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June 23, 2016

Prof Azim Shariff’s work on driverless cars in Science and the NYT

By IYAR Rahwan/M.I.T. on Publish Date June 23, 2016

Dilemma of Driverless Cars. By IYAR Rahwan/M.I.T. on Publish Date June 23, 2016

Azim Shariff’s latest Science paper, “The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles,” discusses the moral dilemmas presented by driverless cars. See the writeup in the New York Times here:

People say that one day, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, they’d like to be passengers in self-driving cars that are mindful machines doing their best for the common good. Merge politely. Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Keep a safe space.

A new research study, however, indicates that what people really want to ride in is an autonomous vehicle that puts its passengers first. If its machine brain has to choose between slamming into a wall or running someone over, well, sorry, pedestrian.

In this week’s Science magazine, a group of computer scientists and psychologists explain how they conducted six online surveys of United States residents last year between June and November that asked people how they believed autonomous vehicles should behave. The researchers found that respondents generally thought self-driving cars should be programmed to make decisions for the greatest good.

Sort of. Through a series of quizzes that present unpalatable options that amount to saving or sacrificing yourself — and the lives of fellow passengers who may be family members — to spare others, the researchers, not surprisingly, found that people would rather stay alive.

June 14, 2016

Our amazing students featured by the graduate school

The scholarship of our amazing students is featured on the graduate school’s homepage:

Jessica Flannery: How adolescent brain responses may predict future risk-taking behaviors

Jennifer Gómez: A Promising Scholar’s Path from Ballet to Her Own Theory about Culture and Betrayal in Trauma

Carly Smith: Clinical Psychology PhD Alumna Lands Tenure Track Position at Penn State

Plus, six of our graduate students were recognized with awards from the graduate school.

Our amazing grads

Clockwise from top-left: Jessica Flannery, Jennifer Gomez, and Carly Smith. Icon created by Edward Boatman from Noun Project.

June 1, 2016

Graduate student Jenny Mendoza wins the Dixon award!

Jenny Mendoza

Jenny Mendoza, winner of the Julie and Rocky Dixon Graduate Student Innovation Award

Congrats to Jenny Mendoza, who won the prestigious Julie and Rocky Dixon Student Innovation Award!

Jenny Mendoza is a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology, and her research focuses on infants’ development. Her ultimate career goal is to found and direct an innovative Child Development Center to provide high-quality education and care to young children, infusing music into the curriculum. With the support of the Julie and Rocky Dixon Student Innovation Award, Jenny will complete two related internships: one working closely with Alisa Stull, the Executive Director of the Co-op Family Center, and the other as a Parenting Educator Assistant at Parenting Now!. Through these internships, Jenny will build and hone critical skills to help her achieve her ultimate goal. Jenny is eager to embark on these next steps, and she is honored for the opportunity to do so as a Dixon Fellow.

May 27, 2016

Congrats to our graduate student award winners!

Award winners

Top-left: Robbie Ross and Marina Rosenthal.
Top-right: Michelle Fong and Kathryn Iurino.
Bottom: Shining Sun, Kristen Reinhardt, Alicia Ibaraki, and Jeffrey Peterson

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Departmental Awards–congrats, all!

Norman D. Sundberg Fellowships: Alicia Ibaraki and Kristen Reinhardt

Gregores Awards: Jeffrey Peterson and Shining Sun

Beverly Fagot Memorial Fellowships: Michelle Fong and Kathryn Iurino.

Distinguished Teaching Awards: Marina Rosenthal and Robbie Ross.

Marjorie Taylor’s work featured on NPR’s Science Friday!

Marjorie Taylor sits amid creative work by 8- to 10-year olds.

Marjorie Taylor sits amid creative work by 8- to 10-year olds.

Do you have a child with an imaginary friend?

UO psychologist Marjorie Taylor has studied for several years the many imaginary friends that young children say they have. Her work has drawn a lot of media attention.

Now there’s a new splash of coverage: A three-part series on National Public Radio’s Science Friday. Yes, it’s a radio show, but this one has three videos. Check them out here.

