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Newsletter Editions

Published: 06/08/2011
Summer 2011

Research

Faculty Accomplishments

Michael Beecher
Photo of Michael Beecher 

Michael Beecher was quoted in articles about a study that demonstrates that the size of an animal's social group helps to determine the uniqueness of that individual's voice.  One of these articles is “The (Justin) Bieber factor makes unique voices”, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41649829/ns/technology_and_science-science/

Ilene Bernstein
Photo of Ilene Bernstein 

Nicholas Nasrallah, Annie L. Collins and Ilene Bernstein co-authored a study that found that adolescent alcohol use is associated with altered ability to evaluate risk. The study concludes that adolescent alcohol use corrupts decision-making later in life.  Jeremy J. Clark, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is also a co-author.  http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/uw-study-finds-adolescent-alcohol-use-associated-with-altered-ability-to-evaluate-risk

Eliot Brenowitz
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Eliot Brenowitz was awarded a new five year NIMH grant. Steroid hormones have potential for use as neuroprotective agents in the treatment of stroke and a variety of neurodegenerative and mental health disorders. They are also of increasing concern as drugs of abuse. This work, Comparative studies of vocal control, will examine the fundamental mechanisms by which these potent hormones influence neuronal birth, death, and gene expression.

Sapna Cheryan
Photo of Sapna Cheryan 

Sapna Cheryan’s research on members of U.S. immigrant groups choosing typical American dishes as a way to show that they belong and to prove their American-ness has received considerable media coverage. Immigrants to the United States and their U.S.-born children gain more than a new life and new citizenship. They gain weight. The wide availability of cheap, convenient, fatty American foods and large meal portions have been blamed for immigrants packing on pounds, approaching U.S. levels of obesity within 15 years of their move.  The results of the study are published in the June issue of Psychological Science.  It has been picked up by a New York Times food blog, US News & World Report, Time magazine’s health blog, Seattle Weekly, Vancouver Sun, and KIRO, among others.  See ‘Fatting in’: Immigrant groups eat high-calorie American meals to fit in, http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/2018fatting-in2019-immigrant-groups-eat-high-calorie-american-meals-to-fit-in

Dario Cvencek,Anthony Greenwald and Andrew Meltzoff
Photo of Dario Cvencek
Photo of Anthony Greenwald
Photo of Andrew Meltzoff 

Dario Cvencek, lead author and a postdoc at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, and co-authors Anthony Greenwald and Andrew Meltzoff’s study on gender stereotypes has received considerable media coverage after the publication of their study in the March/April issue of Child Development

“Children express the stereotype that mathematics is for boys, not for girls, as early as second grade," according to a new study by University of Washington researchers. "And the children applied the stereotype to themselves: boys identified themselves with math whereas girls did not.” 

Coverage ranged from Toronto (http://www.torontosun.com/life/2011/03/14/17605041.html) to India (http://www.dailyindia.com/show/429917.php) and many places in-between.  You can listen to it on KPLU, http://kplu.org/post/kids-develop-math-stereotypes-second-grade-uw-study-finds#

Annette Estes
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Annette Estes's research on IQs, reading, spelling, math and social functioning of “high-functioning” autistic children is receiving substantial media coverage. One is For Autistic Kids, IQ May Not Predict School Achievement, http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/646285.html

Ione Fine and 
Jaime Olavarria

Photo of Ione Fine 
Photo of Jaimie Olavarria 

Ione Fine received a Royalty Research Fund grant to, with the help of UW Radiology, carry out high resolution structural imaging of early visual pathways.   Her proposal, along with Jaime Olavarria’s, were two of only 30 funded out of 101 submissions.

John Gottman
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John Gottman’s work was used as a starting point in a column in a recent Huffington Post. Why men don’t listen to women, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-leahy-phd/why-men-dont-listen-to-wo_b_808187.html

Jim Ha
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Jim Ha was interviewed by KOMO news. Vicious or vilified? Debate rages over pit bulls, http://www.komonews.com/news/local/109770109.html

Renee and Jim Ha
Photo of Renee Ha
Photo of James Ha

Renee and Jim Ha’s paper Without intervention, Mariana crow to become extinct in 75 years, written for Bird Conservation International, has been picked up by multiple media sources, Sources include US News & World Report and the Saipan Tribune. http://tinyurl.com/ha-crow-article

Kevin King
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Kevin King will be honored with an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. Every year, students who are presenting their work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium are invited to nominate their mentor for special recognition.  Dr. King is one of five mentors who will be honored this year with an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.  This award recognizes his great efforts in guiding undergraduates to become scholars.

