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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Psychology

Context, not screen time, better predictor of well-being

Social media icons on a cell phone.In one of the first wide-scale surveys of social media engagement and well-being in college student-athletes, WSU researchers found why and when, rather than how much, has a greater influence on an individual’s mental health.

“A user’s perception of their social media use and the importance it has in their daily life is particularly telling,” said Chris Barry, psychology professor and principal investigator (PI) for the project. » More …

Artist combines dance, psychology in documentaries

Dance performance.Through her recent collaboration with EcoArts on the Palouse, psychology graduate student Hannah Levy created “Staying with the Pause,” a dance documentary which touches on the struggles many people face during the pandemic.

“For a documentary dance, the main purpose is highlighting the story more than anything,” said Levy. This form of storytelling allows her to combine a love for dance with psychology to create a beautiful and emotional experience. » More …

Senior researcher honored at multicultural STEM conference

Jenna Pederson, a general studies in biological sciences major from Silverdale, Wash., received an award for her undergraduate research presentation at the annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), which were held virtually in November.

Mentored by WSU psychology professor Rebecca Craft, Pederson’s research project on modeling the severity of human pain was recognized in the physiology and pharmacology category, which » More …

Cougs who serve

Troy Moya.The world-wide reach of WSU’s Global Campus has given rise to a unique community of students who are actively serving in the United States military. The convenience and flexibility of asynchronous learning is an ideal option for active duty soldiers and sailors who live and work in locations around the globe.

“Earning my degree was essential for increasing my analytical capabilities,” said Troy Moya, an enlisted Air Force imagery intelligence analyst and a recent WSU psychology graduate. “It has helped me to express my thoughts in an informed way that » More …

More economic worries mean less caution about COVID‑19

Hands and hand sanitizer.Workers experiencing job and financial insecurity are less likely to follow the CDC’s guidelines for COVID-19, such as physical distancing, limiting trips from home and washing hands, according to a study led by WSU Vancouver psychology professor Tahira Probst.

“We all have a finite set of resources at our disposal, whether it’s money, time or social support, and individuals who have fewer of those resources appear » More …

Student-produced video celebrates Veterans Day

The WSU Veterans Memorial on the Pullman campus.With the usual in-person gatherings unable to take place this year, faculty, staff, and students across the WSU system celebrated Veterans Day a little differently. Student-veteran Chris Mann produced a special video to share the traditional wreath placement at the WSU Pullman Veterans Memorial and to honor and thank veterans throughout the WSU community.

Mann, a senior majoring in psychology and criminal justice who spent eight years on active duty in the Marines fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is president of the » More …

Cannabis reduces OCD symptoms in the short term

Cannabis.People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, report that the severity of their symptoms was reduced by about half within four hours of smoking cannabis, according to a Washington State University study.

“The results overall indicate that cannabis may have some beneficial short-term but not really long-term effects on obsessive-compulsive disorder,” said Carrie Cuttler, WSU assistant professor of psychology and the study’s corresponding author. “To me, the CBD findings are really promising because » More …

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 …