Concerns and the Reach of Markets: A choice experiment on Americans’ views about paying kidney donors 

There is  lively public debate on legalizing payments for kidney donors and I will present on a choice expriment I conducted  to examine preferences for legalizing payments to kidney donors.

There is no evidence regarding the sources of aversion to legalizing donor compensation among the general population, and on whether opposition is absolute (i.e., paying donors violates sacred values) or, conversely, people would accept a paid-donor system if it produced large enough organ supply gains. We found strong polarization, with substantial shares of respondents in favor or against payments regardless of potential supply gains. However, about 20% of respondents would switch to supporting payments for large enough supply gains. Preferences for compensation have strong moral foundations. Respondents especially reject direct payments by patients, which they find would violate principles of fairness. We corroborate the interpretation of our findings with the analysis of a costly decision to donate money to a foundation that supports donor compensation. Policy implications of our findings include that pilot studies of compensation to organ donors should be conducted to produce evidence on the potential effects on the number of transplants. Without this evidence, a large share of Americans would lack a crucial element to guide their preferences.


When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday October 10th, 2018
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Thomas Ryan

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students 

Speaker; Tomás Ryan, Trinity College Dublin

Learned and Innate Information Storage in Memory Engrams

How are memories stored in the brain as information? Memory engrams are the hypothetical storage sites of learned information. According to memory engram theory, learning induces persistent changes in a specific group of brain cells that retain information and are subsequently reactivated upon appropriate conditions, resulting in memory recall. Though the engram concept has intuitive appeal, experimental limitations have prevented it from being directly tested. 

Over the past five years, the ability to label, observe, and manipulate specific neuronal ensembles in an activity-dependent manner has allowed us to identify components of specific memory engrams in the brain. I will describe the early development of engram technology and how it enables us to label sparse populations of brain cells that are both sufficient and necessary for the recall of specific memories. I will then present our more recent research on engram plasticity, in order to demonstrate how engram technology can be applied to progressive investigation into the neurobiology of memory storage.

I will then present a novel theory of stable information storage through the formation of a distributed and hierarchical circuits composed of specific engram cell connectivity patterns. I will describe a recent departure, investigating how engram formation is modulated by development from infancy to adulthood. Finally a will propose a new evolutionary framework where engram formation may influence the evolution of innate, instinctual information representations (ingrams) in the brain. A case will be made for the informational equivalence of memories and instincts, and the resultant implications for biological and cultural evolution will be discussed. 

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday October 17th, 2018
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Kim peters

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students 

Speaker; Kim Peters, University of Queensland

Causes and Consequences of Gossipers’ Lies

Within the body of cultural knowledge there are ample warnings about the dangers of attending to gossip. Such warnings are also present in the academic literature, where it is assumed that people will share inaccurate gossip for their own selfish purposes, such as undermining enemies, competing for mates or promoting allies. However, this assumption, if true, presents a challenge to the growing body of work that argues that because gossip is a ready source of accurate reputational information it is able to bolster overall levels of cooperation. In this study, we test this inaccuracy assumption by examining the frequency and form of spontaneous lies shared between gossiping members of networks playing a series of one-shot trust games. We manipulate whether gossipers are or are not competing with each other. We show that lies make up a sizeable minority of messages, and that they are twice as frequent under gossiper competition. However, this has no discernible effect on trust levels. We attribute this to two factors. First, some lies are welfare enhancing, and may serve reputational functions more effectively than truth does. Second, targets of gossip are insensitive to the existence of lies and are more trustworthy than they need to be. These findings suggest that lies need not prevent — and may even help — gossip to serve reputational functions.


