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Psychology Colloquia

The Department of Psychology at the University of Montana is pleased to present Colloquia featuring students and faculty. Colloquia provide a medium for members of the Department to learn of the scholarly contributions and achievements of both students and faculty. Further, the Colloquia provide students with a unique opportunity to practice and prepare for future conference presentations and "job talks" in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Speakers are recruited primarily from the Department of Psychology at the University of Montana. Occasionally, we will also invite and host presentations by speakers external to the Department.

The colloquia are organized by Daniel J. Denis. Please contact for speaker recruitment, bookings, as well as general comments and suggestions regarding the Colloquia. 

Update, September, 2011: We are currently not running monthly colloquia. However, if you have a topic or presentation you'd like to give to our group, please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss options with you for a presentation to our faculty and students.  


Recent Colloquia . . .

Friday, April 22, 2011 - Christopher Bushard, M.A. 

Title:Using an Attribution Model to Predict Help-Giving of Observers of Bullying Episodes

10:00am - 11:00am, 103 NAC.  


Student attitudes regarding bullying are mixed. Although most students appear to condemn the behavior (Boulton & Underwood, 1992), a sizable minority group displays beliefs and attitudes supportive of bullying (Rigby & Slee, 1991; Rigby & Slee, 1993). Previous research has also found that students involved in bullying situations can be categorized into different roles based on their behaviors during a bullying episode (Samivalli, Huttunen, & Lagerspetz, 1997). One established way to measure attitudes and thoughts about other’s actions is to use an attribution framework. Weiner (1995) proposes an attribution model in which the observer’s thoughts about another’s responsibility in a given situation give rise to feelings (pity or anger), which in turn give rise to subsequent behaviors. Numerous studies have found these affective responses to be particularly powerful indicators of subsequent help-giving (for a meta-analytic review, see Rudolph, Roesch, Greitmeyer, & Weiner, 2004). In a sample of 411 undergraduate college students, responses on victim perceived responsibility, sympathy, anger, and intentions of helping the victim were obtained for two vignettes depicting an incident of bullying. In one of the bullying vignettes, the victim’s responsibility of being involved in the bullying situation is explained as not being in their control whereas, in the other vignette, it is not apparent to the reader who is responsible for the bullying episode. Participants also answered questions about their own roles in bullying incidents when they were in middle school. Results indicated that there were significant mean difference in participants’ judgments of responsibility, sympathy, anger, and intentions of helping the victim based on the information included in the vignette. It was also found that participants’ judgments of sympathy toward the victim significantly mediate the relationship between their judgments of victim responsibility for being in the bullying episode and their intentions of helping the victim in the situation. There were also differences found in the attribution model based on the participants’ self-reported roles in previous bullying situations. Implications for future research and intervention strategies are further discussed in this paper.

Monday, March 7, 2011 - Laura John, BA.

Effects of Stereotype Activation on Self-Concepts:  Differences between Native American and Caucasian college students
3:00pm, 105 NAC.


Prior research has shown that when individuals are exposed to stereotype activation (SA) mechanisms, such as priming, their subsequent behavior often conforms to stereotypical expectations. Previous studies have focused on measuring stereotype activation primarily with manipulations of task completion after subjects are exposed to a prime. This study intended to expand the current research by exploring the effect of SA on an individual’s self-concept. Research was conducted with Native American and Caucasian college students using an ethnicity salient questionnaire as a means of SA. Participants then completed self-report measurements associated with Native American stereotypes. It was hypothesized that priming Native American ethnicity would sway the participants’ to report self-concepts that were parallel to Native American stereotypes. It was expected to stimulate change for Native American students, but would have no effect on Caucasian students. Results indicated, however, that the priming manipulation caused stereotype disconfirmation in Native American participants, with mixed effects for Caucasian participants. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - Nicholas Heck, MA.
Offsetting Risks: High School Gay-Straight Alliances and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Youth

4:10pm, 201 NAC.


