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2010 Research News

department of psychology

Amy Tishelman, part-time faculty member, published an article in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma in which she develops a framework for evaluation of trauma in a school setting leading to intervention to overcome trauma-related obstacles to learning.

Amy Tishelman, part-time faculty member, published an article in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse in which she proposes a new approach to evaluating ambiguous cases of child sexual abuse.

Amy Tishelman, part-time faculty member, has guest-edited a two-part special issue of the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse focusing on forensic, cultural, and systems issues in child sexual abuse cases.

Forensic, Cultural, and Systems Issues in Child Sexual Abuse Cases—Part 1 and Part 2.


Children's scripts for social emotions: Causes and consequences are more central than are facial expressions

What better taps children's understanding of emotion: faces or stories? When children were asked to label these two cues to emotion, stories were the stronger cue overall, especially for fear, disgust, embarrassment, compassion, and shame. This article appears in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.


McGuigan Young Investigator Prize

The Psychology Department is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Kensinger has been awarded the American Psychological Foundation's 2010 F. J. McGuigan Young Investigator Prize. This prize is given biennially to an early-career psychologist "engaged in research that seeks to explicate the concept of the human mind from a primarily psychophysiological perspective."


Do proposed facial expressions of contempt, shame, embarrassment, and compassion communicate the predicted emotion?

Two studies show that the proposed facial expressions of shame, embarrassment, compassion, and contempt do not communicate the predicted emotion, especially when people were asked to freely label them. The coauthors on this article in Cognition & Emotion include two former honors thesis students, Anita Christy and Kriten Hewett, and James Russell.


When Dynamic the Face Alone Can Express Pride

Prior research on pride, using static photos, has found the expression recognizable only when a facial and postural expression are paired. In an article to appear in Emotion, we showed that a dynamic facial expression alone can convey pride and that posture is not a necessary aspect of the expression.


Elizabeth Kensinger receives Spence award

Elizabeth Kensinger has received the APS Janet T. Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions.


The effect of arousal on the emotional memory network depends on valence

The effect of arousal on the brain connectivity within the emotional memory network depends on the valence of the to-be-remembered item. For negative information, arousal increased the strength of amygdala connections to other brain regions, while for positive information arousal decreased the strength of these amygdala efferents. These results are reported in the journal NeuroImage in a paper authored by Katherine Mickley Steinmetz, Donna Rose Addis, and Elizabeth Kensinger.



Jim Russell's research on the "disgust" face appears in ScienceNews in an article titled "Kids face up to disgust surprisingly late".


Self-involvement modulates the effective connectivity of the autobiographical memory network

BC hockey players show different brain connectivity patterns when they remember game plays in which they were directly involved (such as scoring a goal) versus those in which they were indirectly involved (such as watching a teammate score a goal). Only for the self-involved events was there neural synchrony among regions associated with emotion processing and regions associated with memory processing. These results are reported in the journal Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience in a paper authored by Keely Muscatell, Donna Addis, and Elizabeth Kensinger.


Short-Term Mood Repair Through Art: Effects of Medium and Strategy

Jennifer Drake's paper entitled "Short-Term Mood Repair Through Art: Effects of Medium and Strategy" will be published in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. The paper shows that making art is more effective than writing in improving short-term mood and distraction is a more effective strategy than venting. Co-authors on the paper include Katelyn Coleman and Ellen Winner.


Damage to Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Impairs Judgment of Harmful Intent

Patients with damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex show impaired emotional processing of failed attempts to harm, Liane Young reports in her recently published article in Neuron.


Dopamine D1 and D2 antagonist effects on response likelihood and duration

Cecile Morvan, in collaboration with Won Yung Choi, Jon Horvitz, and Peter Balsam, recently published the article "Dopamine D1 and D2 antagonist effects on response likelihood and duration" in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience (123: 6, 1279-1287). The findings suggest that D1 receptor activity is necessary for the initiation of Pavlovian and operant responses, while D2 receptor activity regulates the duration of these responses.


Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow

Sara Cordes has just been selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow for 2010-2012. Her letter reads that "this is an extraordinarily competitive award, involving nominations for most of the very best scientists of your generation for the US and Canada." Congratulations Sara!


The Mind in Context

Lisa Feldman Barrett has edited a new book along with Batja Mesquita and Eliot R. Smith. Titled The Mind in Context, it will be released this February.

From the publisher: "Most psychology research still assumes that mental processes are internal to the person, waiting to be expressed or activated. This compelling book illustrates that a new paradigm is forming in which contextual factors are considered central to the workings of the mind. Leading experts explore how psychological processes emerge from the transactions of individuals with their physical, social, and cultural environments. The volume showcases cutting-edge research on the contextual nature of such phenomena as gene expression, brain networks, the regulation of hormones, perception, cognition, personality, knowing, learning, and emotion."


The Upside to Hooking Up

Shannon Snapp's paper symposium was accepted for presentation at the Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Adolescence from May 12-15, 2010 in Vilnius, Lithuania. The paper symposium consists of four international scholars discussing the topic of positive sexual experiences. Shannon's talk is entitled "The Upside to Hooking Up: Sexual Behavior and Motives of Late Adolescents."


Reading Chimpanzee Faces: Evidence for the Role of Verbal Labels in the Categorical Perception of Emotion

The article entitled "Reading Chimpanzee Faces: Evidence for the Role of Verbal Labels in the Categorical Perception of Emotion" was recently accepted for publication in the journal Emotion, and represents a joint effort between Jennifer Fugate, Lisa Feldman Barrett and Harold Gouzoules (of Emory University). The article suggests that conceptual knowledge, in the form of verbal labeling (more so than expertise), contributes to the categorization of facial expressions.