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2011 Research News

department of psychology

Associate Professor Elizabeth Kensinger received the APS Janet T. Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions in 2010 and the American Psychological Foundation’s 2010-11
F. J. McGuigan Young Investigator Prize

Doctoral student Nicole Nelson and Professor Jim Russell report in their forthcoming paper in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, "Children's Understanding of Nonverbal Expressions of Pride," that younger children see pride only in expressions that have both facial and postural cues, whereas children eight years and older can see pride in a facial expression alone.

Assistant Professor Liane Young was awarded a two-year grant from The John Templeton Foundation for a project entitled "The psychology and neuroscience of when, why, and how people behave better."

Amy Tishelman, part-time faculty member, has guest-edited a two-part special issue of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma that examines research and interventions related to child and adolescent trauma across the spectrum of experience.

Assistant Professor Alexa Veenema won a Young Investigator Award from NARSAD (National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) in January, 2011 for her work on how the brain regulates juvenile social behaviors. The NARSAD Young Investigator Awards program provides support for the most promising young scientists conducting neurobiological research.

Assistant Professor Sean MacEvoy reports in a forthcoming paper in Nature Neuroscience, "Constructing scenes from objects in human occipitotemporal cortex," that brain areas thought to be primarily involved in helping us recognize objects also help us piece together our whereabouts in the world.

Post-doctoral fellow Sherri Widen and former master’s student Pamela Naab report in their forthcoming Emotion paper, "Can an Anger Face Also Be Scared? Malleability of Facial Expressions," that preschoolers' and adults' interpretation of facial expressions is malleable and influenced by the emotion category they are looking for.

Doctoral student Nicole Nelson and Professor Jim Russell report in their forthcoming paper in Cognitive Development, "Putting Motion in Emotion: Do Dynamic Presentations Increase Preschoolers' Recognition of Emotion?," that contrary to expectations, dynamic presentation do not increase children's naming of emotions.

Doctoral student Angelina Hawley-Dolan and Professor Ellen Winner report in their Psychological Science paper, "Seeing the Mind Behind the Art: People Can Distinguish Abstract Expressionist Paintings from Highly Similar Paintings by Children, Chimps, Monkeys and Elephants," that despite the popular belief that there is little difference between abstract art and works by preschoolers, even those untrained in art can tell the difference.

Doctoral student Nicole Nelson reports in her Journal of Experimental Child Psychology paper, "Preschoolers' Use of Dynamic Facial, Bodily, and Vocal Cues to Emotion," that preschoolers understand facial and postural cues to emotion, but their understanding of vocal cues lags behind.

Assistant Professor Liane Young reports on impaired moral judgments in autism in her PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) paper, Impaired theory of mind for moral judgment in high-functioning autism. This research has received media attention: Adults With Autism May Not Understand Others' Intentions; Understanding the Autistic Mind; and Perception of morality different when you have autism