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are at risk for engaging in negative health behaviors and for experiencing at-school victimization. Specific benefits of attending a high school with a gay-straight alliance (GSA), including lower levels of suicidality, have been published; however, it is unclear whether GSAs are related lower levels of problematic substance use, depressive symptoms, and psychological distress. Using a convenience sample of 145 18-20 year old young adults recruited from college and university organizations for LGBT students, we examined whether attending a high school with a GSA was related to more positive school experiences and mental health outcomes for LGBT individuals. After controlling for childhood abuse histories, the population of the city or town where participants attended high school, the safety for and acceptance of LGBT people in the communities where participants attended high school, and sexual orientation, the results indicated that youth who attended a high school with a GSA report significantly more favorable outcomes related to school experiences, alcohol use, depressive symptomatology, and general psychological distress. These results suggest that LGBT youths’ experiences in high school may have implications for psychosocial adjustment in young adulthood. In addition, the results provide additional evidence to suggest that high school GSAs may serve as a protective factor for sexual minority youth. The implications of the findings will be discussed as they relate to school psychologists. Important limitations of this study will be reviewed. 

09 November 2010 - Janelle Gornick, MA.

28 September 2010 - Noah Baker, MA.

07 May (Friday) 2010 - Joanne Davis, PhD., Associate Professor at the University of Tulsa. Director of the Trauma Research: Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment Center (TRAPT Center) and co-director of the Tulsa Institute of Trauma, Abuse, and Neglect. Author of Treatment Post-Trauma Nightmares: A Cognitive Behavioral Approach, published by Springer.

Title: "Treatment for Chronic Nightmares in Trauma Exposed Persons:  From Case Study to Randomized Clinical Trial (X3)"

4:10pm, CHEM 123.

04 May 2010 - Alex Nicholson, U.S. Army Veteran.

Title: "Ask Not," a documentary on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy of the military, focusing on those who have been affected by DADT.

4:10pm - 6:00pm Skaggs 169 (in the south-facing part of the new addition of Skaggs)


Alex Nicholson, an Army Veteran ejected from the military due to DADT, will be here to speak about his experiences and to do a Q&A session after the film. Alex is featured in the documentary, and he is also Executive Director of Servicemembers United, which is actively working on changing U.S. military policy regarding DADT. It is possible that Jarrod Chlapowski, an Arabic linguist (also in the film, and co-director of Servicemembers United) will be there as well).

This film screening and discussion session is being sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies Program at UM and by Servicemembers United.

13 April 2010 - Tom Seekins, Rural Institute of Montana.

Title: "Approaches to Grant Writing and Other Strategies for Funding Research: An Introduction to Sources of Funding."

4:10pm, 304 OLD Journalism Building (right across from Skaggs).

Presentation Slides     Sources of Funding     Common Mistakes in Grant Applications

23 March 2010 - Joy Gabrielli, Emily Lund, & Rosemary Hughes, University of Montana.

Title: "Interpersonal Violence and Disability: A Research Update."

4:10pm, 304 OLD Journalism Building (right across from Skaggs). 

23 February 2010 - Geniel Hernandez Armstrong, Department of Psychology, University of Montana

Title: "Influence of Children on Decision-Making for Women Experiencing Violence."

4:10pm, Room 316 Don Anderson Hall.


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) occurs in 10-69% of the world’s population (World Health Organization, 2002). Women are at much greater risk of experiencing IPV than men. Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse has a psychological impact, not only upon the individual, but on family members and future inter-familial generations as well.  The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as feelings of helplessness and emotional numbing may impede a woman’s decision making and help-seeking activities. Additionally, it has been found that about half of women who experience abuse have children (Little & Kantor, 2002), and that children witnessing IPV are at a greater risk for abuse, behavioral problems, and psychological problems (cf. Haight, Shim, Linn, & Swinford, 2007; Owen, Thompson, & Kaslow, 2006; Pawelko & Koverola, 2007). Despite the prevalence and known risk factors of IPV there is still a need to explore a woman’s process of leaving a violent relationship. Given that women who experience IPV often have children, it is important to understand the influence children have on a woman’s decision to stay or leave a violent relationship. The following study uses both quantitative and qualitative data to addresses how women consider their children in their decision making processes. In order to control for possible confounding effects of age differences, analyses of covariance were conducted on data collected from 388 women who had experienced IPV. Women with children were compared to women without children while statistically controlling for age. Results indicate that women with children (n = 190) spend significantly longer periods of time in violent relationships (p < .001) and endure a higher frequency of severe violence (p < .05), as measured by the Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, 1979), than women without children (n = 198). Two-hundred semi-structured interviews from the 388 participants were analyzed using NVivo8 computer software (2008), inter-rating reliabilities, and grounded theory. Themes which emerged from the qualitative analysis indicate that women with children remain in violent relationships to maintain their family or provide a father figure for their children, for financial security, due to feelings of guilt, to keep custody of their children, for the physical safety of their children, and due to pregnancy. When explaining reasons that they left their relationship women with children described the following themes: a desire to remove their children from exposure to violence, wanting to provide a better life for their children, feelings of guilt, wanting to maintain custody of their children, fear that their children would learn violence, to ensure the physical safety of their children, due to pregnancy, and for the psychological well-being of their children. A model of the stay-leave decision making process was derived from the themes that emerged. This model of decision making incorporates the stages of change, feminist theory, and self-regulation theory. The qualitative analysis and resulting model indicate that social expectations are highly influential in women’s decision making processes. As women progress toward the decision to leave a relationship, it appears that social roles and expectations become less influential and the effect of violence on children becomes more important to women. This model suggests that changes in goals may be an important factor in ultimately leaving a violent relationship. The implications of these findings for clinical practice and prevention of violence are addressed in this presentation.

