Ben Dyson, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons)
Pronouns: he / him
Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Psychology Dept
Area of Study / Keywords
decision-making games electrophysiology
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.
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/
Fall 2018 – current PSYCO 258 X01 (Cognitive Psychology)
Winter 2019 – current PSYCO 104 B2 (Basic Psychological Processes)
Principles and development of perception, motivation, learning, and thinking and their relationship to the psychological functioning of the individual. Fulfillment of the 1/4 laboratory credit typically entails serving as a research participant, but can be fulfilled through the completion of alternative assignments. Note: PSYCH 104 is not a prerequisite for PSYCH 105. PSYCH 104 and 105 can be taken in either term, but not in the same term. [Faculty of Science]
A survey of findings of theoretical issues in the study of cognition, such as perception, attention, knowledge representation, memory, learning, language, reasoning, and problem solving. Prerequisites: PSYCH 104 or SCI 100, and STAT 141 or 151 or 161 or SCI 151. [Faculty of Science]