Tag Archive for Psychology Department

Dierker Receives $50K for Addiction Research

Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, has received a $50,000 research grant from the Peter F. McManus Charitable Trust. The award will support her work focusing on individual differences in the development of addiction. This research is aimed at identifying youth at greatest risk for dependence at various levels of alcohol and tobacco exposure.

Plous Book Cited in Washington Post

Scott Plous

Scott Plous

Scott Plous, professor of psychology, was quoted in a Dec. 14 issue of The Washington Post in a story titled “Choosing Not To Choose: Ever feel lost in a maze of too many options?”

The article, which focused on the overwhelming abundance of life-changing decisions such as finances, health care and career moves, mentions Plous’s book, The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making.

“There’s no question that we have more choices than ever before,” Plous agreed. “And decisions are generally harder and more time-consuming when there are lots of alternatives.”

Barth Author of Cognition Article

Hilary Barth, assistant professor of psychology, is the author of “Judgments of discrete and continuous quantity: An illusory Stroop effect,” published in the journal Cognition in November, 2008.

Juhasz Published in Cognitive Process Journal

Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, is the author of “The processing of compound words in English: Effects of word length on eye movements during reading,” published in Language and Cognitive Processes, 23, 1057-1088, Nov. 2008. She also is the co-author of “The processing of novel and lexicalised prefixed words in reading,” published in Language and Cognitive Processes, 23, 1133-1158, Nov. 2008.

Cathy Race: Administrative Assistant in the Psychology Department

Cathy Race, administrative assistant in the Psychology Department, helps coordinate poster sessions,

Cathy Race, administrative assistant in the Psychology Department, is the key contact person for the department, oversees the undergraduate major, is the department's archivist and website moderator.

Q: Cathy, when did you come to Wesleyan? What office did you start in?

A: I started in 1981 in the Alumni Relations Office. Then I transferred to a joint position in the Science in Society Program/Health Education, then the College of Social Studies, and then in 1991 to the Psychology Department.

Q: Do you have a personal interest in psychology or has your interest peaked since you started working with psychologists?

A: My interest in psychology could never peak. I’ve always been curious how the mind works. The field is fascinating. It goes beyond textbooks. The faculty are amazing and the majors are ambitious. I can honestly say I love my job.

Q: Could you touch on some of the department’s highlights?

A: Our faculty have labs

Striegel-Moore Honored by Psychology Association

Ruth Striegel-Moore

Ruth Striegel-Moore

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.

Stemler Develops Adaptability Study for U.S. Military

Steve Stemler

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.

Barth Author of Article on Arithmetic in Children

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.

Psychology Faculty, Student Study Emerging Sign Language in Nicaragua

Anna Shusterman, left, and Lisa Drennan '09 speak to a Deaf man by using Nicaraguan Sign Language. The language is only 30 years old.

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.