Monday, 10 November 2014

Visiting speaker: Denis O'Hora, NUI Galway

Title: Can how we choose tell us about why we choose?

Speaker: Denis O'Hora, NUI Galway

Time and Location: Thursday, Nov 20, 4:00pm, room VG02.

Dr O'Hora will outline recent research on the action dynamics of choice and decision-making. When cognitive processes occur alongside observable actions, it is possible for characteristics of these processes to influence the ongoing performance of those actions.  That is, cognitive processes may 'leak' into motor processes. Anecdotally, negotiators and poker players claim to be attuned to ‘tells,' early behavioural indicators of eventual decisions. Going beyond intuitions, however, several researchers have exploited fine-grained measures of behaviour to highlight the effects of online cognitive processing. In Dr O'Hora's research, participants make simple choices using a computer mouse, which provides a rich semi-continuous stream of action information. By tracking 'how' participants make their decisions, it is possible to infer characteristics of participants' evaluations of the alternatives available to them.  He will summarise recent findings from his laboratory and some of the novel analytic techniques that he and his collaborators have developed.

Denis O’Hora graduated from University College Cork in 1998. He began his postgraduate work at UCC before moving to the National University of Ireland Maynooth in 1999 to complete his studies with the support of a Government of Ireland Scholarship. In 2002, he took up a lecturing post in London Metropolitan University where he worked for a year before being appointed as a lecturer in behaviour analysis at the University of Ulster. During his time at UU, he was part of the course team that developed the first Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis on the island of Ireland, which was supported by an International Development grant from the Society for the Advancement of Behaviour Analysis (SABA). He was also awarded a Crucible fellowship by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, for his work promoting psychology. He was appointed to his post in the National University of Ireland, Galway in January, 2007. He is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow in the British Psychological Society (BPS)

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