Newsletter Article

Live from Kane Hall, it's the Edwards Lectures!

Edwards Lecture at Kane Hall
Photo of a large lecture hall filled with attendees

After a two year hiatus, on April 27 and May 4, hundreds of attendees gathered in Kane Hall for the 15th Annual Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lectures.

On April 27th, Drs. Geoff Boynton (UW) and Marvin Chun (Yale) discussed what functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can reveal about the neural underpinnings of attention and reading in the human brain. First, Dr. Boynton discussed what neuroscience can tell us about reading--namely, how reading, a serial process, works within the framework of vision, a parallel process, and what the role of attention is in this interplay. During his lecture, Dr. Boynton presented Psychology Department Chair Cheryl Kaiser with a 3-D printed model of her brain, generated from a scan taken during a visit to the Center for Human Neuroscience MRI facility. Afterwards, Dr. Chun took the stage and explained the context behind advances in neuroimaging--how scientists went from mapping to decoding to predicting brain activity and function. Ultimately, Dr. Chun explained, scientists are hoping that future advances in neuroimaging will allow for more personalized medical treatments and a more nuanced understanding of each individual's unique brain function.

On May 4th, Drs. Nicole McNichols (UW) and Meredith Chivers (Queen's University, Ontario) took the stage and challenged commonly held assumptions about sexual desire and response and sex education. Listening to Dr. McNichols's lecture was like taking a crash-course of her wildly popular PSYCH 210 Human Sexuality course. We learned about how Gen Z thinks about sex, relationships, intimacy, dating, and how McNichols goes about teaching sex education in a way that resonates with students from a variety of backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. Dr. Chivers's talk focused on deconstructing the notion that "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" when it comes to sexual arousal. According to Dr. Chivers, in order to understand the relationship between gender/sex and sexual response, researchers need to look at similarities, differences, and complexities in sexual arousal and response.

The 16th Annual Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lecture will take place in Spring 2023, featuring two UW faculty and two visiting faculty. If you weren't able to attend the lectures in person, recordings are available online here:  15th Annual Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lectures.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back next year for another round of fascinating psychology lectures!