PSYCHOLOGICAL & BRAIN SCIENCES
Jen McDermott UMass Learning Lab
Maureen Perry-Jenkins Work and Family Transitions Lab
the Healthy Development Initiative
The Healthy Development Initiative, a recent addition to the PBS research effort, consists of UMass scientists and students who discover and share new knowledge about human development. They do this in collaboration with community partners who put this knowledge to work. They conduct research, education and outreach projects regarding human development across the lifespan.
Their Mission: We strive to understand and promote the psychological and physical health and well-being of children, adolescents, adults, and seniors in our communities. In Summer 2016 we are launching a series of new studies to explore factors that contribute to resilient development, from early childhood through adulthood, in families, schools and neighborhoods.
The studies will include thorough assessments of stress and stress-resistence, cognitive and social-emotional functioning, and mental and behavioral health.
Join us for the Open House June 11th from 10-1pm
Kirby Deater-Deckard Individual Differences in
Sara Whitcomb College of Education, School Psychology
Rebecca Spencer was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in Health & Kinesiology from Purdue University, her alma mater.
Please join us in congratulating Fiona Ge, a 4th year student in the Social Psychology Program working with Dr. Paula Pietromonaco, on being awarded the 2016 Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award.
Fiona's project, Cultural Differences in Communication and Consequences for Romantic Relationship Quality, rose to the top of many high quality submissions reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee. Fiona's study has implications for identifying culture specific communication strategies that promote better relationship functioning, thereby informing interventions that can be tailored to couples from different cultural backgrounds.
Rebecca Ready, Director of Clinical Training, was recently named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the premier international organization solely dedicated to the advancement of psychological science. Ready is a geriatric neuropsychologist with expertise in the assessment of emotion, life quality, and well-being in adult and aging populations. She conducts research on emotion regulation and memory, risk for Alzheimer's disease, emotion in Mild Cognitive Impairment, and life quality in Huntington's disease.
Hal discussed "New Worlds of Adoption: Navigating Contact between Adoptive and Birth Families from Placement to Adulthood"
Since the mid-1970s, U.S. adoption practices have changed dramatically. The confidentiality traditionally maintained between the child's adoptive family and birth relatives has given way to "openness," in which - either directly or indirectly, as through an adoption agency - contact occurs. This lecture framed research findings on the nation"s changing attitudes and values about adoption. Professor Grotevant drew from four waves of longitudinal data to trace findings regarding such outcomes for the children as mental health, identity, and adjustment, and trace the dynamics of relationships within adoptive kinship networks.
Libbie kohler Retires after 35 years
Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon, is among the six faculty selected by the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) as 2016-17 ISSR Scholars. The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) has announced the selection of the 2016-17 ISSR Scholars, who represent six departments across the College of Education, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, College of Natural Sciences and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
ISSR’s mission is to promote excellence in social science research.
Katherine Newman, Provost, Hal, Steve Goodwin
, Dean CNS, Susan Grotevant, Chris Delker,
Buju Dasgupta brought together the CNS Women in Science Panel on March 28th.The panel included faculty and graduate students from the College who talked about what they have done to promote women scientists' professional development.
They also brainstormed about other obstacles CNS needs to prioritize and target to increase diversity and success of graduate students and faculty in CNS.
After more than 35 years of teaching and inspiring students, Libbie Kohler is retiring. Libbie has a fierce dedication to and love for teaching. She makes every student feel valued and appreciated. Whether she is teaching undergraduate students to condition rats to press a lever or helping graduate students climb a tree for the first time, she always takes the time to get to know her students and to inspire them. Her commitment to teaching excellence is demonstrated in both her every day actions and in her extraordinary efforts. She never misses class and once taught Learn and Think with her two-day-old daughter swaddled against her. The eternal mystery of Libbie is how such a tiny lady can have an enormous heart of gold, a larger-than-life presence, and enough spirit and sass to drive a big honking truck she named Bluecifer--not to mention the giant shoes she leaves us challenged to fill!
