Canadian Positive Psychology Association

Webinar Series

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 from
08:00pm to 9:00pm EST

Topic: Building supportive relationships at work using the Feedforward technique
Presenter: Associate Professor Marie-Hélène Budworth

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Feedback does not work, at least not the way that we think it does. Managers assume that performance reviews allow employees to correct their behaviour and improve their performance. However, research tells us that in 2/3 of controlled studies people's performance either does not change or declines after receiving performance feedback. We also know that managers do not like to have performance management conversations with their direct reports. Yet, many of the tools and techniques that we use to manage performance rely heavily on feedback systems. In this webinar, Marie-Hélène Budworth, Associate Professor in the the School of Human Resource Management at York University, will review the use of feedback as a developmental tool outlining what we know and what we don’t know. She will introduce the principles of the Feedforward Interview, an alternative performance management tool where participants focus on future performance rather than past errors. Finally, she will provide evidence of the utility of Feedforward based on her own research.


Marie-Hélène Budworth is an Associate Professor in the the School of Human Resource Management, York University. Her areas of expertise include motivation, learning, and development. Dr. Budworth has published in a range of academic journals and published book chapters on topics such as employee motivation and coaching.

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
8:00pm to 9:00pm EST
Topic: Tales from the Chilterns: a story of a Canadian doing her MAPP in the UK
Presenter: Kimberley Wakefield

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Kimberley will be sharing her experience and the highlights of her journey in taking the MAPP in the UK. She’ll talk about the latest and greatest in what is taking the Positive Psychological research world by storm with a bit of a European perspective. She’ll also share a bit about her work on her dissertation which is an autoethnographic study in the field of Posttraumatic Growth and if you want to find out more tune in! 


Kimberley Wakefield is in the final stages of completing her Master’s in Science in Applied Positive Psychology at Bucks New University, in the UK. She is also a certified coach, positive psychology enthusiast, avid soccer player, single mom of two plus pets. Her background is in marketing and communications having worked in corporate, agency and not-for-profit arenas. She holds an MBA from Dalhousie University in Halifax and her undergraduate alma mater is McGill University in Montreal. Last year she was the Chair of Marketing for CPPA’s conference and was integral in helping “Bridge Canadian Wellbeing”.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019
8:00pm to 9:00pm EST

Topic: The brain and obesity: What can we learn from neuroscience to help treat and prevent obesity
Presenter: Cassandra Lowe

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Despite ongoing efforts, the obesity pandemic still remains a significant challenge for researchers, clinicians, and policy makers. While obesity is a complex disease, sustained overconsumption of hyperpalatable calorie-dense foods is thought to be the primary factor underlying the development of obesity. In this talk, I will outline how individual differences in brain function, particularly within the prefrontal cortex, can increase individual susceptibility to diet-induced obesity. Specifically, I will present evidence demonstrating how variations in activity within this brain region can increase the likelihood of overconsumption, especially in facilitating environments. Further, I will discuss how we can leverage these findings to develop “brain-based” preventative and treatment options, such as aerobic exercise and mindfulness-based strategies. Such “brain-based” interventions may be key to reducing obesity prevalence world-wide.


Dr. Lowe is currently a BrainsCAN Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Psychology, Brain and Mind Institute at Western University, London Ontario. She received her PhD in Public Health and Health Systems from the University of Waterloo in 2017. Dr. Lowe’s research uses a combination of neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI), neuromodulation, and exercise methods to (1) assess the neurocognitive mechanism underlying obesogenic eating patterns, and (2) can we target these mechanisms to improve dietary choices. Together, this line of work has provided important insight into the extent to which consumptive behaviours are regulated by the prefrontal regions of the brain.

Monday, March 4th from 8pm to 9pm EST
Topic: A Framework: How Intentional Building Design Can Promote Heath & Well-Being
Presenter: Whitney Austin Gray

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Whitney Austin Gray, PhD, LEED AP, WELL AP, WELL Faculty

Dr. Gray brings over a decade of expertise as an international leader in the intersection of health and built environment. At Delos, she leads the Delos Insights team focused on conducting industry research and supporting industry adoption of healthy building practices. She led the development of the first case studies focused on the WELL Building Standard, and helped to launch over 100 educational and training sessions related to WELL in over 25 countries, reaching over 15,000 design and health professionals.

