The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series

February 25, 2021 - 1:00pm
Virtual via Zoom

What factors might cause people to experience gaps between their aspirations and their actual outcomes for their health, wealth, and education goals? 


Dr. Daphne Oyserman will discuss identity-based motivation theory, a social psychological theory of motivation that provides a useful predictive framework to understand what factors might matter in people’s perception of outcomes. People interpret their experiences of ease and difficulty based in part on which identities are on their minds and what these identities seem to imply at the moment. Evidence suggests that identities are not fixed but dynamically constructed in context. Oyserman will present theory and experimental evidence from school-based intervention research. Undergraduates, community members, counselors, and teachers can support student change in each of these elements of identity-based motivation with resultant changes in end of year school grades and risk of course failure.

Register here


December 7, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Virtual via Zoom

How can we best understand and respond to environmental emergency-related contamination events such as hurricanes in Texas and North Carolina, large-scale chemical fires and flooding?

The complexities of hazardous chemical exposures, potential adverse health impacts, and the need to rapidly and comprehensively evaluate complex mixtures call for novel approaches. This presentation will describe the efforts of the Superfund Research Center at Texas A&M University that is developing exposure and hazard assessment tools that can be used by the first responders, impacted communities, and government agencies. Register Here.

November 6, 2020 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Virtual via Zoom

Life is filled with highs and lows, and the way we retain these events in our memories can have important implications for our mental health and overall well-being. How might the experience of emotion affect the likelihood that we remember an event and the types of details we remember about the event?

How might the effects differ with age? What are some of the important differences in the ways that older vs. younger adults remember emotional life events?
Dr. Kensinger will address these questions and describe how an expanded model of emotional memory that she and her colleague Jaclyn Ford have developed—a model that emphasizes the role of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex in adjusting the narrative framing and affective tone of a memory—may elucidate.


October 16, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Virtual via Zoom

It can take 17 years to turn 14 percent of research innovations to the benefit of patient care, potentially wasting millions of dollars of scientific investments into effective interventions that could ultimately benefit patients. Implementation science is the study of strategies that support health care providers and organizations in improving uptake of effective interventions into routine care settings.

This talk will cover recent advances in implementation science, notably pragmatic study designs for comparing different implementation strategies that empower frontline providers to adopt and adapt effective interventions, with a focus on reducing health disparities and improving outcomes for vulnerable populations including those with mental disorders in community-based practices. 

February 20, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) Room S330

Dr. Carol Boyd will discuss the health implications of stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizer misuse among adolescents in context to current drug use trends.


Deborah J Oakley Professor Emerita Director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health in
the School of Nursing Research Professor Emerita in the Addiction Center University of Michigan


Registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to sign up.



February 18, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) Room S330

The Impact of Language Brokering on Mexican American Adolescent Immigrants and their Families


Dr. Su Yeong Kim will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of language brokering as it relates to parent-child relationships and outcomes on children’s adjustment in terms of stress, academic success, and health


Registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to sign up.

Video of Lecture available here.

January 30, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) Room S330

Understanding and Addressing Racial Disparities in Pain and Pain Treatment


Dr. Burgess will discuss racial disparities in pain and pain treatment, in the context of the opioid epidemic.


Registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to sign up.

December 5, 2019 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) Room S330












MATERNAL MORTALITY: How big a problem is it?


In the past several years a great deal of media attention has been paid to the rising rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. As one of the authors of the research paper that helped launch the national debate over maternal mortality, Dr. Declercq will discuss how it came to be seen as a problem, why it’s both a bigger and smaller challenge than the public and policymakers understand, and why current efforts to address it may not succeed.

Registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to sign up.

March 19, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Room S330, Life Science Laboratories

March 19, 2019 - 12:00 to 1:30 pm

The ability to generate positive emotions serves the adaptive function of enhancing psychological resources necessary for coping with stressors in daily life. Dr. Delgado will present behavioral and neuroimaging data that suggests the recall of positive memories is intrinsically valuable to an individual and can influence emotion and decision making. He will also discuss the restorative function of self-generated positive emotions in coping with acute stress.

February 28, 2019 - 2:30pm to 4:00pm
Room 160E, Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst

February 28, 2019 - 2:30pm to 4:00pm

Social science genomics is an emerging enterprise that involves using molecular genetic data to address social science questions. The field seems to be entering a new age with the advent of polygenic scores. Dr. Freese will define polygenic scores, why scientists are confident that they work in ways that previous approaches did not, and discuss what sorts of social science questions they may address. Dr. Freese will emphasize why polygenic scores are valuable for social science questions that do not involve genes per se. He will discuss polygenic scores in the context of the troubled history of invocations of genetic differences in social life, as well as concerns about ways that genetic information may be used now or in the near future.