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College of Arts and Sciences Psychology

2018 CAS graduate student award recipients

CAS logo on white with borderEvery year, the College of Arts and Sciences recognizes outstanding achievement by graduate students, both at the master’s and the doctorate level. Congratulations to our five awardees for 2018: » More …

Dr. Universe: How do we get our personality?

Dr. UniverseEveryone is different. Maybe you are adventurous, shy, outgoing, funny, or kind. Before you were even born, your unique personality was beginning to take shape.

That’s what I found out from my friend Chris Barry, a psychologist at Washington State University. He studies personality in young people, including how people express themselves on social media. He was really excited to hear about this question from Jamie, age 11.

Part of the answer is that some of your personality comes from your parents. Just as parents pass down physical traits like hair and eye color to their offspring, they can also » More …

What’s at the core of a dark personality?

interconnected circles and linesDark personality traits such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy are socially aversive personality styles that are often confused because of their similarities.

Using a quantitative technique called network analysis, WSU psychologists David Marcus and Jonathan Preszler, along with their colleague Virgil Zeigler-Hill at Oakland University, are investigating the behaviors that make up the common core of dark personality traits. » More …

Psychology course partners with clinic for real-world learning

Grace Clinic CEO Mark Brault presents to WSU Tri-Cities psychology students about the clinic and the services they offerAn elementary statistics in psychology course at WSU Tri-Cities partnered with Grace Clinic, a free health clinic in the Tri-Cities, to assess the mental health of its diabetic patients. The clinic now plans to use the data to maintain and improve its methods in meeting patient resources and health needs.

Throughout the fall semester course, the students analyzed the clinic’s diabetic patient A1C score data, which indicates the degree to which patients have their diabetes under control, and used a range of statistical » More …

Researchers see gene influencing performance of sleep-deprived people

Woman sleeping on a pillow at a deskWashington State University researchers have discovered a genetic variation that predicts how well people perform certain mental tasks when they are sleep deprived.

Their research shows that individuals with a particular variation of the DRD2 gene are resilient to the effects of sleep deprivation when completing tasks that require cognitive flexibility, the ability to make appropriate decisions based on changing information.

» More …

Knowing malice beyond the pale

Winter knowing malice beyond the palePete Simi’s mother wanted him to understand racism, so when he was 9, they watched a PBS documentary on the Ku Klux Klan. Here’s how he remembers one Klansman who was interviewed. “He spoke with such passion, anger, such strong emotion. And it just struck me, as a young child, trying to understand what was driving this person, how this person could get so enmeshed in hate.”

That question stuck with Simi ’96 throughout his undergraduate studies at Washington State University and later as a graduate student at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Simi, the author of American Swastika: Inside the White » More …

Philosophy major contributes to cognitive research

snowman in a hat with scarfGetting ready for school on a snowy day can be quite a challenge for young children. In addition to eating breakfast, getting dressed and packing up workbooks, they have to remember extra things like boots, gloves, a hat, and a coat.

Undergraduate researcher Jenna (Eva) Caneva helped turn this real-life scenario into a simple cognition exercise to test the ability of 6-to-10-year-olds to follow instructions. » More …

Affordable Learning Grants save WSU students thousands

drawing, computer and booksWashington State University faculty members are passing on more than $250,000 in savings to WSU students this fall, using funds from five Affordable Learning Grants and another funded through Academic Outreach and Innovation to develop open-source classroom materials, or OERs.

The University funded the grants over the summer, and the faculty members worked to develop their respective education resources. Most developed their own online textbooks building on existing open-source material. Because open-source OERs are licensed for free distribution and reuse, they allow professors like this summer’s grant recipients to customize course materials for their own classrooms. » More …

WSU leading implementation of online K-12 truancy prevention program

WARNS logoWashington State University is leading the online implementation of a program aimed at reducing school truancy that could positively impact schools across the state, and possibly the nation.

Paul Strand, WSU Tri-Cities professor of psychology; Nick Lovrich, WSU Regents professor emeritus; Brian French, professor and director of WSU’s Learning and Performance Research Center and Psychometric Laboratory; and Bruce Austin, research associate in educational psychology and the LPRC, evaluated and refined the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students program. WARNS uses data-driven procedures to track and improve interventions with students. » More …

Long-term cannabis use linked to muted stress response WSU study shows

A new study by Washington State University psychology researchers reveals a dampened physiological response to stress in chronic cannabis users.

Using a nationally recognized procedure designed to provoke elevated levels of stress, Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology, Ryan McLaughlin, assistant professor of integrative physiology and neuroscience, and colleagues in the WSU Department of Psychology examined levels of the stress hormone cortisol in both chronic cannabis users and non-users. » More …