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March 4, 2020

Undergraduate Research Featured in Washington D.C.

Congratulations to UO undergraduate student Rennie Kendrick, who was selected to participate in Posters on the Hill, a Washington, D.C. event showcasing innovative student work and highlighting the value of federal investments in undergraduate research.

Kendrick will be presenting a poster on memory and innovative thinking, the subject of her honors thesis. Her plans include meeting with members of Oregon’s congressional delegation. Assistant professor Dasa Zeithamova-Demircan is helping Kendrick with the project, part of their work in the UO’s Brain and Memory Lab.

You can read more here.

February 28, 2020

Thirty-First Annual Fred Attneave Memorial Lecture: James Haxby

We are pleased to host Professor James Haxby of Dartmouth College for our 31st annual Fred Attneave Memorial Lecture, “Modeling the structure of information encoded in fine-scale cortical topographies”! The lecture is on Friday, March 6th at 4pm in the Gerlinger Hall Alumni Lounge. A reception will follow. Please join us for both!

James Haxby

James V. Haxby, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Dartmouth College

Modeling the structure of information encoded in fine-scale cortical topographies

The neural representation of information that is shared across brains is encoded in fine-scale functional topographies that vary from brain to brain.  Hyperalignment models this shared information in a common information space.  Hyperalignment transformations project idiosyncratic individual topographies into the common model information space.  These transformations contain topographic basis functions, affording estimates of how shared information in the common model space is instantiated in the idiosyncratic functional topographies of individual brains.  This new model of the functional organization of cortex – as multiplexed, overlapping basis functions – captures the idiosyncratic conformations of both coarse-scale topographies, such as retinotopy and category-selectivity in the visual cortices, and fine-scale topographies.  Hyperalignment also makes it possible to investigate how information that is encoded in fine-scale topographies differs across brains.  These individual differences in cortical function were not accessible with previous methods.

Friday March 6th, 2020  4:00 – 6:00 pm

Gerlinger Hall Alumni Lounge

Reception to follow

September 10, 2019

Introducing Ksana Health, Prof Allen’s Digital Mental Health Company

Congratulations to Professor Nicholas Allen on the launch and funding of his digital mental health company, Ksana Health. The company grew out of Allen’s research on mental health and suicide prevention. Read more here.

Co-founded by Allen and Will Shortt, a software business leader and startup CEO, Ksana Health was recently launched with a mission to improve mental health outcomes. Its aim is to bring the therapy plan out of the office and into the patient’s daily life via a personalized mental health platform.

The company is considered a spinoff because it stems directly from UO research: an evidence-based, peer-reviewed research platform developed at the Center for Digital Mental Health, where Allen serves as director.

Ksana leverages the Effortless Assessment Research System apps for iOS and Android devices, which passively pull data from a patient’s phone related to known mental health vectors — such as sleep, physical activity, social interaction and self-reporting — and securely share that objective data with a therapist. The therapist will be able to quickly view the data, discuss it in therapy and build a plan with “nudges” in the apps that will remind patients of their scheduled therapy plan throughout their week, along with their medications and appointments.

June 28, 2019

State of the Department Report, 2019

Our annual State of the Department Report for 2019 summarizes our scholarship, undergraduate education, and graduate education activities for the past academic year. We’ve had a busy year! A brief summary is below, and you can read the full report here.

Psychology’s research and scholarly activity has been very vigorous during the last year. With regard to the most important aspect, namely peer-reviewed journal articles, our department presented 218 publications (i.e., about 6.4 per faculty member) and many of these were in the best, discipline- specific and cross-disciplinary journals. Other indicators, such as grant funding (combined 29 active grants with a total volume of $29 million) and national-level awards to our faculty are consistent with a highly productive department. Aside from a strong emphasis on basic-science research, faculty in our department also often engage in research with direct, societal impact.

In terms of teaching, Psychology continues to be one of the largest and by all metrics, most efficient providers of student credit hours on campus.

In terms of graduate education, Psychology continues to attract highly talented graduate students and we can afford to be highly selective in our admissions (14 admissions out of 438 applicants). At the same time, the department should work on growing our class size by 2-3 students per year, which may require extra recruitment efforts and/or adjustments in our initial interview offers. Our clinical graduate program serves a particularly important function in terms of training research-oriented clinical psychologists and its involvement in the associated Psychology Clinic, which provides both training opportunities and serves the community’s mental health needs.

May 31, 2019

Psychology Students in the 9th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium

Several of the amazing undergraduate students in our department participated in the 9th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium earlier this month. You can see pictures of them and their scientific posters in the gallery below.