May 24, 2016

Celebration of Undergraduate Achievement in Psychology

Our annual Celebration of Undergraduate Achievement in Psychology will take place this coming Thursday May 26 from 3 to 5pm in the Lewis Atrium.

Lewis Atrium

Lewis Atrium

All of our graduating honors students will present posters describing the fine projects they have carried out this year. Abstracts can be viewed here.

These students are among the finest in our program and it will mean a lot to them for faculty and graduate students to drop by to chat with them. Hope to see you there!

Refreshments will be available.

May 21, 2016

Two psychology grad students head to the 3MT championships!

3MT Finalists Include Two Psychology Grads

3MT Finalists Include Two Psychology Grads

Two of our own, Alexander Garinther and Arian Mobasser, join Lizzy LeRud (English) in advancing to the statewide finals for the 3-Minute Thesis Competition at OSU on Saturday, May 21st from 1:30 – 3:30 pm at Oregon State University’s Learning Innovation Center 100.

Check out what they’ve thought about the event in this article!

May 18, 2016

Celebration of Marjorie Taylor

We have a terrific lineup of speakers coming to campus to celebrate Marjorie Taylor on the occasion of her retirement. The main events will take place in Gerlinger Hall from 2 – 6pm followed by a reception. The full schedule is below and in this flyer. Please join us!

2 – 2:15: Introductory remarks by Ulrich Mayr and Mike Posner

2:15 – 3: Paul Harris, Harvard University

“The reality-bound imagination of young children”

Although young children are often credited with a rich imaginative life, I argue that their imagination is generally reality-bound. It is constrained by their grasp of everyday causal constraints on what can actually happen.  Children need to be inspired by external input such as fairy stories – or a religious education – if they are to imagine the impossible.

3 – 3:45: Susan Gelman, University of Michigan

“The non-obvious foundations of human thought”

A hallmark of human cognition is the capacity to consider ideas that are non-obvious, invisible, or abstract. In this talk, I will review evidence that, contrary to classic assumptions, young children readily consider hidden, internal, abstract entities. I will discuss examples from categorization, language, and children’s understanding of everyday objects.  I will also discuss how Marjorie Taylor’s beautiful research on children’s imagination exemplifies the non-obvious foundations of everyday thought.

3:45 – 4: Break

4 – 4:45: Paul Bloom, Yale University

“The problem with stories”

We tend to think of the universal appetite for fiction and the imagination as a good thing, something that enriches our lives and makes us better people. I will explore the dark side of this human capacity, arguing that our drive for narrative often has tragic effects. 

4:45 – 5:30: Stephanie Carlson, University of Minnesota

“What do dreamers and control freaks have in common?”

We often think of “dreamers” and “control freaks” as opposite types of individuals and, perhaps as a result, developmental psychologists have rarely considered how these characteristics could stem from common sources in brain and cognitive development. I will describe my journey beginning as a student of Dr. Marjorie Taylor and her immense influence on my thinking and research about the links between imagination and the development of executive function — that is, conscious control over thoughts, emotional expressions, and decisions.

6pm: Reception

May 11, 2016

Professor Paul Slovic elected to the National Academy of Sciences

We received the excellent news that Paul Slovic was elected to the National Academy of Sciences! He is the third faculty member in our department to be elected, following Michael Posner and Helen Neville (a foreign associate).

May 10, 2016

Professor Phil Fisher presents keynote at LEGO Idea Conference — with muppets!

Neno and Kami, Muppets from the South African Sesame Street show, lent a furry hand to UO psychology professor and Philip H. Knight Chair Phil Fisher during a keynote address at a recent LEGO Idea Conference in Denmark. The fuzzy fellows were only too happy to help Fisher bring a complex idea down to earth. Fisher is a leading expert on children’s neurobiological and psychological development. The director of the UO’s Center for Translational Neuroscience, he develops programs in low income and marginalized communities for improving children’s healthy development, including their ability attach to caregivers, build relationships with peers and function in school.

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