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April 22, 2020

Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development Led by Prof Fisher

A group of Psychology faculty led by Professor Philip Fisher are leading a study to measure the effect of the coronavirus epidemic on young children and their families:

“There is very limited actionable science-based, data-driven information to inform federal and state policy about the best ways to manage the situation in order to buffer children from long-term toxic stress effects,” Fisher said. “The situation is extremely fluid, with new information about the state of the pandemic and local, state, and policy decisions being made on a daily basis.”

Read more about the study in the report from the first wave of data collection and in Around The O.

The research is made possible by three new grants totaling roughly $500,000 from the Heising-Simons Foundation, the JB and MK Pritzker Family Foundation and the Valhalla Charitable Foundation.

April 15, 2020

Do We Become More Selfless As We Age? Prof Mayr Weighs In

Professor and Department Head Ulrich Mayr wrote an article in The Conversation addressing the question of whether people become more prosocial with age. He writes:

Also, older participants tended to become more willing to give their money to charity or to volunteer in this experiment. And when assessing their personality characteristics through questionnaires, our group found that they exhibited traits such as agreeableness and empathy more strongly than younger participants.

These observations align with growing evidence of more altruistic acts in the elderly. For example, the share of their income that 60-year-olds give to charity is three times as much as for 25-year-olds. This is significant even though they tend to have more money in general, making it easier to part with some of it.

People who are 60 and up are about 50% more likely to volunteer. They are also nearly twice as likely to vote as those under 30.

The entire piece is in The Conversation and was also picked up by the Chicago Tribune and Mic. The article summarizes a recent review by Dr. Mayr and a collaborator, Alexandra Freund, in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

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!

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