Dr. John Evenden
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Temple University Medical School
Department of Psychology
Thursday, March 21, 2013
215 Tolentine Hall
"Analyzing Impulsive Decision Making in Animals and Humans"
Impulsive behavior – we all think we know it when we see it, but one person’s foolish impulsive act is another’s generosity or taking advantage of an opportunity. And are we all talking about the same behaviors or psychological processes when we discuss impulsivity? This talk will review some of the themes emerging from 20 years of Dr Evenden’s research on impulsive decision making in animals and human beings. Impulsivity is a multi-faceted psychological construct which can affect our behavior from a response taking a few milliseconds to our entire lifetime. It can be a source of great joy or lead us into a cycle of despair and addiction. Experimental studies in animals and man help to dissect impulsivity, and identify some of the biological mechanisms which can contribute to impulsive behavior. Such translational research can also provide clues how to exploit the advantages of studies in rats and human patients to improve our understanding of this important aspect of our identities as human beings.
John Evenden did his PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge in England. After Postdocs at Harvard University Medical School, and University of Cambridge, he moved to the pharmaceutical industry. He spent 20 years in drug discovery research in England, Sweden and the USA, working on antidepressants and cognitive disorders. His main research interest has been in animal models of psychiatric disorders. While in Sweden, he obtained a doctoral degree at Uppsala University, based on his pioneering studies on impulsive behavior in rodents. While in Cambridge, Dr Evenden was also instrumental in the creation of the CANTAB computerized neuropsychological test battery. When he left industry in 2008, he combined his preclinical research interests and test design skills to start a new business, WiltonLogic LLC, to develop methods for testing impulsivity and cognitive function in healthy volunteers and patients. Dr Evenden is currently Adjunct Professor in the Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Temple University Medical School, and Dept of Psychology, Villanova University.