Now in its ninth year, the Symposium has grown to 513 presenters and 290 faculty mentors spanning 75 majors, 21 minor programs, 33 minors, and eight colleges. It is so exciting to see the rapid growth of the Symposium since it began in 2011 with 69 presenters and 40 faculty mentors, and the fantastic student work that it showcases—over 2,000 students in its nine-year history.

 

December 10, 2018

Kikumoto, Mayr Research Featured in Around the O!

Research by doctoral candidate Atshusi Kikumoto and department chair Ulrich Mayr was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal eLife and featured in an edition of Around the O.
(more…)

May 20, 2018

State of the Department Report 2018

We are pleased to share our inaugural State of the Department Report for the 2017-2018 Academic Year. This report was compiled in response to a call from the Provost to set goals and monitor progress, and is an intended to be a frank assessment of our accomplishments for the present year and aspirations for the next. We think we had a pretty good year!

May 9, 2018

Three Minute Thesis Competition

Update: Our departmental winner, Sarah Donaldson, earned second place in the campus-wide 3MT finals during Grad Forum. Congrats, Sarah! Pics of our students, Sarah and Cameron Kay are below. Psychology was the only department with 2 finalists.


The Department hosted a successful Three-Minute Thesis (#3MT) Competition last week. Titles and abstracts of the presentations are below. The winner, Sarah Donaldson, will compete with students from other disciplines at Grad ForumFriday May 11 in the EMU (prelim rounds at 10:00). Sarah, Cameron Kay, and Jeff Peterson – plus a whole bunch of other grads – will all be participating in the Forum!

Congrats, all, on this excellent work!


Testosterone, Cortisol, and Risk-Taking Behaviors in Adolescents

Sarah Donaldson (Winner!)

Current evidence suggests that testosterone’s (T) influence on risk-taking behaviors is moderated by levels of cortisol (C), a “stress hormone” released by the HPA axis. Specifically, T has a positive association with risk-taking when levels of C are low. While this interaction has been demonstrated in adults, no work to-date has investigated this model in adolescents. We obtained baseline saliva samples from 149 adolescents, ages 11-17 years, who then played a simulated driving game (the Yellow Light Game; YLG) as a behavioral measure of risk. In the YLG, participants make decisions about whether to “STOP” or “GO” at several consecutive intersections, and any “GO” decisions involves a risk of crashing with another car in the game. Results showed the opposite pattern, namely that testosterone predicted a decrease in risk-taking when levels of C were low. Future work will explore this interaction and how it relates to brain activity across adolescent development.

 

The trident of Westeros: Morality and the Dark Triad in fictional characters

Cameron Kay

Coined by Paulhus and Williams (2002), the Dark Triad comprises three related—yet distinct—personality traits: Machiavellianism, subclinical narcissism, and subclinical psychopathy. Machiavellianism refers to a tendency to exhibit cynicism, amorality, and manipulativeness, whereas narcissism refers to a tendency towards vanity, entitlement, and superiority. Psychopathy, in contrast, refers to a combination of impulsivity and a lack of empathy. These three traits have often been linked to immorality. However, it hasn’t been shown that those high in the Dark Triad traits are necessarily perceived to be less moral. In a sample of undergraduate students, we found that fictional characters rated as being high in the Dark Triad traits were considered to be less moral than those characters rated as being low in the Dark Triad traits. This effect was greatest for psychopathy, followed by Machiavellianism, and, lastly, narcissism. A similar pattern was found in a complementary study using non-fictional people.

 

Intergroup Empathic Accuracy: To Use or Not To Use Stereotypes

Sara Lieber

Empathic accuracy is the similarity between what a perceiver infers a target is thinking at a specific moment and the target’s actual thought. Intergroup contexts are important for investigating empathic accuracy, and factors influencing it, within since perceptual inaccuracies have been associated with worse intergroup outcomes (Holoien et al., 2015). The only intergroup context in which empathic accuracy has been studied used new mothers as targets and found that using stereotypes to infer the targets’ thoughts was associated with better empathic accuracy (Lewis et al., 2012). However, this relationship likely varies depending on the intergroup context since the accuracy of stereotypes varies among groups. The current study investigated white perceivers’ inferences for the thoughts of Middle Eastern men. Our results indicated that perceivers’ use of the words spoken by the men during their interviews to infer the men’s thoughts was associated with better empathic accuracy, while using stereotypes was not.

January 10, 2018

Professors Win Awards from Association for Psychological Science

Congratulations to Professors Maureen Zalewski and Elliot Berkman, who recently won awards from the Association for Psychological Science!

Zalewski was named a Rising Star for 2017. Rising Stars are “outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research careers”.

Berkman received a Janet Taylor Spence Award for 2017. The APS Janet Taylor Spence Award recognizes transformative early career contributions to psychological science.

Congrats, Maureen and Elliot!

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