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Developmental Psychology

Rita Vuyk Lectures

Developmental Psychology

Since January 2009 the department of Developmental Psychology has been organizing the "Rita Vuyk Lectures".

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These lectures are in honour of prof.dr. Margueritha Vuyk. She was the first full professor in Developmental Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. See the Album Academicum of the University of Amsterdam for more information.

Album Academicum of the University of Amsterdam

These monthly lectures will have a diverse character with a wide range of eminent speakers and could be of interest to both students and employees from all departments. Here, the dates, speakers and topics for the Rita Vuyk lectures are listed.

For upcoming lectures see below. For a full overview see the Archive.

Cancelled: Tuesday 28th of May, Dr. Szymon Wichary, Leiden University

How does arousal impact decision processes?

Research in psychology and neuroscience provides a rich amount of data on the ways in which humans make decisions. Behavioural studies on multi-attribute choice show that in order to overcome limitations in time, knowledge and cognitive abilities, people often use heuristics - simple strategies that require little information to make choices. I will present studies investigating how arousal, and the neural systems governing it, shape decision strategy use. In study 1, I induced arousal with highly-aversive pictures presented before each of a number of four-alternative choice problem. Self-reports and skin conductance data indicated that emotionally aroused participants focused on the most important information and selected simpler decision strategies relative to less aroused participants. This supports the hypothesis that attention narrowing is induced by highly aversive pictures and leads to limited predecisional information processing. In study 2, I used EEG to investigate the relationship between the use of decision strategies, focusing on P300 ERP, which is modulated by locus coeruleus (LC) – a brainstem nucleus governing arousal. I showed that participants that prefer simpler decision strategies show lower P300 amplitudes in general, and also show substantially decreasing P300 amplitudes to consecutive decision cues. Based on these combined findings, I outline a mechanistic model of decision strategy selection that links decision strategies with neural signals.

This lecture is hosted by Marieke Jepma