Libbie has played a critical role in our department teaching numerous courses, working on several committees, and mentoring and training both undergraduate and graduate students. Although
Libbie is most commonly known for her decades-long instruction of Research Methods, one of the most challenging courses in our major, she has also taught numerous other courses including Learn and Think, Emotion and Motivation, Introductory Psych and a Teaching Practicum. In addition to her substantial contributions to the department, Libbie has served the University as an Assistant Dean in the College of Natural Sciences Advising Office and as an advisor during New Students Orientation. Libbie’s patient, kind, and genuine spirit has influenced thousands of students and she will be truly missed. We wish her the best in her retirement and her contributions to the department will not be forgotten.
Fiona Ge wins Keith Rayner Award
The Clinical Student-Faculty Diversity Committee has had another busy and successful year. Under the leadership of co-chairs MK Oakley and Rachel Herman, the committee helped facilitate and fund an undergraduate travel grant, hosted a lively January retreat with speakers from local and regional institutions, and launched a mentorship program for undergraduates interested in issues related to diversity and multiculturalism. The Diversity Committee was represented at the Northampton Pride in May, an event that has become an annual committee initiative. Moving forward, the committee, which has historically been made up of clinical students, will be expanding to become a department-wide opportunity for all graduate students in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. As such, this committee was formally recognized by the Graduate Student Senate as the Psychology Graduate Student Diversity Committee. This newly formed Graduate Student Organization has a mission to raise awareness and facilitate ongoing training and dialogue about issues related to diversity and multiculturalism, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, and adoption. Current members of the committee include the following graduate students: MK Oakley, Rachel Herman, Genna Santorelli, Alice Coyne, Brien Goodwin, Krystal Cashen, Colten Karnedy, Lauren Haliczer, Molly Mather, Albert Lo, and Hallie Brown. The committee, with support from faculty mentor, Lisa Harvey, is eager to expand and will be holding various recruitment events over the summer and this upcoming fall.
GRAD STUDENTS FORM GSO
Lisa Harvey Mary Kate Oakley Rachel Herman Gina Santorelli
Alice Coyne Brien Goodwin Krystal Cashen Colten Karnedy
In December, the PBS Diversity Committee was awarded a Mutual Mentoring Team Grant from the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD). This grant supported a series of events designed to foster discussion among faculty, staff, and graduate students about various topics related to diversity. This series was launched by a diversity retreat held in January, organized by the clinical graduate student diversity committee. This retreat, titled, “The Party Line: A Psychological Perspective on America’s Top Presidential Issues,” featured three speakers. Our own Dr. Linda Isbell spoke on Stigma and Mental Illness, Dr. Esther Shapiro from UMass Boston spoke on immigration and mental illness, and Dr. Elizabeth Morgan from Springfield College spoke on Sexual Identity Development.
This retreat was followed by four diversity discussion group meetings over the course of the semester, in which participants read short but thought-provoking articles about a diversity-related topic before each meeting, and engaged in small group discussions about these readings. The purpose of these discussion groups was both to raise awareness about ways in which members of different social groups have varying degrees of advantage and power, and to brainstorm ways in which these inequalities might be minimized.
The first meeting focused on privilege, and discussion focused on the ways in which privilege is often invisible to those who hold it.
The theme of our second group meeting was social class, and discussion focused largely on experiences of first-generation college students and ways that we can help these students succeed.
The third group meeting focused on gender inequality, and discussion centered around the gender pay gap both in and outside of academia. Finally, the fourth diversity discussion group focused on ableism and will address differential accessibility in society across a variety of different abilities.
For our final event, Dr. Rosalie Corona from Virginia Commonwealth University spoke with us about her work in Latino youth.
Lauren Haliczar Molly Mather Albert Lo Hallie Brown
A PRIORITY AT PBS
Jen McDermott 2016-17 Lilly Fellow
We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Christopher Martell will be joining us in mid-July as the next Director of the Psychological Services Center. Dr. Martell is currently Clinical Professor and Coordinator of the Psychology Training Clinic at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. He has over 25 years of clinical experience, is well-versed in evidence-based psychological practice, and has extensive experience with clinical research. Dr. Martell has a demonstrated commitment to issues of diversity and is a past president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (APA Division 44). We look forward to welcoming him to campus a few months from now.
Katie Dixon-Gordon has been named a 2015 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science for "outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-Ph.D. whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions." Dixon-Gordon's research focuses on the role of emotional processes in psychopathology, with an emphasis on borderline personality disorder.
