Ben Dyson, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons)

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Psychology Dept

Pronouns: he / him

Contact

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Psychology Dept
Email
bjdyson@ualberta.ca

Overview

Area of Study / Keywords

decision-making games electrophysiology


About

I graduated from York University, UK, in 2002 after completing my thesis on auditory cognition and went on to a postdoctoral fellowship position at the Rotman Research Institute, Canada (2002-2004) to learn about event-related potentials (ERPs). My first academic position was at the (then) Department of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK (2005-2008). I returned to Canada to work at Ryerson University, Toronto for six years (2008-2014). I then returned to the (now) School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK (2015-2018), only to come back to Canada to work at the University of Alberta in Summer 2018.



Research

There are a number of serious and playful situations where an organism must repeatedly compete with others for mutually-exclusive outcomes: there will be only one Prime Minister or President, only one winner at Blackjack, only one bird able to forage nectar from any given flower. Across these difference domains, there will be differing proportions of skill and luck that should determine the extent to which we take responsibility for the outcomes we experience: in a strategic environment we must know when our losses were due to lack of knowledge about our opponent and know to do better; in a random environment we must know when our wins were due to luck and know not to make too much of it. My research examined how competitive states are represented in the brain, and how these initial states serve as a catalyst in determining future behaviour. Many of our studies involve individuals playing simple competitive games against different kinds of opponents, as a controlled way to study these mechanisms. Outside of the laboratory, we think about the implications of this research for individuals exhibiting problem gambling and the ownership of negative thoughts that are often at the heart of generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Visit the Re:Cognition Lab web site here http://sites.psych.ualberta.ca/recognitionlab/


Teaching

Fall 2018 – current PSYCO 258 X01 (Cognitive Psychology)

Winter 2019 – current PSYCO 104 B2 (Basic Psychological Processes) 


Publications

Switching competitors reduces win-stay but not lose-shift behaviour: The role of outcome-action association strength on reinforcement learning.

Author(s): Srihaput, V., Craplewe, K. & Dyson, B. J.
Publication Date: 2021
Publication: Games
Volume: 11
Page Numbers: 25

Variability in competitive decision-making speed and quality against exploiting and exploitable opponents

Author(s): Dyson, B. J.
Publication Date: 2021
Publication: Scientific Reports
Volume: 11
Page Numbers: 2859

A micro-genesis account of longer-form reinforcement learning under structured and unstructured environments

Author(s): Dyson, B. J. & Asad, A.
Publication Date: 2021
Publication: Science of Learning
Volume: 6
Page Numbers: 19

Behavioural and neural limits in competitive decision making: The roles of outcome, opponency and observation

Author(s): Dyson, B. J., Steward, B. A., Meneghetti, T. & Forder, L
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: Biological Psychology
Volume: 149
Page Numbers: 107778

Behavioural and neural interactions between objective and subjective performance in a Matching Pennies game

Author(s): Dyson, B. J., Musgrave, C. Rowe, C. & Sandhur, R
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: . International Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume: 147
Page Numbers: 128-136

Behavioural isomorphism, cognitive economy and recursive thought in non-transitive game strategy

Author(s): Dyson, B. J.
Publication Date: 2019
Publication: Games
Volume: 10
Page Numbers: 32

Failure generates impulsivity only when outcomes cannot be controlled

Author(s): Dyson, B. J., Sundvall, J., Forder, L. & Douglas, S.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume: 44
Page Numbers: 871-884

The contribution of perceptual factors and training on varying audio-visual integration capacity

Author(s): Wilbiks, J. M. P. & Dyson, B. J.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume: 44
Page Numbers: 871-884

Does the brain’s reward response occur even without actual reward? A response to Fielding, Fu & Franz (2017).

Author(s): Dyson, B. J., Forder, L. & Sundvall, J.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Journal of Gambling Studies
Volume: 34
Page Numbers: 953-961

Serial dependence in audition: Fast, free and featureless?

Author(s): Dyson, B. J.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Trends in Cognitive Science
Volume: 21
Page Numbers: 819-820

Behavioural and neural modulation of win-stay but not lose-shift strategies as a function of outcome value in Rock, Paper, Scissors

Author(s): Forder, L. & Dyson, B. J.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Scientific Reports
Volume: 6
Page Numbers: 33809

Negative outcomes evoke cyclic irrational decisions in Rock, Paper, Scissors

Author(s): Dyson, B. J., Wilbiks, J. M. P., Sandhu, R., Papanicolaou, G. & Lintag, J.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Scientific Reports
Volume: 6
Page Numbers: 20479