Dr Mandy Robbins

Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Department of Psychology, School of Social and Life Sciences,
Wrexham Glyndŵr University, United Kingdom

Professor Mandy Robbins gained her first degree at the University of Wales, Lampeter in 1992 in Theology and Archaeology, her MPhil in Theology at Trinity College, Carmarthen in 1996, and her PhD in the Psychology of Religion at the University of Wales, Bangor in 2002.

In 2005 she completed a post-graduate diploma with the Open University in Psychology.In 2011 she obtained Chartered status with the BPS.Mandy is also qualified as an MBTI practitioner.She worked as a junior research fellow at Trinity College, Carmarthen 1995-1999.

From there she moved to the University of Wales, Bangor as teaching and research Fellow 1999-2007.In 2007 she moved to the University of Warwick as senior research fellow before moving in 2011 to Glyndŵr University as senior lecturer.

A generation of change - Thirty years of women in the Church of England: A study in the Psychology of Religion


In 1987 the first cohort of women were ordained as Deacon’s in the Church of England. Their ordination represented a radical and historic change in the nature and experience of ministry for the English Church. In 1994 the Church enacted legislation that admitted women to the priesthood. Over the course of this time two surveys of the clergywomen (n = 1,239 and n= 2,055) and one qualitative study (n=21) enable a detailed understanding of this remarkable group of women.  Using the lense of the psychology of religion this presentation will present findings from all three studies and ask how effective this has been for furthering our understanding of women in ministry.

Linda Doss Chrosniak

Associate Professor
George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Dr. Linda Chrosniak has been the Director of the Honors Program in Psychology at GMU since 2003. She received a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas and her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from The George Washington University. Her research interest include implicit and explicit memory processes, cognitive aging and, stress. More recently her interests have included the interactive effects of stress and cognitive processes as an influence on both physical and psychological health and on health behaviors.

Her published work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, Psychology and Aging, Journal of Geochemical Exploration, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Military Medicine and the Journal of Community Psychology.

She was the recipient of a University Teaching Excellence Award from George Mason University in 2000. She also received the Teacher of the Year Award from the GMU chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology in 2003 and 2005. She was also the recipient of the BIS Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in 2010.

Investigating  the influence of cognitive processes on  physical and psychological health:  Intervention and Application


Research in more applied settings may inform clinicians and researches on ways to assist individuals with health decision making.  Stress and cognitive processes have been shown to have an influence thinking patterns that relate to decisions about health behavior and overall well-being.  Studies with military nurses and homeless individuals will be discussed in this context.

Susanne A Denham

University Professor
Applied Developmental Psychology: Social and emotional development of children
George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Susanne A Denham has teaching and research interests which include basic processes of social-emotional development, social cognition, and social competence, particularly in young children, as well as developmental psychopathology (i.e., primary and secondary prevention of deviations from normal social-emotional development). Recently, her research has focused on the development of forgiveness in children, the measurement and assessment of social emotional skills, and the role of teachers in the socialization of a child’s emotions.

Early Childhood Teachers as Socializers of Young Children’s Emotional Competence


Children’s self-regulation of behavior, emotions, and attention, as well as their social cognitions, emotional competence, and positive social behaviors contribute to their early success in school. Research on parents’ roles in development of such social-emotional learning (SEL) shows that parents’ emotions, reactions to children’s emotions, teaching about emotions, and beliefs about emotions, all contribute to growth in preschoolers’ SEL. As children spend more and more time in preschool settings, we must also examine contributions of teachers to SEL development. In this presentation findings from a large-scale study of early childhood educators in the US show that in many respects, but not all, teachers socialize positive SEL, like parents, via positive emotions and reactions to children’s emotions, and teaching about emotions through storybooks and conversations. However, important differences reflective of the group classroom context also exist and will be discussed.

Learn more about Professor Denham at http://economics.gmu.edu/people/sdenham

James E Maddux

University Professor Emeritus
Department of Psychology Senior Scholar
Center for the Advancement of Well-Being
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Title of talk:  The Social and Cognitive Psychology of Clinical Perception and Judgement:  The Inconvenient Truth.


Research suggests that most mental health professionals believe that their training and experience make them less likely to commit the common errors in perceiving and judging their clients that are routinely committed by people without professional training and experience.  This talk will present research that also indicates that this belief is a "positive illusion" or myth and will discuss the inconvenient implications of this belief and ways to overcome it.

My major scholarly interest is the interface of social, clinical, and health psychology, which is concerned with the ways that theory and research from social psychology can help us understand psychological adjustment, psychological disorders, and health-related behavior. My professional mission is to enhance well-being around the world through the promotion of psychological science.”

Learn more about professor Maddux at http://psychology.gmu.edu/people/jmaddux.

George Dragoi, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience

Dr. George Dragoi is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT.

He graduated Special Education at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania. Also, he holds M.D. degree from the Gr. T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Iasi, Romania and Ph.D. degree in Behavioral and Neural Science from Rutgers University where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. GyorgyBuzsaki. He completed his postdoctoral studies at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Dr. Susumu Tonegawa.

Dr. Dragoi studies the neurophysiological basis of the organization of hippocampal neurons into cellular assemblies and their dynamic grouping during novel spatial exploration and in response to long-term synaptic plasticity. Recently, he revealed the existence of preconfigured cellular assemblies that pre-play in time the spatial sequences occurring during a future novel spatial experience in naive animals.

Dr. Dragoi’ current research focuses on the role of neuronal activity and prior experience in cellular assembly organization and animal learning with implications for our better understanding of neuropsychiatric diseases.

Welcome to the Dragoi Lab

Our cognitive life depends on our ability to generate internal representations of the external world. Internal representations can be driven by the external stimuli (e.g., perceptions) or can be internally-generated in their absence (e.g., imagining, memory). The dynamic interplay between externally-driven and internally-generated representations is thought to be disrupted in neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease. The long-term goal of the lab is to map and dissect the neural circuits and decipher the neuronal codes underlying the formation of internal representations within hippocampal-neocortical networks that support innate and learned behavior, with implications for our understanding of neuropsychiatric diseases.

Learned information is not encoded in isolation, but is integrated within a network of preexisting knowledge stored in patterns of neuronal ensemble functional connectivity. Our immediate goal is to investigate:

  1. How these patterns emerge and develop
  2. How are they utilized in behavior
  3. How are they disrupted in neuropsychiatric diseases

The hippocampus, a brain structure initially implicated in rapid learning and formation of episodic memory, is now recognized to encode internally-generated spatial-temporal sequence representations. Its dysfunctions have resulted in anterograde amnesia, impaired imagining of new experiences, and hallucinations. Achieving our goal will be facilitated by our use of electrophysiological recordings of ensembles of neurons in behaving mice and rats, optogenetic manipulation of neurons, optical imaging of neuronal ensembles, and computational methods for decoding neuronal population activity.

Welcome to the Dragoi Lab