New PSC Director
Spencer Wins Faculty Athletic Representative Award
Rebecca Spencer received the Faculty Athletic Representative award from Fidelity/National Football Foundation
As part of the National Football Foundation Faculty Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments®, the NFF will present University of Massachusetts Faculty Athletics Representative Rebecca Spencer with a commemorative plaque and the school with $5,000. UMass and Spencer are being recognized for their efforts in fostering excellence among the student-athletes as exemplified by 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Blake Frohnapfel..
“Rebecca Spencer has been a critical liaison between academics and athletics at UMass,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are proud to join with Fidelity Investments in highlighting her role in ensuring that the student-athletes at UMass have an educational experience that prepares them for success long after their playing days in Amherst.”- Read more
The Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD) has announced Assistant Professor Jen McDermott as one of the 2016-17 Lilly Fellows for Teaching Excellence.
The Lilly Fellowship is a competitive award program, established in 1986, that enables promising junior faculty to cultivate teaching excellence in a special yearlong collaboration. The fellows attend bi-weekly seminars on pedagogy, develop a new course or substantially redesign an existing one, assess their teaching and their students’ learning through classroom visits, work with mentors to anticipate many of the challenges and rewards of faculty life at UMass Amherst, and design a teaching-focused workshop or program to share the benefits of the Lilly Fellowship with colleagues at the department, school-college, or campus-wide level.
amy ryan Learning in DC
Amy Ryan, a 5th year student in the Neuroscience and Behavior program, was one of two graduate students chosen by the Graduate School Office of Professional Development to represent UMass Amherst at the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) program. CASE is a three-and-a-half-day program in DC to learn about Congress, the federal budget process, and effective science communication. Amy was in DC from April 17-20 and met staff members from the offices of Rep. Katherine Clark (5th district), Sen. Ed Markey, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren!
Linda Tropp in Washington DC
March 17, 2016
Linda Tropp participated in an APA congressional briefing: The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination: A Scientific Perspective on Immigration. American citizens' reactions to recent arrivals to the United States can sometimes be characterized by prejudice and fear, leading to stigma and discrimination.
A panel of expert psychologists discussed: The psychological factors that lead to biases.The psychological, physical and economic effects on individuals and communities.The empirically-based policy solutions that address these biases.
John F. Dovidio, PhD, Yale University.
Linda Tropp, PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Heather Stewart,, Association of International Educators (NAFSA).
Gabrielle Jackson Undocumented and Black Convening.
Hal Grotevant Keynote Speaker in Munich Germany
Hal Grotevant, Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology and Chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, was featured as keynote speaker at a workshop on "The maintenance of legal relationships and contact between adoptees and biological parents: Future perspectives for German adoption policies," in Munich Germany, December 3, 2015. The workshop, sponsored by the newly-funded Research Center on Adoption at the German Youth Institute in Munich, included German constitutional and family lawyers, child welfare practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and psychologists, with the goal of reconsidering German laws regarding contact in adoption, foster care, and step families in light of research and practice knowledge. Although there are many children in foster care in Germany, the rate of adoption from foster care is very low. The workshop featured spirited discussions about how best to meet the needs of children within the current legal framework as well as how the country's laws should be reformed. Following the conference, he consulted with a research team at the German Youth Institute led by Dr. Ina Bovenschen to discuss the research design, measures, and participant recruitment strategies they will be using to conduct a nationwide study of the adoption process in Germany, from the perspective of adoptive parents. The study, informed by the discussion in the prior day's workshop, will provide much needed data about current German adoption practice, the well-being of adopted children in Germany, and family processes contributing to the development of identity and adjustment in adopted children. The study's conclusions will be used to improve pre- and post-adoption services throughout Germany. The research design will draw heavily on what has been learned from the longitudinal adoption research project that Grotevant and colleagues have been conducting throughout the U.S. for the past 30 years.
Dr. Ina Bovenschen (on the left) and her students and project staff with Hal.
Greg, from Linda Isbell's lab, hit a double this semester with capturing the 21st Century Leader Award on top of garnering the PBS Speaker opportunity. Great job, Greg!
Samantha Bernecker, a fifth year graduate student in the Psychotherapy Research Lab, matched to a predoctoral internship program -- University Mississippi Medical Center/VA Jackson.
