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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Psychology

Interdisciplinary research on origins of behavior

Parents with an infant.Funded by grant from the National Science Foundation, scientists in WSU’s Department of Psychology and Department of Human Development are launching a four-year study of babies’ emotional reactions and responses, seeking a greater understanding of how humans develop safe and unsafe behaviors.

Researchers will study infants’ approach and avoidance behaviors, to understand how they develop in emerging brain » More …

Social-belonging exercise improves ESL student success

A group chatting outside.A study conducted at 19 universities found that a brief social-belonging exercise boosts the performance and persistence of students who speak English as a second language in STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and math.

“We found that this fairly brief intervention that involves reading stories from older students and doing a writing exercise had lasting effects throughout the first year of college for ESL students,” said Elizabeth Canning, assistant professor of » More …

WSU research behind potential Alzheimer’s drug

Leen Kawas and Joe Harding.It was 1991 and medicinal chemist Joe Harding was in his lab researching potential new options for relieving high blood pressure. Anomalies kept showing up in his lab tests, and if they meant what he thought they might, he and his research partner, WSU psychology professor John (Jay) Wright, were on the brink of a different breakthrough.

“I kept getting phone calls from Joe, and on each one he was more excited,” recalls Wright, who at the time was » More …

‘Fear of Missing Out’ impacts people of all ages

A young man holding a cell phone and looking out a window.Social media addicted teenagers are not the only people who experience the Fear of Missing Out also known as FoMO.

“FoMO is really about individual differences, irrespective of age,” said Chris Barry, a WSU psychology professor and the lead author on a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. “We expected FoMO to be higher in younger age groups, particularly because of the tremendous amount of social development happening at those times, but that’s not what we found.” » More …

Undergraduate fellowships support research, creative work

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.The WSU Office of Undergraduate Research named 12 CAS students as recipients of four different fellowships for 2020-21. Each will receive funding to support of mentored research, scholarship and creative activities for the 2020-21 academic year.

“In addition to the long-established Auvil and Carson undergraduate research awards and the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), we received additional support this year from an anonymous donor. This made it possible to support » More …

Meet the new faculty of fall 2020

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.Meet the college’s newest faculty, whose disciplinary expertise—from origin of life and supermassive black holes to political psychology, ancient economics, and interdisciplinary art—enriches and expands the arts and sciences at WSU. » More …

Enhancing research, creative activity in arts and humanities

title textEleven of WSUs most innovative scholars and artists have been selected for faculty fellowships and mini-grants from the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH) and the Office of Research.

Representing seven academic units and totaling nearly $78,000 in direct support, the funded projects include the creation of new international musical collaborations, investigations of interracial marriage in the historical American West, sustaining arts-based » More …

Compliance with CDC guidelines: what makes a difference?

Washing hands.Until there is a vaccine or effective treatments in place for COVID-19, public health experts are recommending preventative health behaviors such social distancing and wearing facial coverings in public to help stem the spread of the disease. But not everyone can or will enact these prevention behaviors.

Based on her lab’s prior work linking economic stressors (such as job insecurity and financial strain) with workplace safety behaviors, Tahira Probst, professor of psychology and an expert in occupational health » More …

Study indicates stereotypes can lead to workplace accidents

Pregnant woman.Fears of confirming stereotypes about pregnant workers as incompetent, weak or less committed to their job can drive pregnant employees to work extra hard, risking injury.

“The pregnancy stereotype is a silent stressor. It is not always visible, but it really impacts women in the workplace,” said Lindsey Lavaysse (’20 PhD), lead researcher for WSU recent study of pregnant women in physically demanding jobs. » More …

Psychologists study cannabis, PTSD relief connection

Cannabis leaf.According to a recent study led by Carrie Cuttler, assistant professor of psychology, people suffering from post‑traumatic distress disorder report that cannabis reduces the severity of their symptoms by more than half, at least in the short term.

Cuttler and her colleagues analyzed data of more than 400 people who tracked changes in their PTSD symptoms before and after cannabis use with Strainprint, an app developed to help » More …