When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday October 24th, 2018
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Sheehy-Skeffington_200x200

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students 

Speaker; Dr. Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, London School of Economics and Political Science 

Inequality All Around Me: Egalitarians Are More Attentive to Inequality-Related Information in Everyday Life

Studies of the consequences of perceiving economic inequality tend to focus either on correlates of inequality measured at the state level, or responses to explicit inequality-related information given in an experimental set up. I will present on a set of studies that attempts to capture attention to inequality-related information as encountered in a more naturalistic setting, and the role of ideological bias therein. Across five studies, we found a general pattern in which those high in egalitarianism are more likely than those low in egalitarianism to notice cues of inequality (e.g., expensive clothing, dilapidated housing) in photographs of everyday urban scenes. This pattern was found regardless of whether people were asked to describe abstract (‘your impression’) or concrete (‘three features’) aspects of each image, though the nature of the responses for each condition was different. It is also selective to inequality: egalitarians did not list a greater number of cues overall, and were not more attentive to cues concerning another social issue (environmental damage) from a matched control set of images. Participants also reported on the wealth levels of the neighbourhoods through which they travelled on their daily commute to work—a subjective measure of exposure to inequality in everyday life. We compared this to an objective measure of exposure to inequality, obtained from participant-uploaded Google Maps images of their commutes, which we geocoded and matched with census data on poverty and income. Despite the absence of ideological differences in objective exposure to inequality, egalitarians reported seeing more inequality-related scenes on a daily basis. This research suggests that the same set of everyday information about inequality is more visually salient to those who oppose (vs. support) inequality in the first place.

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday October 31st, 2018
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Lotte_Thomsen#2

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Lotte Thomsen, University of Oslo

Innate Primitives of Politics and Intergroup Relations

Political attitudes and discussions concerning rights and obligations are underpinned by relational motives for dominance & status, reciprocity & fairness, and community & loyalty. These fundamental, universal social relationships coordinate meaningful social interaction and are irreducible to the individuals agents enacting them. They are also critical vehicles of cultural and moral socialization because all young children, and other cultural newcomers, must discover who has what kind of relationships with one another - who is friend or foe, who is boss or peer - and what this means for the ways in which people will, and ought to, interact. Dominating, leveling, and coalitional actions also have deep evolutionary roots and carry important fitness benefits. Together, this suggests that humans may have evolved core representations and motives for dominance/prestige, equality/reciprocity/fairness, and community/coalitions. Here I present evidence that preverbal infants represent social dominance and expect the more formidable agents to win zero-sum conflicts; that 2-year-olds prefer individuals who win zero-sum conflicts when others defer and yield before them, but not those who must retort to physical violence to have their way; and new results that preschool and preverbal boys, but not girls, prefer members of large groups over members of small groups. I will also present recent evidence that 9-month-old, but not 8-month-old, infants represent direct reciprocity and expect agents to return a favor under resource scarcity: and that preschool children (and possibly preverbal infants) use gratitude as a cue for future reciprocal altruism.

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday November 14th, 2018
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Jet sanders

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Dr. Jet Sanders, London School of Economics and Political Science 

Weekly Cycle of Decision Making 

The weekly cycle is normally seen as the backdrop against which human affairs unfold. Here I present findings which show that this backdrop itself shapes our thinking in important ways. Lab experiments, opinion polls, and crime statistics suggest that decision making varies through the week with serious implications in health, economic, and political domains. For example, data from the Scottish Independence Referendum shows that when in the week an election is held could determine its outcome. Understanding these systematic fluctuations in the weekly cycle that could allow us to make better predictions, help us allocate resources, and make smarter decisions. I present preliminary results which show that we can use the weekly cycle to influence behaviour and save public money, and explore what it is about the weekly cycle which may be causing these effects. 

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday November 21st, 2018
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

220px-Jonathan_Haidt_2012_03

The Behavioural Science Hub
Public event 

Speaker; Jonathan Haidt

 The Coddling of the American Mind

When: 18:30-20:00, Friday November 23rd, 2018
Where: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Bangerter_Adrian2x

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Adrian Bangerter, Université de Neuchâtel

Shared intentionality, joint commitments and joint action in humans and great apes

While cooperation is widespread in the animal kingdom, fully-fledged joint action is unique to humans. Joint action involves shared intentionality, or the ability to envision one’s individual actions as part of a larger endeavour, as well as a reciprocal, or joint commitment to furthering that endeavour. In this talk, I will describe the interpersonal processes by which people enter into, maintain, suspend, reinstate, and exit from joint commitments. I will focus on suspending and reinstating joint actions to deal with interrupting events. Suspending and reinstating joint actions involves two main constraints: tracking the common ground between participants and managing the social relations that may be threatened by the interruption. I will present experimental and field data to illustrate these processes, and discuss the extent to which our closest relatives, the great apes, exhibit a sense of commitment when engaging cooperative actions. 