Alice Coyne, a graduate student in the Psychotherapy Research Lab, was inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
This membership means that Alice is among the very best and brightest graduate students that our University has to offer – not just in her chosen field of study, but among all academic disciplines.
National Academy of Education/Spencer Dssertation
The Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. These $27,500 fellowships support individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, analysis, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world. This highly competitive program aims to identify the most talented researchers conducting dissertation research related to education. The Dissertation Fellowship program receives many more applications than it can fund. This year, up to 600 applications are anticipated and up to 35 fellowships will be awarded.
Shayl is a Clinical graduate student working with David Arnold.
Richard and Lucille Halgin, with members of the executive board of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity. Rich was recently inducted into the TKE fraternity as faculty adviser and honorary member. TKE is a newly established UMass fraternity with a commitment to academic excellence, community service, and social philanthropy.
Abigail Fontaine, 1st year graduate student in Developmental Science has been awarded an Honorable Mention for her 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship application titled, "The Effects of Tablet Use on Children's Executive Functioning."
Amanda won a travel award for the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences (OSSD) 2016 meeting in Philadelphia. She will be presenting a poster on sex specific mechanisms of estrogen on auditory processing in the zebra finch brain. Amanda works in Luke Remage-Healey's lab
Shayl Griffith Wins Spencer Fellowship
Greg Barysky wins 21st Century Leader Award
And is pBS Graduation Speaker!
Marianne wins Keep Sound Minds Scholarship.
This is given to an outstanding undergraduate psychology major (sophomore
or junior) who has demonstrated exceptional academic performance and has career interests in mental
health. The scholarship is funded by the Keep Sound Minds Organization, and its creator (UMASS alum),
Felicia Romano, an undergraduate honors student in the Psychotherapy Research Lab, was recently given a travel award to support her forthcoming presentation at the 2016 meeting of the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration in Dublin, Ireland.
Richard Halgin Faculty Advisor to Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity
Tammy Rahhal and Christina Metevier
400+ graduates this year
Professor Richard Halgin of the department of psychological and brain sciences bears the official UMass Amherst mace. He was selected as the new Mace Bearer because he is the most senior Distinguished Teaching Award winner.
Paul Saba worked with Dr. Alexandra Jesse on his undergraduate thesis in Linguistics entitled "Learning to identify speakers from their visual speech". His research has focused on how we learn to identify speakers from seeing them talk. For his thesis, Paul recorded speakers with dots glued to their faces. He then created videos that only showed the moving dots, but no longer a speaker. Listeners were able to learn to distinguish between speakers from seeing how these dots moved. Paul is graduating this semester with a B.Sc. in Linguistics. After graduation, he plans to pursue a graduate level degree in Linguistics.
The Ready Lab presented three posters at the International Neuropsychological Association in February. The presentations focused on neuroanatomical correlates of alexithymia, emotion dysregulation and apathy, and how to differentiate symptoms of apathy, alexithymia, and depression. Two poster co-authors Sara Gannon and Chetan Parthiban.were high school students who attended 'Summer College' at UMass Amherst in 2015,
Paul Saba, Undergraduate RA in Jesse Lab presents Thesis
Undergrad Research Symposium
Ready Lab Presents at International Neuropsychological Association
The Graduate School has named Elizabeth Jakob, Psychological and Brain Sciences, associate dean for student success for the Graduate School. An animal behaviorist who studies spiders, Jakob has published widely, including co-authoring two textbooks, and received the CNS Outstanding Teacher Award. As campus co-leader of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning, she has helped graduate students in the sciences prepare for faculty careers by enhancing their teaching and mentoring skills. She also supervises the new CNS teaching fellows program for first-year seminar instructors. As associate dean, Jakob will further develop programming that trains graduate students for the professoriate, facilitate applications for institutional training grants and act as the Graduate School's liaison to the campus postdoctoral community. Read more
PBS Students win Academic/ Community Transformation Award 2016
The UMass Provost’s Committee on Service-Learning, recently honored twenty-two students with the Academic/Community Transformation (ACT) Award for their work connecting academic work and community engagement in transformative ways. Students are nominated for this award by faculty members who teach courses designated either as Civic Engagement or Service-Learning. Carol Soules, Associate Director of UMass Civic Engagement & Service-Learning, who chairs the awards committee said, “It is a tremendous privilege to receive the faculty members’ nominations and to hear about the incredible work being undertaken by our students that impacts their own learning, the learning of other students, supports work of our many community partners throughout the Pioneer Valley.”
