A UWinnipeg graduate, Travis Todd (BAH, Psychology, 2007), has won a prestigious New Investigator award from the American Psychological Association, the world’s largest association of academic and applied psychologists with about 137,000 members. Travis recently completed his PhD at the University of Vermont in Dr. Mark Bouton’s laboratory.
The award was granted for a 2013 paper published in one of APA’s flagship journals. The paper demonstrated that learned actions that are no longer reinforced (i.e.,extinguished) and suppressed in one context tend to recover or relapse in a new context. A series of experiments isolated the specific type of association that is learned during extinction; a finding that has implications for treating such problematic behaviors as drug addiction and gambling.
Travis credits Doug Williams of UWinnipeg’s psychology department for introducing him to the research area that eventually led to his PhD and the award, and for Doug’s sage advice in considering schools for graduate study. NSERC-supported for more than 20 years with over $643,000 of funding, Doug studies the basic learning mechanisms that underlie fear and anxiety, mechanisms that are fundamental to explaining and treating some of people’s most debilitating psychological disorders.
Travis also credits his graduate school success with the very strong and demanding Honours Psychology program at U Winnipeg, a program that gave a sound foundation in the practice of psychological science, including statistics, and many opportunities to interact closely with faculty in seminar classes and on research projects. These experiences were ideal preparation for graduate school.