When: 16:00-17:00, Tuesday November 27th, 2018 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

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London PUS Seminar 
Public event 

Speaker; Hauke Riesch, Brunel University

The End: Science, Risk and Prophecy

The sense that the world is in a period of crisis is often exemplified through apocalyptic narratives on a variety of flashpoints: climate change, environmental degradation, political and economic collapse, increased international tensions, the rise of populist and nativist politics in the US, Europe, Russia and elsewhere, renewed threats of nuclear war, and international terrorism. 

However, apocalyptic and millennial narratives that expect an imminent end have a long tradition in Western culture, and the world has, of course, not ended yet. This talk will trace and map the narrative connections between the traditional religious accounts of apocalypse and how the current world-wide crises are talked about, with specific emphasis on technologically mediated potential catastrophes: environmental crisis, nuclear annihilation and climate change. Millennial narratives include not only dire warnings about a catastrophic future, but also offer chances of redemption and hopes of a possible better world.

When: 16:15, Wednesday November 28th, 2018 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 

Olga-Kostopoulou2x

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Olga Kostopoulou, Imperial College London

Debiasing in Action: Decision Support for Medical Diagnosis

People are known to formulate hypotheses quickly and with little information. I will present evidence from the medical domain, where early hypotheses can influence the subsequent diagnosis and management of patients, and can lead to missing serious disease. I will discuss a possible mechanism underlying this phenomenon, namely, predecisional information distortion. Based on this research, I proposed that diagnostic reasoning needed to be supported early in the clinical consultation, before physicians settle on a focal hypothesis. To achieve this, we presented physicians with a list of diagnostic alternatives to consider at the start of the clinical encounter, before they elicited further information. We tested this intervention both in low and high-fidelity simulations. We consistently found more accurate diagnoses compared to unaided controls. We are currently exploring the possible psychological mechanisms that explain how the DSS influences physicians’ thinking, as well as its potential impact on the dynamics of the clinical consultation.

When: 16:00-17:00, Tuesday December 4th, 2018 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

rachel spicer2x

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Rachel Spicer, The London School of Economics

From Biology to Religious History - A Data Scientist’s Journey 

Data science has been described as ‘the sexiest job of the 21st century’ and ‘the best job in America’. However there is a lot of burnout and misconception about what data science actually is. In this seminar I will talk about my path from biology into data science and my current work with the database of religious history. I will also discuss research I conducted during my PhD that used open metabolomics data and metascientific approaches.

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday December 12th, 2018 
Where: LSE, KSW.2.02 *please note room change 

Wandi.Bruine-de-Bruin

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Leeds University Business School

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday January 16th, 2019 
Where: LSE, CLM.3.02 * please note room change 

Stuart_Ritchie2x2

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Stuart Ritchie, Kings College London

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday January 23rd, 2019 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Professor Paul Dolan

Book Launch
*Public event

Happy Ever After 

Speakers; Paul Dolan, Tali Sharot

When: 18:30-20:00, Thursday January 24th, 2019 
Where: Old Theatre, Old Building 

constantine_sedikides2x

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Constantine Sedkides, University of Southampton

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday January 30th, 2019
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

jeroen nieboer

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Jeroen Nieboer, London School of Economics / Financial Conduct Authority

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday February 6th, 2019
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Rosa_Hartmut2x

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Hartmut Rosa, University of Jena

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday February 13th, 2019 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Rita-Astuti

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Rita Astuti, LSE Anthropology

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday February 27th, 2019 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Genga

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker;  Dr. Genga Shreedhar, London School of Economics

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday March 6th, 2019 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Mark

Joint PBS and Management Event
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker;  Mark Brandt, Tilburg University

When: 15:00-16:00, Monday March 11th, 2019 
Where: LSE, Graham Wallace Room

ayse-uskul

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Ayse Uskul, University of Kent

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday March 13th, 2019 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Lawrence Barsalou 2x

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students 

Speaker; Lawrence Barsalou, University of Glasgow

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday March 20th, 2019 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29 

Lasana_Harris

PBS Research Seminar Series 
*Internal event for LSE staff and students

Speaker; Lasana Harris, University College London

When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday March 27th, 2019 
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29