Join the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology on Thursday, April 3, 2014 for the James McGill Speaker Series in Educational and Counselling Psychology for
Dr. Joshua Buckholtz, Harvard University
Bad Genes, Bad Moms, and Bad Brains: A Casual Biology of Poor Self-Control
From deciding between a cupcake and a carrot to choosing a retirement fund, we’re all faced with the need to delay gratification in order to achieve long-term goals. While everyone indulges temptation occasionally, highly impulsive people consistently make immediate-focused choices with serious adverse consequences. Impulsivity is a stable trait that is associated with profound individual dysfunction and impairment, and causes significant financial costs society-wide. While we know that "bad genes" and "bad environments" can account for most of the variability in impulsivity, the specific systems-level neurobiological mechanisms through which these factors act to affect behavior are poorly characterized. Using a combination of pharmacological, genetic, and multi-modal brain imaging approaches, I will provide evidence that specific "bad genes" (MAOA, DRD2, and LEPR) selectively disrupt information processing within brain circuits for emotional arousal and reward motivation. Finally, I will show that a specific "bad environment" (childhood maltreatment) is associated with dysfunction in these same circuits, possibly accounting for observed gene-by-environment interactions in risk for psychiatric disorders characterized by poor self-control.
To share the poster (.pdf) for this event, please click on the following link: Dr. Joshua Buckholtz - April 3, 2014.pdf
A wine and cheese will be held following the talk.