Danielle Lewis nominated by Jen Dolan, Shelby Ripa by Carol Soules, Jonah Frielich nominated by Marion Macdonald, Kristie Herman (not pictured) nominated by Jen Sandler
Michael Constantino Publishes Research Results
Dr. Michael Constantinoand his collaborators, Drs. Henny Westra (York University) and Martin Antony (Ryerson University), recently published the results of their randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) versus CBT integrated with motivational interviewing (MI) for patients with severe generalized anxiety disorder. This work, which revealed a clinically significant advantage of the combined group over a 12-month follow period, was published online on March 17, 2016 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The work is gaining media attention, including in the following outlets:
News and Media Relations
Elizabeth Jakob Named Associate Dean
The Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) holds a poster session and networking event titled the Diversifying Clinical Psychology Event, every year during the organization's annual meeting. CUDCP is a group of all the traditional-university-based programs in clinical psychology, and the reception is designed to give underrepresented applicants an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the directors of these programs on an individual basis. During this event the students also present a research poster to the directors of these programs. Starting last year, CUDCP began awarding poster awards to the most outstanding research posters presented at the event, as evaluated by five independent judges who rate the poste rs on content, quality of the research, clarity of the poster, and oral presentation. This year CUDCP awarded five poster awards to the top five student posters. Tied for first place was Mariajose Paton, from University of Massachusetts Amherst, for her poster titled Cultural Variance in Early Behavior Development.
wins poster award
Daniel Chapman and Ezra Markowitz (assistant professor of environmental conservation at UMass Amherst) worked as researchers and contributing authors to a new report on using visual imagery to communicate about climate change. Their research was used to create the websitewww.climatevisuals.org, which is the first evidence-based library of climate change imagery coupled with recommendations for communicators, journalists, and activists on how to best utilize visual imagery for climate change communication. The report, as well as a majority of the images on the website, is freely available to the public.
The project was led by Climate Outreach (climateoutreach.org), with partnership from the Global Call for Climate Action (http://tcktcktck.org/), UMass Amherst (http://www.umass.edu/), 10:10 (http://www.1010uk.org/), and Project Survival Media (http://www.projectsurvivalmedia.org/). The lead project funder was the Minor Foundation for Major Challenges (http://www.minor-foundation.no/).
Jeffrey Winer (Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate) visited Grinnell College in Iowa in late April for an invited Alumni Scholar Presentation. The award is granted to Grinnell College alumni who demonstrate significant intellectual contribution and promise in their chosen field. Jeff presented a talk entitled: "Childhood Adversity, Interpersonal Behavior, and Stress Physiology in Depression and Anxiety: New Findings and Implications for Psychological Treatment."
Picture: Jeff with a portion of the Grinnell College Department of Psychology. Left to right Dr. Nancy Rempel-Clower, Dr. Ann Ellis, Dr. Laura Sinnett, & Dr. Andrea Tracy
Linda Tropp Featured Panelist
Jeff Winer Invitation
bernecker wins small research grant
Linda Tropp was a featured panelist at Social Science Research Methods at the Frontier: Affirming Black Lives Matter this past March.
Three scholars of race and politics reflected critically on the frontiers of research methods in each of their disciplines in light of the fight for racial justice. This event was part of a week long, campus-wide and interdisciplinary engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement, and was co-sponsored by ISSR and the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program.
Linda Tropp was also mentioned in an article, "3 Ways White Kids Benefit Most From Racially Diverse Schools", published in Mother Jones on January 15th, 2016.
Tropp has conducted research on racially diverse schools and has found that skills like cross-cultural collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, reduced racial prejudice, and empathy are best fostered in diverse classrooms. She argues that we need to expand our definition of academic advantages to include these important skills.
