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Got a temperamental toddler? CUDDLE them to sleep: Scientists think it could help them be better behaved

If you have a temperamental toddler it could be worth incorporating cuddles into their bedtime routine, a new study suggests.

Researchers have discovered passive tricks to help a child fall asleep – for example cuddling, singing and reading – are positively linked to a child’s temperament.

On the other hand taking more active measures like walking, going on a drive or playing with your child appear to have a negative effect, the study suggests.

A team of international scientists asked 841 parents across 14 countries to participate, who all had toddlers aged between 17 and 40 months.

Christie Pham.

Christie Pham, a psychology graduate student and one of the authors from Washington State University, said: “Our study shows that a parent’s sleep-supporting techniques are substantially associated with their child’s temperament traits across cultures, potentially impacting their development.

“For example, countries with higher reliance on passive strategies had toddlers with higher sociability scores.

“Our results demonstrate the importance of sleep promotion and suggest that parental sleep practices could be potential targets for interventions to mitigate risk posed by challenging temperament profiles across cultures.”

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Daily Mail


Parks named associate vice president of health sciences academic programs and policy

Craig Parks.

Craig Parks has been named associate vice president for health sciences academic programs and policy within Washington State University Health Sciences, effective Sept. 1. He will retain his current role as vice provost for system innovation and policy on a part-time basis until Jan. 1, 2023, as well as continue to act as the university’s accreditation liaison officer (ALO) in the Provost’s Office on a part-time basis.

“Dr. Parks is an accomplished institutional leader with a heart for the health sciences and growing academic programs,” said Daryll DeWald, vice president for WSU Health Sciences and chancellor for WSU Spokane. “His expertise is vital to our health sciences colleges’ successful accreditation processes. I look forward to working with him as we continue our collective vision for expanding WSU Health Sciences across Washington State.”

Parks arrived at WSU in 1993 as a visiting faculty member in the Department of Psychology, where he later received a permanent appointment. He joined the Office of the Provost in 2015 and has been serving as the vice provost for system innovation and policy since 2019, where he supports academic initiatives across the WSU system and oversees federal and state academic policy. In his new role, Parks will be responsible for supporting academic program development as well as the accreditation processes for the colleges of Nursing, Medicine, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

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WSU Insider

New student regent named to WSU Board of Regents

A clinical psychology doctoral student who has worked with populations ranging from young children and university students to retirees and incarcerated men is serving as the new student regent on the WSU Board of Regents.

Reanne Chilton.

Reanne Cunningham Chilton was selected by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to serve on the WSU Board of Regents for academic year 2022–23. She is currently in her fifth year of the clinical psychology doctoral program, having already graduated from WSU with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language teacher education and a master’s degree in special education and teaching.

Prior to serving as the student regent, Chilton got involved with the Department of Psychology’s student organization. She went on to serve as a senator for the department in the Graduate and Professional Student Association, winning its senator of the year award in 2021. She most recently held the role of GPSA president this past academic year.

“I tend to not be someone who thinks of themselves for different roles, but when it came to the GPSA presidency and before that with my work within my department, I decided after not to be the person to decide I don’t fit and that I felt that I can make an impact.”

Chilton was also recently recognized as a recipient of the President’s Award for Leadership.

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WSU Insider

Deep economic divide found even among employed people during COVID-19

An exploratory study with implications for the growing gig-economy indicates there were only two kinds of workers during COVID-19: the haves and the have-nots.

Using data collected from 315 employed adults across 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, researchers examined how workers were affected by precarity—a persistent insecurity in employment or income. They looked at a range of measures related to precarity including job insecurity, financial insecurity, prior unemployment, household income and underemployment.

What they found was that most employees either had all positives or all negatives on these measures with little in between.

“We were expecting to find different nuanced groups. We didn’t. We only found two: those that were doing well and those that were doing really poorly,” said lead author Andrea Bazzoli, a Washington State University psychology doctoral candidate. “It’s a sign of a two-speed economy and the K-shaped economic recovery: some people are being left behind. That is pretty concerning as we recover as a nation from the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Tahira Probst.

Precarity can create a spiraling effect, said co‑author Tahira Probst, a WSU psychology professor. For instance, if employees have insufficient income, they may not be able to afford doctor’s visits or medications leading to poor health, which can make them less fit for their jobs, which then increases their job insecurity, which can further deteriorate their health.

“These cycles have implications for organizations as well as for the employees themselves,” Probst said

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WSU Insider

Research opportunities for underrepresented students

Alexandra Melena.

As a Hispanic woman from Southern California, Alexandra Malena questioned just how welcome she would feel at Washington State University’s rural Pullman campus.

She also found herself asking how she would fare in WSU’s neuroscience curriculum.

“Being first-gen and in a STEM field, I always had these doubts in the back of my mind,” Malena said. “But I quickly found a group of people here who helped me feel welcome and comfortable.”

That group, a hodgepodge of undergraduate and graduate students inside Associate Professor Ryan McLaughlin’s laboratory, eventually led her to another support network – WSU’s new Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program.

In addition to financial and peer support through the program, Malena, whose father is from Argentina and mother is from Mexico, said the program has helped her believe in herself when imposter syndrome kicks in.

It also pushed her to explore her passion for the brain and add neuroscience as a second major, in addition to psychology. “The aspect I love about psychology was learning about the brain, so I felt I should probably be studying neuroscience too,” she said.

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WSU Insider