Ruth Striegel-Moore, the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, professor and chair of psychology, is the recipient of the New England Psychological Association’s (NEPA) Distinguished Contribution Award. She delivered the Distinguished Contribution Award Lecture titled “Reducing the Burden of Suffering from Eating Disorders” during the 48th Annual Meeting of the organization at Western New England College, Springfield, Mass. on Oct. 25.
The award honors psychologists with current or prior association with New England who have distinguished themselves by advancing the science of psychology; used psychology to advance individual and/or community well-being through service; are conducting a program of research or service which is currently making major strides in furthering new knowledge in psychology; and/or have engaged in teaching and mentoring in a manner reflecting commitment and innovation well beyond the norm.
Steven Stemler, assistant professor of psychology.
Failure to adapt in certain military maneuvers or assignments can lead to fatal errors. To help prevent grievous mistakes, the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense has asked psychologists to study adaptability. Assistant Professor of Psychology Steven Stemler was awarded a $60,000 subcontract via the University of Central Florida to study the concept and develop tools to measure adaptability.
Hilary Barth, assistant professor of psychology, is the co-author of “Nonsymbolic, approximate arithmetic in children: Evidence for abstract addition prior to instruction,” published in the journal Developmental Psychology, September 2008.
Irene Pepperberg of the department of psychology at Brandeis University and Harvard University, spoke about "Cognitive Abilities of Grey Parrots" during the Psychology Department's Colloquium Series Sept. 11 in Judd Hall.
Anna Shusterman, left, and Lisa Drennan ’09 speak to a Deaf man by using Nicaraguan Sign Language. The language is only 30 years old.
In the United States, Deaf people have had the ability to communicate by using sign language since the early 1800s. But in Central America’s largest nation of Nicaragua, the Deaf community had no formalized language until 30 years ago.
This emerging language, known as Nicaraguan Sign Language, is the topic of a recent study by Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, and psychology major Lisa Drennan ’09. The language was first created by local children to communicate with their friends and family and is rapidly changing.
“Nicaraguan Sign Language is certainly not a hodge-podge of different sign languages – it has its own structure, its own grammar, its own phonology, and its own words,” Shusterman says. “So it’s of great interest to researchers who are interested in the birth and evolution of language.”
Shusterman, whose broader research focuses on the development of language and thought, works with the Deaf community in Managua, Nicaragua to understand which cognitive capacities are spared despite limitations in language, and which cognitive capacities suffer when language is impaired. She invited Drennan to accompany her on a 10-day research trip in June.