2012 Research News
department of psychology
Lecturer Jef Lamoureux has a forthcoming article in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes suggesting that a violation of previously learned information may cause people to pay more attention to their surrounding environment. Jef will also present these findings at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association.
Assistant Professor Sean MacEvoy has a forthcoming paper in NeuroImage that presents a further challenge to the traditional distinction between “what” and “where” pathways in the visual system. Using multivoxel pattern analysis of data from fMRI scans, the study showed that brain activity in the lateral occipital complex (LOC), a region thought critical to object recognition, distinguished between pairs of objects with different relative positions—an outcome consistent with joint tuning of neurons in LOC for both object form and position.
Professor James Russell and colleagues have a forthcoming article in Psychological Bulletin that considers a fundamental but neglected topic in emotion: What is the relation of how pleasant one feels with how aroused (excited vs. calmed) one feels? A meta-analysis found that at the aggregate level, extremes of pleasure and displeasure are arousing, but at the individual level, any relation between pleasure and arousal is possible.
Laura Young, graduate student with Ellen Winner and Sara Cordes, has a forthcoming paper with Sara titled "Fewer Things, Lasting Longer: The Effect of Emotion on Quantity Judgments" in Psychological Science. Laura will present her findings at the Annual Meeting on Object Perception, Attention, and Memory.
Assistant Professor Gorica Petrovich reports in her forthcoming paper in Neuroscience, “Selective Fos induction in hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin, but not melanin-concentrating hormone neurons, by a learned food-cue that stimulates feeding in sated rats,” that recruitment of neurons containing the neuropeptide orexin/hypocretin may play a role in cue-induced feeding that occurs in the absence of physiological hunger.
Assistant Professor Gorica Petrovich has been awarded the 2012 Alan N. Epstein Research Award from the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. This award honors an individual for a specific research discovery that has advanced the understanding of ingestive behavior. The letter of nomination states: “Gorica’s work combines cutting-edge behavioral analyses with high-resolution neuroanatomical techniques to provide unique insights into the way that external cues can influence feeding behavior through learning. This work is of high significance and novelty because it provides a rigorous experimental foundation for understanding how cognitive processes in the telencephalon can interface with circuits in the hypothalamus and hindbrain to control feeding behavior.” Gorica will be travelling to Zurich to accept the award and make a presentation on her research.
We are pleased to announce that Emotion Review, edited by Jim Russell, has been selected for coverage in Thomson Reuter’s products and services.
Ursula Anderson, postdoctoral fellow in Sara Cordes' lab, was awarded an NSF SBE Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to study relational concepts in infancy.
Christina Reppucci, doctoral student, and Assistant Professor Gorica Petrovich report in their forthcoming paper in Appetite, “Learned food-cue stimulates persistent feeding in sated rats,” that learned cues can repeatedly stimulate binge-like consumption of food regardless of physiological hunger state, and that increased consumption following the cue is uncompensated for in total daily food intake.
Jordan Theriault, graduate student in Liane Young's lab, was awarded a Postgraduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Shannon Snapp, Ph.D. 2010 and now a postdoctoral fellow at University of Arizona, has just published an article (with Boston College Assistant Professor Ehri Ryu) on body image resilience. She reports that a variety of factors contribute to positive body image in young women: high family support, low levels of perceived sociocultural pressure about the thin and beautiful ideal, rejection of the super-woman ideal, and active coping skills. Results can inform prevention of eating disorders and suggest interventions to improve body dissatisfaction and initial maladaptive eating practices.
Shannon Snapp, Laura Hensley-Choate, Ehri Ryu. A Body Image Resilience Model for First-Year College Women. Sex Roles, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s11199-012-0163-1
Caroline Smith, graduate student in Alexa Veenema’s lab, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her research on the neural mechanisms regulating social novelty-seeking. Several human social disorders (e.g. autism) are characterized by impaired social novelty-seeking, but the neural mechanisms underlying social novelty-seeking are poorly understood. Caroline has developed a new behavioral test to study, for the first time, the neural network that mediates social novelty-seeking and the role of prosocial neuropeptides vasopressin and oxytocin in this network.
Assistant Professor Liane Young joins the editorial board of Psychological Science in January, 2012.
Assistant Professor Liane Young has been awarded a three-year grant from the Dana Foundation to study the cognitive and neural basis of atypical social and moral cognition in high functioning autism. She was also selected as a Dana Neuroscience Scholar, which provides her with additional funding for this project.