Chapman Researcher and Contributing Author
Jeffrey D. Blaustein one of seven faculty members who have been named Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). They will draw on their substantial research record to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. The fellows, who will receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, will also travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers. Read more
samantha Bernecker, a fifth year graduate student in Michael Constantino's Psychotherapy Research Lab was recently given a $2,000 Small Research Grant from the International Society for Psychotherapy Research. This grant will partially fund her dissertation project, Crowdsourcing Mental Health: Can people learn to be their own "therapists?"
blaustein named public engagement faculty fellow
Alice coyne and rachel herman
Rosie Cowell, Psychological and Brain Sciences, recently received a five-year, $599,619 NSF CAREER award to develop and test a theory of how memory interacts with fine-grained visual perception and how both brain functions depend on the medial temporal lobe (MTL), which once was thought to be critical for memory but not for visual perception. Using computational modeling plus memory experiments with human volunteers, she seeks "to understand how brain activity is linked to behavior, in particular in the MTL, at a level not seen before." Examining amnesia caused by brain damage and more moderate memory loss caused by normal aging, Cowell's project will investigate whether these two forms of memory loss can be explained by the same mechanisms. Read more
With the help of a fellowship from the Center for Research on Families, psychology doctoral student Shayl Griffith, is analyzing the use of smart devices in the home, much the way researchers studied the use of television five decades ago.
Susan Krauss Whitbourne has been elected president of the Eastern Psychological Association, the largest regional psychological association in the United States. Read more
Chaia Flegenheimer, 3rd year NSB student, received a CNS Teaching Fellowship.
won the Jamie's Smile Award for Exemplary Service to the Clinical Psychology Division
Rosie Cowell Receives Five-Year $599,619 NSF Grant
Genna Santorelli was selected by the Center for Research on Families to receive a Pre-Dissertation Fellowship. Her research is entitled, Executive Function, Emotion Dysregulation, and Emotional Reactivity to Negative Mood Induction in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment. Her work will determine if older adults with executive impairments are vulnerable to emotion dysregulation and will help identify targets for intervention.
Melinda Novak, is one of three recipients of the 2016-17 University of Massachusetts Amherst Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowships. The fellowships give faculty members a unique opportunity to focus on their research or creative activities by providing a one-year release from teaching and service duties in addition to a $3,500 cash award.
Abigail Fontaine, 1st year graduate student in Developmental Science, has been awarded an Honorable Mention for her 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship application titled, "The Effects of Tablet Use on Children's Executive Functioning."
Novak Recipient of Samuel F Conti Faculty Fellowship
Matheus Lima, NSB student won the recent 'Early Career Award' for the first two years of graduate study from the NSB program. This award recognizes an early career (1st or 2nd year) PhD student who demonstrates excellence in academics, research, and/or outreach.
Matheus works with Luke Remage-Healey.
Students and advisor Jen Dolan, of the recently formed UMass Student Adoption Advisory Board, staffing an adoption related information table in the Campus Center. The goal was to engage in outreach and adoption advocacy.
Student Adoption Advisory Board
This year's induction ceremony for the Pioneer Valley Chapter of Nu Rho Psi, the National Honor Society in Neuroscience was held at Smith College on April 21st. The ceremony was led by student officers Mark Chicote (top left) and Meaghan Valler (bottom right.) Our chapter includes outstanding undergraduate neuroscience students from UMass and Smith, and this year's ceremony was held at Smith College on April 21st; it was led by student officers Mark Chicote (top left) and Meaghan Valler (bottom right).
Pioneer Valley Chapter of Nu Rho Psi
Stellan Vinthagen publishes Theory of
Nonviolent Action How Civil Resistance Works
In this ground-breaking and much-needed book, Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance Stellan Vinthagen provides the first major systematic attempt to develop a theory of nonviolent action since Gene Sharp's seminal The Politics of Nonviolent Action in 1973. Employing a rich collection of historical and contemporary social movements from various parts of the world as examples - from the civil rights movement in America to anti-Apartheid protestors in South Africa to Gandhi and his followers in India - and addressing core theoretical issues concerning nonviolent action in an innovative, penetrating way, Vinthagen argues for a repertoire of nonviolence that combines resistance and construction.
