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Fall 2007 Colloquium Series

September 12th

Speaker: Tom Strybel, Ph.D, Department of Psychology, Human Factors, California State University, Long Beach

Topic: Quantifying Situation Awareness of Airline Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers in Current and Future Air Traffic Management Systems

The Federal Aviation Administration forecasts that the demand for flying will increase significantly over the next two decades and it hopes to increase airspace capacity and put more airplanes in the sky through modernizing and automating much of the air traffic management system. Under the Next Generation Airspace Transportation System (NGATS), airspace operators (pilots and air traffic controllers) will assume new roles and responsibilities in reaction to a number of essential changes in air traffic management, and the introduction of new automation technologies to support these important developments.

Our work in the Psychology Department’s Center for the Study of Aeronautic Technologies (CSAAT) is supporting the human factors’ development and evaluations of these new roles and responsibilities in NGATS. We are measuring the impact of these new technologies on pilot and air traffic controller “situation awareness.” Situation awareness refers to the continuous perception and understanding of information in the operator’s environment, and the projection of this information to future events. Pilots call situation awareness “staying ahead of the aircraft”; air traffic controllers call it “having the picture,” or “knowing what you need to know so as not to be surprised.” Although the concept of situation awareness is intuitively obvious, valid and reliable metrics for situation awareness are lacking. CSAAT is currently leading a consortium of universities and private industry that works situation awareness in current and future NGATS air traffic management systems. I will present the present challenges we are facing in this project, present preliminary results form our first year activities, and, most important, solicit suggestions and feedback from faculty and students on how to quantify situation awareness.



September 26th

Speaker: Bita Ghafoori, Ph.D., Department of Educational Psychology, Administration & Counseling, California State University, Long Beach

Topic: Generalized Anxiety Disorder After the 9/11 World Trade Center Attacks

This presentation examines the relationships of past traumatci events, exposure to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 9/11-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in a systematic sample of 1,146 patients seeking care at an urban medical center in New York City ayear after the 9/11 attacks. Results suggested that Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) was more common for patients with 9/11-related PTSD and individuals who were exposed to pre 9/11 traumas. But, results also suggested that a number of 9/11-related events and pre-9/11 trauma events were predictive of GAD independent of the effects of PTSD. Taken together, these findings suggest that trauma exposure may have a cumulative effect, with increased taruma exposure leading to more difficulites. Implications of these findings will be discussed.



October 10th

Speaker: Elizabeth (Eliza) DelPizzo, Ph.D., BCBA, NCSP, Psychologist, Board Certified Bheavior Analyst, Nationally Certified School Psychologist, CHOC/UCI Neurodevelopment Programs

Topic: Autism Spectrum Disorders: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Elizabeth (Eliza) DelPizzo is a bheavioral psychologist at CHOC/UCI Neurodevelopmental Program: For OC Kids. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Dr. DelPizzo is a licensed psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania, and psychology licensure in the state of California is pending. Dr. DelPizzo holds a Professional Clear Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Psychology from the State of California.

Dr. DelPizzo will discuss the identification and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders, as well as behavioral treatments and behavior mangagment. Audeince questions about this developmental disorder will be answered.



October 24th

Speaker: Courtney E. Ahrens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach

Topic: To Tell or Not to Tell: Disclosure and Silence Among Sexual Assault Survivors

Sexual assault occurs at epidemic levels, but society is largely ignorant of the extent of the problem. Part of this lack of awareness stems from the silence that continues to surround such assaults. The current presentation will describe a series of three studies aimed at understanding disclosure and non-dislcosure among sexual assault survivors. The first study focuses on group of survivors who had never talked about the assault before participating in the study. Qualitative analysis of these survivors’ narratives suggested that high levels of fear silenced these survivors. The second study focuses on what happens when survivors dislcose.

Results suggested that friends and therapists provide the most helpful support, while romantic partners, family, and the police tended to engange in more harmful behavior. The third study focused on the health impact of different disclosure patterns. Results suggested that both non-disclosure and negative social reactions are related to higher levels of depression and PTSD, suggesting that survivors who fear negative reactions from others may be in a bit of a conundrum. The implications of these findings for future research and practive will be discussed.



November 14th

Speaker: Dr. Charles A. Weaver, III, Department of Psychology, Baylor University

Topic: Remembering Bad Things, Not Bad guys: Eyewitness Memory in Product Liability Cases

Expert testimony in eyewitness memory cases is now common, and a number of important general prinicples are well established. Eyewitness testimony is also critical in civil litigation, particular in product liability cases involving alleged exposure to toxic substances like asbestos. Witnesses in these cases must recall specific brands of products that may have been used decades earlier, and often do so following suggestive “memory refreshing” techniques. Our research looks at factors that influence that reliability of memory in product liability litigation.



November 19th

Speaker: Alison P. Lenton, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh

Topic: So Many Men, So Little Time: How People Choose Mates in the Modern World

In Shanghai, China in 2005, a speed-dating event attracted 5000 participants. Is having so many mate options a good idea? Three studies offer a complex answer to this question. In brief, their results indicated that -unlike in Iyengar & Lepper’s (2000) study of consumer choice- choice-related affect is unaffected by the number of mate options available. Choosers in the mate choice domain are protected from the affective downsides of too much choice because they use non-compensatory choice strategies when faced with many (vs. few) mate options (perhaps as a result of having ‘articulated preferences’ in this domain; Chernev, 2003). Many speed- and web-daters are likely to ‘winnow out winners’ (Edwards & Fasolo, 2001), thus making poorer overall choices.