Prior to joining Delos, Dr. Gray served as the Health Research and Innovation Director for Cannon Design, a global healthcare design firm, where she oversaw the company’s primary and secondary research, prototyping and innovation platforms. Before her tenure with Cannon Design, she led building science research at the MedStar Institute for Innovation. She holds dual appointments as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Georgetown School of Nursing & Health Studies and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. 

Join us for this informative webinar, focused on the role of building design on mental health and well-being. The WELL Building Standard is the first building certification system in the world specifically tied to promoting health and well-being. Dr. Whitney Gray, who leads Delos Insights, will present the health research that informs the WELL Building Standard as well as discuss specific examples of design strategies linked to mental well-being.

Wednesday, February 20th 2019
8:00pm to 9:00pmEST
Topic: Distal and Proximal Predictors of Daily Compassionate Action

Presenter: Myriam Mongrain

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Myriam Mongrain is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at York University. Professor Mongrain was born in Quebec and is fluently bi-lingual. She is a graduate of McGill University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California at Davis. She is an active clinician and researcher. Her research has focused on the role of emotional dependence and self-criticism in the occurrence of major depression and ways to ameliorate these personality traits. Recently, she has looked at positive psychology and examined the effect of interventions such as the practice of compassion, gratitude and optimism in large community samples. These interventions have been administered online and found effective in reducing depression. She has been looking for lawful relationships between individual difference variables and resilience boosting exercises.

Major Objectives of Presentation:
The literature suggests universal tendencies towards prosocial behavior. “Born to be good” (Goetz, Keltner, & Simon-Thomas, 2010; Keltner, 2009), biological and environmental theories have emphasized an innate capacity for human goodness (e.g. Wilson, 2015; Zaki & Mitchell, 2013). Yet findings in the literature also suggest important variations among individuals in the propensity for compassionate responding. This presentation will discuss distal predictors (e.g. personality traits associated with deficits in prosociality), and proximal (i.e. situational parameters) associated with compassionate action. The content will also include facilitative skills (e.g. feeling safe, high self-efficacy and high autonomy) empirically associated with these responses. Illustrations using preliminary results of a study using ecological momentary assessment platform capitalizing on smart phone technology will be presented.

Significance of this work:

Basic questions around situational parameters within which compassion unfolds in daily life requires greater empirical attention. The innovative use of smart phone technology represents a promising and ecologically valid approach to the study of this phenomenon. The unique contribution of this work will be to delineate meaningful individual differences in the expression of compassionate responding and its consequences for providers. The findings are essential for the development of effective interventions that will facilitate these behaviors and enhance subjective well-being.

Tuesday, January, 15th 
8:00pm to 9:00pmEST
Topic: Power and the Power of Apologies in Understanding Post-Transgression Responses
Presenter: Professor C. Ward Struthers

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Webinar Description: 
Social bonds are crucial for the survival of human beings. However, in the process of developing and maintaining relationships, people commit transgressions that jeopardize their social bonds. In this talk, I will show how, why, and when victims’ social power influences their motivation to seek revenge, harbour a grudge, or forgive transgressors following a transgression. This research is important because it demonstrates that victims and transgressors can play an active role in the reconciliation process.


C. Ward Struthers is a professor of psychology at York University in Toronto Canada where he has worked since 1996. He received his PhD from the University of Manitoba in 1995 and was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1994 until 1996. He was the recipient of the Department of Psychology Undergraduate Teaching Award in 1999 and the Faculty of Graduate Studies Teaching Award in 2010. For the past 25 years, his program of research has primarily focused on answering three questions. What intrapersonal psychological factors associated with victims of a transgression might influence their decision to seek revenge, harbor a grudge, or forgive? What interpersonal factors associated with transgressors might influence victims’ post-transgression responses? What psychological mechanisms can explain why the intrapersonal and interpersonal factors influence victims’ post-transgression responses? His research is relevant to a broad range of interpersonal relationships including romantic, familial, friendship, and coworker, and timely, real world issues including relationship satisfaction.

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