Alexandra Jesse co-authors Journal Article
Back Row (from left): Mark Chicote, Helen Root, Katrina Blandino (Smith) , Aishwarya Nambiar, Christina DeSimone, Holly Neale, & Rachel Fahey Front Row: Andrew Savrann, Chelsea Lauro, Jordan Isaacs (Smith), Zoe Rubenstein (Smith), Erica Burke, Irtika Kumari, & Meaghan Valler (unless mentioned student is from Umass)
Dr. Alexandra Jesse published, together with Dr. Elizabeth Johnson (Univ. of Toronto Mississauga) an article in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Their work showed that, for word learning, 2-year-old children can use the temporal alignment between the motion a speaker imposes on an object and his/her speech while describing the object. Speakers were video recorded teaching the name of a toy monster they were holding to child. Naturally, speakers moved the toy while talking. Cartoons were then created where one toy monster followed that same motion as in the original recording and a second one moved in an unrelated fashion. These were played back side-by-side to 2-year-olds, together with the original soundtrack of the speaker teaching their names. The only cue available to figure out which monster the speaker was referring to was therefore the coordinated timing between speech and the toy's motion. Two-year-olds figured this out easily and learned which name belonged to which monster. Practically this means that the way we move objects while teaching their names to children helps them with word learning.
Jesse, A., & Johnson, E. K. (2016). Audiovisual alignment of co-speech gestures to speech supports word learning in two-year-olds. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology,145, 1-10.
Rebecca Ready and her graduate student Gennarina Santorelli point out that until now, no studies with older adults have investigated associations between episodic memory performance, that is recalling past experiences rooted in a specific time and place, and what is known as “emotion recovery,” the return to a normal state of emotion after an emotional event. (Science Daily, 4/14/16; News Office release)
Wendy Lynn Helmer (1965 – 2016), long time secretary at the Psychological Services Center, the Clinical Division’s training clinic, died tragically on December 20th, 2015. It is fair to say that her passing has left a gaping hole in the fabric of the clinic. Wendy brought to her job a compassion for other people, a commitment to social justice, and a warmth of spirt that she graciously shared with everyone who entered her orbit. She touched the lives of so many in very positive ways; from clients to students, it was a rare person who didn’t stop and talk with Wendy, laugh with Wendy, and leave a little bit lighter following the interaction. Wendy will be profoundly missed. The Clinical Student-Faculty Diversity Committee, an organization that was dear to Wendy's heart, will be establishing an award in her name, which will be presented annually to a graduate student who embodies Wendy's spirit and commitment to issues of multiculturalism and social justice. We will keep her in our hearts and hold the beauty of who she was in our souls, forever.
Marianna Pereira and alexandra Jesse
Susan Krauss Whitbourne discusses her research on how the video game Bejeweled Blitz can serve as a brain training tool. Whitbourne says her study was focused mainly on older people.NEPR
and we say good-bye.....
In the news......
Rebecca Spencer says her sleep research shows that napping helps small children retain memories, but that effect seems to be different for older people. Spencer believes small children benefit the most because they are in a developmental stage that highlights the impact of sleep on memory, something that isn't as strong in older people.Scientist
Rebecca Spencer comments in a story about a new study that finds that taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may reduce the risk of heart disease because of sleep apnea, a common disorder that involves irregular breathing while sleeping. Spencer says the study may provide the first direct link between sleep apnea and vascular risk. (U.S. News & World Report, Philly.com [both from Health Day], 1/6/16)
Rebecca Spencer says it is possible to change the emotions attached to certain memories. She says asking a person to recall a certain memory and then introducing new cues to associate with the memory can do this. (Newsweek [Europe], 1/16/16)
Rebecca Spencer comments in a news story about why certain times of day are better for being productive at work. “You can certainly make better decisions if you are making them at the right time of day,” she says. The story says aligning work projects with the body’s circadian clock is important. (Time, 4/22/16)
A news story and television segment feature the research of Rebecca Spencer, Psychological and Brain Sciences, on how sleep affects decision-making. Going Deep with David Rees, Forbes, Quartz.
Rebecca Spencer is interviewed about her sleep research. Spencer says when people are asked to make a decision and they sleep, they are more likely to recall positive aspects of the decision than people who didn’t sleep before making a choice. (Harvard Business Review, May 2016)
In a study exploring the relationship between memory for specific past experiences and recovery from strong negative emotions, UMass Amherst research psychologists report that episodic memory may be more important in helping midlife and older adults recover from a negative event than it is for younger adults.
Alexandra Jesse and Mariana Pereira, both Psychological and Brain Sciences, are two of six faculty members selected by the Center for Research on Families to be the 2016-17 Family Research Scholars for their promising work in family-related research. Read more
to Wendy Helmer....