PsychFest Event Information

What is PsychFest?

PsychFest is an annual event that takes place at the end of spring quarter to give psychology and behavioral neuroscience students an opportunity to present their scholarly efforts in a supportive, low-pressure environment, which can help students develop public speaking skills necessary to excel in a graduate program or a post-baccalaureate career. 

PsychFest 2024: Friday, June 7

Hamlin Headshot

Keynote Presentation: Friday, June 7, 2024

Title of Presentation: The infantile origins of human morality: Studies with preverbal infants and toddlers.

Presenter: Dr. J. Kiley Hamlin (she/her), University of British Columbia

Dr. Hamlin is a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, and formerly held a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychology. She received her doctorate from Yale University in 2010, and her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in 2005. Her work explores the earliest developmental origins of the human moral sense, by examining precursors to moral cognition and action in preverbal infants. She is currently on the editorial boards of InfancyCognitive DevelopmentChild Development Perspectives, and Cognition, and is the Communications Chair for the International Congress for Infant Studies. Dr. Hamlin runs the Centre for Infant Cognition at UBC, and is a member of the Early Development Research Group, a consortium of six research centers interested in the development of language, learning, and social understanding in infants and children.

About the Keynote Presentation: How do humans come to have a “moral sense”? Are adults’ conceptions of which actions are right and which are wrong, of who is good and who is bad, who deserves praise and who deserves blame wholly the result of experiences like observing and interacting with others in one’s cultural environment and explicit teaching from parents, teachers, and religious leaders? This talk will explore evidence that, on the contrary, infants’ and toddlers’ social behaviors and social preferences map surprisingly well onto adults’ moral ones. Within the first year of life, infants prefer those who help versus harm third parties, and those who reward prosocial individuals and punish wrongdoers; these evaluations appear to focus on the intentions that drive others’ actions rather than the outcomes that result from them. Recent results with 5-day-old newborns suggest that even they distinguish prosocial from antisocial acts and prefer prosocial ones. Together, these results suggest that the human moral sense is supported, at least in part, by extremely early-developing mechanisms for social evaluation. 

For more information about PsychFest, please consult with your faculty research mentor. You may also contact a member of the PsychFest Committee:

  • Jennifer Devenport
  • Michael Warren
  • Ruth Hackler
  • David Sattler
  • Larry Symons

We are grateful to our annual PsychFest Sponsors!

Past PsychFest Keynote Speakers

2023 - Dr. Maddy Jalbert, University of Washington. Title: Exploring Why We Fall for Misinformation and What We Can Do About it

2022 - Dr. Chantel Prat, University of Washington. Title: Peer Interactions in the Digital World

2021 - Dr. Kristina Olson, Princeton University. Title: Gender Diversity in Childhood

2020 - Dr. Brian Nosek, University of Virginia. Title: Shifting Incentives from Getting it Published to Getting it Right

2019 - Dr. Amori Mikami, University of British Columbia. Title: Peer Interactions in the Digital World

2018 - Dr. Melissa Tehee, Utah State University. Title: Understanding and Addressing Trauma in a Cultural Framework

2017 – Dr. Jessica Tracy, University of British Columbia. Area: Social/Personality. Title: The Nature of Pride: The Emotional Origins of Social Rank

2016 – Dr. Ryan Reese, Oregon State University, Cascades. Area: Counseling. Title: From Western to Faculty Member:  Key Learnings on Becoming a Researcher-Practitioner 

2015 – Dr. Andrea Stocco, University of Washington. Area: Cognitive/Neuropsychology. Title: Manipulation and Representation of Symbolic Knowledge in the Human Brain

2014 – Dr. Kevin Haggerty, University of Washington. Area: Developmental/Clinical. Title: Power of Family to Promote Well Being: Results from the Family Connection Studies

2013 – Dr. Izabella Schultz, University of British Columbia. Area: Clinical. Title: Mental Disorders and Work

2012 – Dr. Eric Eich, University of British Columbia. Area: Cognitive/Neuropsychology. Title: Remembering the Personal Past from Field and Observer Perspectives

2011 – Dr. Edith Chen, University of British Columbia. Area: Health/Developmental/Neuropsychology. Title: Psychobiological Pathways linking SES to Childhood Asthma

2010 – Dr. Cheryl Kaiser, University of Washington. Area: Social/Cross-cultural. Title: Group Identity and Experiencing Discrimination

2009 – Dr. Ross Thompson, University of California, Davis. Area: Developmental. Title: Parent-Child Conversation and Psychological Understanding