Tag Archive for Psychology Department

Dierker’s Nicotine Dependence Research Supported by NIH

Lisa Dierker

Lisa Dierker, chair and professor of psychology, received a grant worth $590,769 from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will fund her research on “Individual Differences in Smoking and Nicotine Dependence Sensitivity” through Aug. 31, 2012. The award is part of the Recovery and reinvestment Act of 2009.

Jennifer Rose, research associate professor of psychology, is the coPI on this grant.

Shusterman Authors Article on Number Acquisition

Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, is the co-author of the article, “Early acquisition of the word ‘two’,” published in The Proceedings of the 2009 Boston University Conference on Language Development, by Cascadilla Press, 2010.

Sanislow’s Antisocial Personality Study Published

Charles Sanislow, assistant professor in psychology, is the co-author of a publication examining psychometric characteristics of antisocial personality traits in the September issue of Psychological Assessment.  The work was carried out under the auspices of the Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Study, a 10-year prospective study funded by NIMH on which Sanislow has been an investigator since it began in 1996.

The article is titled “Psychometric characteristics and clinical correlates of NEO-PI-R fearless dominance and impulsive antisociality in the Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study.”

Rodriguez Mosquera Chairs Conference on Honor

Patricia Rodriguez Mosquera, assistant professor of psychology, organized and chaired a recent conference on honor and honor cultures in Barcelona, Spain, Aug. 20-24. It was funded by the European Association of Social Psychology and the British Academy.

The conference had an interdisciplinary and international focus. It brought together international experts on honor from anthropology and psychology.

This is the first conference on honor and honor cultures ever organized in psychology. Rodriguez Mosquera has since been invited to guest-edit a special issue on honor for the journal Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

Kurtz Published in Neuropsychology Encyclopedia

Matthew Kurtz, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, is the author of “Treatment approaches with a special focus on neurocognition: overview and empirical results,” published in Understanding and Treating Neuro- and Social-Cognition in Schizophrenia Patients, in 2010 and “Compensatory Strategies; Insight: Effects on Rehabilitation; Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test,” published in Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology, New York: Springer, 2010.

Seamon Authors Study on Memorization

John Seamon, professor of psychology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, is the author of “Memorizing Milton’s Paradise Lost: A study of a septuagenarian exceptional memorizer,” published in Memory, 2010.

Morawski Published in Theory and Psychology, History of Psychology

Jill Morawski, professor of psychology, professor of science in society, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, is the author of “The Location of our Debates: Finding, Fixing and Enacting Reality,” published in Theory and Psychology; “Review of Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner’s Technology of Behavior from Laboratory to Life,” published in Isis; and “Postwar Promises and Perplexities in the Social Sciences: The Case of ‘Socialization’,” published in History of Psychology.

Stemler: ‘Tacit Knowledge’ May be Powerful New Way to Identify Effective Teachers

Steve Stemler, assistant professor of psychology, says that acquiring Practical Intelligence is vital for new teachers because roughly 50 percent of new teachers are out of the profession within their first five years of entering it.

Sure, first-year teachers need to be masters of their subject material and their classrooms, but to be truly effective in that first year and beyond teachers also have learn one vital skill: avoiding “bad” decisions.

“Novice teachers, in particular, don’t necessarily need to make good decisions right away, but what they must develop is the tacit knowledge to identify what a bad decision or bad response may be. That may sound easy in theory, but when you consider all of the challenges  that come from outside the classroom such as administrative duties, dealing with colleagues and dealing with parents, it becomes much more difficult,” says Steven Stemler, assistant professor of psychology.

Stemler is the co-author of a new study titled “The socially skilled teacher and the development of tacit knowledge,” which has been published by the British Educational Research Journal. The study spent a year looking the levels of effectiveness experienced by more than 500 teachers in England. The researchers found that the most successful teachers were those who developed the “tacit knowledge”

Sanislow Participates in NIMH Meeting Focused on Mental Disorders

Charles Sanislow, assistant professor of psychology, participated in a National Institute of Mental Health meeting in Bethesda, Maryland on July 13-14 for the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project. RDoC aims to create new diagnostic criteria for researching mental disorders, and this meeting addressed the role of working memory in this effort.  Sanislow is a member of the RDoC steering committee and co-authored a commentary describing the RDoC in the July issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, 167, pp. 748-751.

Shusterman’s Study Featured in National Academy of Sciences Publication

Anna Shusterman is the co-author of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nicaraguan Sign Language, developed only 30 years ago by Deaf children in Nicaragua needing a way to communicate, offers insight to ways an adapted language affects thought processes.

In a new study, which was published June 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-author Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology explains how human spatial cognition depends on the acquisition of specific aspects of spatial language.

The article, titled “Evidence from an emerging sign language reveals that language supports spatial cognition,” is co-authored by Jennie Pyers (Wellesley), Ann Senghas (Barnard College), Elizabeth Spelke (Harvard) and Karen Emmorey (San Diego State University).

“The reason we chose to look at navigation was that my colleague Ann Senghas had discovered that older NSL signers had difficulty systematically communicating about the spatial concepts left and right,” Shusterman says. “In our PNAS study, we discovered that they also had trouble with navigation.”

Previous research has suggested that left-right language is related to spatial reasoning and navigation, but there were always reasons to be skeptical.

“In children, language and thought tend to develop together, but it’s hard to know the causal direction,” she says. “In people who speak different languages, we might see corresponding differences in habits of thought, but they might actually be related to culture, not language. The NSL population allowed us to conclude much more forcefully that language supports thought.”

Honors Thesis by Tolman ’10 Published in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Arielle Tolman ’10 presents her honors thesis to Wesleyan President Michael Roth. Her findings were recently accepted for publication in Schizophrenia Bulletin.

Quality-of-life for patients with Schizophrenia has been recognized as a crucial domain of outcome in schizophrenia treatment, and yet its determinants are not well understood.

Arielle Tolman ’10, who studied “Neurocognitive Predictors of Objective and Subjective Quality-of-Life in Individuals with Schizophrenia: A Meta-Analytic Investigation” as her senior honors thesis, will have the opportunity to share her research with other scientists interested in schizophrenia. This month, the editors of  Schizophrenia Bulletin accepted Tolman’s paper for publication in an upcoming edition.

“This is a real achievement, particularly at the undergraduate level,” says the paper’s co-author and Tolman’s advisor Matthew Kurtz, assistant professor of psychology.

Although other researchers have demonstrated that “quality-of-life” is not a uniform construct, Tolman conducted the first meta-analytic study