Personalities

  • The Council of Undergraduate Research hosted 75 undergraduate researchers in Washington, D.C., on April 13 as part of its Posters on the Hill Reception, which highlighted undergraduate research achievements in all fields. The students presented their research to members of Congress, congressional staff and other federal employees. The 11 psychology students who presented their research are:

    • Sonia Barrera, Jose Rojas and Aimee Siebert, of Bethel College, on “Validating a Music Search Engine through Affective and Physiological Responses of Listeners.”

    • Kaitlin Louise Campbell and Hannah Jo Grawe, of Creighton University, on “A League of Their Own: Gender Composition of Educational Environments and Success.”

    • Joshua Philip Bow and Rikki Miller, of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, on “The Cannabinoid CB1 Neutral Antagonist AM 6527 Reduces Food-Maintained FR5 Lever Pressing Differently from Prefeeding in Rats.”

    • Kimberly B. Duggins of Elon University on “Behavioral and Electrophysiological Effects of Schema Activation on Memory for Crime Information in Older and Younger Adults.”

    • Jaclyn Ann VanSloten of the University of Michigan on “PhotoVoice: Delray Youth Finding Their Voice through Education, Action and Reflection.”

    • Tyler B. Larsen of Utah State University on “Mothers of Toddlers with Disabilities: Understanding Parenting Stress, Depression and Responsiveness.”

    • Christian Petersen of Weber State University on “Perceptual, Cognitive and Physiological Responses to Video Game Play.”

  • The Pennsylvania Association for Marriage and Family Therapists has named Frank Dattilio, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, the Marriage and Family Therapist of the Year. The association honored Dattilio for his contributions to the development of cognitive-behavior therapy with couples and families. A pioneer of cognitive-behavioral family therapy, Dattilio has lectured on the topic in 80 countries.

  • The National Institutes of Health have given Washington State University’s Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe, PhD, and her colleague Diane Cook, PhD, an electrical engineering and computer science professor, a $1.2 million grant. NIH awarded the grant for a project that uses motion sensors and voice prompts to help people who suffer from memory loss remember daily tasks, such as taking their medication.

  • The Council on Undergraduate Research is honoring Furman University psychology professor Gil Einstein, PhD, with its Fellows Award. The award recognizes Einstein’s development a nationally respected research program that involves undergraduate students.

  • The Association of Psychological Science awarded University of Toronto psychology professor Gary P. Latham, PhD, its James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award, recognizing his research on the motivational effects of goal setting in organizational environments. Latham, a past president of the Canadian Psychological Association, is the past president of Div. 14 (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology).

  • The National Institutes of Health has selected Teenie Matlock, PhD, for a six-year term in the Language and Communication Study Section, a peer review panel for language research. Matlock, a cognitive science professor at the University of California, Merced, conducts research that integrates cognitive linguistic theory with psycholinguistic methods to investigate how people describe space and motion.

  • The University of Maryland awarded its Regents Faculty Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities to Cynthia F. Moss, PhD, of the university’s neuroscience and cognitive science graduate program. She is studying special perception using the echolocating bat as a model system. Moss examines how bats process and interpret dynamic acoustic signals using sonar.

  • The Neuroscience Education Institute appointed Owen T. Nichols, PsyD, to its Continuing Medical Education Advisory Board. Nichols, the president and CEO of NorthKey Community Care in northern Kentucky, which provides a continuum of care for people needing mental health, substance abuse and intellectual disability services, will advise the institute on such psychopharmacology-related issues as the best ways to train providers and how to educate the public on the benefits of psychopharmacology.

  • Germany awarded Arizona State University psychology professor Stephen G. West, PhD, the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, an award given to international researchers at the pinnacle of their careers. The award recognizes West’s lifelong research in quantitative research methods, particularly multiple regression and structural equation modeling. He was also cited for his substantive research in the areas of personality and prevention psychology — how early interventions can prevent health and mental health issues. An established and highly respected group of German academics select the award recipient on behalf of the country.

  • The Utah Psychological Association honored Nanci Klein, PhD, with a lifetime achievement award. Klein, who serves as president of Div. 31 (State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Association Affairs) and chair of the Association for the Advancement of Psychology, was recognized for her advocacy and legislative accomplishments on behalf of professional psychologists.


Virtual grants

The National Science Foundation has awarded David Waller, PhD, a $312,000 grant to upgrade a virtual reality environment at Miami University in Ohio. Waller, who teaches psychology at the university, co-directs the Huge Immersive Virtual Environment (HIVE) facility with computer science professor Eric Bachmann, PhD.

Waller’s virtual reality system immerses users in a three-dimensional world that tracks their positions using infrared cameras and their orientation using head-mounted trackers.

The grant will allow Waller and Bachmann to enhance the HIVE to allow for multiple users to experience the same virtual environment at the same time. “By allowing multiple people in the space at once, we’ll come one step closer to using the HIVE for real-world training applications,” says Waller.

He has already conducted research to understand how people use cues from their environments to navigate. For example, in one experiment, Waller moved landmarks around in the space to find out how people rely on landmarks during navigation

When the system is fully updated Waller hopes to use it for training and educational applications such as teaching aspiring auto mechanics about car maintenance or enabling architecture students to present their designs in immersive, walk-around environments.

—J. Clark