24 November 2009 - Casey Ruggiero, University of Montana

Title: "Explanatory Models of Depression: Influences on Self-Efficacy, Self-Stigma, Causal Beliefs & Treatment Preference."

4:10pm, CLAP Building, Room 131.

10 November 2009 - William Shunkamolah, University of Montana

"Coping with the Death of a Family Member: An Exploration of American Indian People's Experience."

 4:10pm, CLAP Building, Room 131.

29 September 2009 - Loretta L. Bolyard, University of Montana

"Genetic deletion of CB(1) receptor signaling impairs learning, memory, and anxiety-like behaviors in mice."

4:10pm, GBB 108.

The endocannabinoid (eCB) system is composed of two receptor subtypes (CB1 and CB2) in the central nervous system, as well as several known endogenous ligands. The cannabinoid receptors are likely one of the most abundant G protein receptors in the brain. Several converging lines of evidence support a role of the eCB system in the modulation of learning, memory, and anxiety-like behaviors. The purpose of this research is to explore the role of the eCB system in age-related cognitive processes and anxiety-like behaviors. The current design employs the use of genetically modified mice lacking the CB1 receptor (CB1-/-) to determine if age-dependent differences exist in a variety of behavioral paradigms, including the Morris Water Maze (MWM), Light-Dark Box (LDB), and Open-Field tasks. Our findings demonstrate differences between wildtype (CB1+/+) and CB1-/- mice in their ability to acquire a MWM spatial learning task, regardless of age. Furthermore, our data does not support the notion that CB1-/- mice perseverate to the previously learned platform location during reversal learning, thus contradicting previous evidence. With respect to anxiety-like behaviors within the LDB, the time spent in the lit compartment was significantly decreased in young, mature, and old CB1-/- mice relative to age-matched controls, and the mature and old CB1-/- mice made fewer crossings into the lit region. Age-dependent differences were not observed in the Open-Field task, which suggests that the observed differences in both the MWM and LDB may be related to an enhanced anxiety response rather than pure cognitive impairment. Electrophysiological studies are currently underway in order to elucidate further the role of the eCB system in age-dependent learning and anxiety-like behaviors. This study has important implications for neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

22 September 2009 - Richard F. Catalano, Ph.D., University of Washington

"Using Prevention Science Research to Promote Community Well-Being" (hosted by Department of Sociology)

3:00pm, Social Sciences Building, Room 262.

Dr. Catalano is the Bartley Dobb Professor for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Director of the Social Development Research Group in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington.  His work has focused on discovering risk and protective factors, designing and evaluating programs to address these factors, and using research to improve prevention services.  His researched-based prevention strategies have been implemented and tested in communities across the U.S. and are currently being used in the Missoula area.  He is the recipient of accolades and awards from criminologists, prevention scientists, and practitioners. 

Dr. Catalano will talk briefly about the work of the Social Development Research Group but spend most of the time answering questions.  All are welcome but his presentation is aimed primarily at faculty, graduate students, researchers, and upper division undergraduate students.

Dr. Catalanos visit is sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Social Science Research Lab.  For further information, contact Professor Dan Doyle at 243-5912 or dan.doyle@umontana.  See the Social Development Research Group website at

15 September 2009 - Kelly Kozslowski, M.S., Texas A & M University

"Moving Forward with School Counselors" (hosted by Department of Counselor Education, University of Montana)

3:45pm - 5:00pm, Gallagher Business Building Room L14

Colloquia Archive . . .

This section is currently under construction, as a list of past colloquia is currently being compiled and will appear shortly.

last revised 16 September 2011

Psychology Colloquia is maintained by Daniel J. Denis, Associate Professor of Quantitative Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Montana. Please address all inquiries to

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