 

Jeansok Kim
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Jeansok Kim’s work on Neuroscience of instinct: How animals overcome fear to obtain food has received a lot of media coverage. http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=61310  

Jeansok Kim was also named as one of the top 'Faces and Minds of Psychological Science' by the Association for Psychological Science.  He was described as a top “researchers ....in the exciting field of psychological science. Using the latest methods and technologies, they have made enormous strides in exploring the complexities of human behavior in all of its forms, from the most basic brain research to applications in health, education, business, and social issues.” http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/members/psychological-scientists/#hide

Janxin Leu
 Photo of Janxin Leu

Janxin Leu’s research shows that Asians interpret and react to positive emotions differently in regard to their mental health. Psychotherapies emphasizing positive emotions, which can relieve stress and depression in white populations, may not work for Asians, who make up 60 percent of the world population.  Co-authors of the paper are Jennifer Wang and Kelly Koo, both Psychology graduate students. The journal Emotion published the study online March 28.   The UW’s Institute for Ethnic Studies in the United States funded the research.  Press in Los Angeles and Los Angeles and the Seattle Morning News have carried this.  Psychologists warn that therapies based on positive emotions may not work for Asians, http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/depression-PTSD-mental-health-japan-emotion

Marsha Linehan 
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Marsha Linehan was quoted in The Wall Street Journal. The article Conquering Fear states that mindfulness “holds that simply observing your critical thoughts without judging them is a more effective way to tame them than pressuring yourself to change or denying their validity.” http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/newsmakers-2

Lois McDermott and Ron Smith 
Photo of Lois McDermott 
Photo of Ron Smith 

Lois McDermott and Ron Smith received Faculty Member of the Year awards from the UW's sororities and fraternities at the Greek Awards 2011 event. Lois's Human Sexuality course was honored as "Course of the Year," and Ron received the "Most Inspirational Professor" award for his Human Performance Enhancement course.

Andrew Meltzoff and Peter Kahn
Photo of Andrew Meltzoff 
Photo of Peter Kahn 

Andrew Meltzoff and Peter Kahn presented at the Osaka-UW Workshop in March. Andrew spoke on Developing social cognition: Gaze following and imitation; infants and robots, and Peter spoke on Social and moral relationships with robots.  Osaka University, Japan - with the Center of Human-friendly Robotics Based on Cognitive Neuroscience program - is one of the UW Study Abroad sites.  http://www.gcoe-cnr.osaka-u.ac.jp/english/

Sean O’Donnell 
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Sean O’Donnell’s research on Social wasps show how bigger brains provide complex cognition was featured in UW Today and the April 11 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was also picked up by the US News & World report site, among other news sources. See As the brain gets larger, there’s disproportionately greater investment in the size of brain tissue for higher-order cognitive abilities.  Co-authors are Yamile Molina, who received a doctorate in psychology at UW, and Marie Clifford, a UW biology graduate student.

http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/social-wasps-show-how-bigger-brains-provide-complex-cognition-see-slideshow
http://www.pnas.org/search?fulltext=sean+o%27donnell&submit=yes

Jaime Olavarria 
Photo of Jaimie Olavarria
 

Jaime Olavarria’s Royalty Research Fund proposal was one of the 30 funded out of 101 submissions. With the help of UW Radiology, he will perform a quantitative analysis of the effects of visual deprivation on the columnar organization of rat visual cortex.

Lee Osterhout
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Lee Osterhout’s work on language was featured extensively on msnbc.com. Fluent in another language? The CIA wants you covered his research on the importance of motivation in language learning.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41992862/ns/technology_and_science-science/

Frank Smoll
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The Mastery Approach to Parenting in Sports, developed by Frank Smoll and Ron Smith, was the feature topic of a recent Fox Sports Radio show http://www.y-e-sports.com/img/2011_1_24_Fox_Sports_Radio_MAPS.mp3 To listen to the broadcast, click here

Frank Smoll was interviewed by ABC News, What Would You Do? Overbearing skater mom calls child 'pathetic, embarrassing' http://tinyurl.com/overbearmom

Frank Smoll was interviewed (again) by FOX Sports Radio.This session focused on stress in youth sports.  You can listen to the interview here:  http://www.psych.uw.edu/research_pool/images/2011_3_28_Fox_Sports_Radio_Stress.mp3

Wendy Stone
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Wendy Stone is co-author of a study that indicates that the level of interest toddlers with early signs of autism show in toys may predict how well they will respond to a parent-guided treatment program. The study has received coverage in U.S. News & World Report and many science and medical on-line news sources.  http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/interest-in-toys-predicts-effectiveness-of-autism-treatment-in-toddlers