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Spring Newsletter 2020



Message from the Chair

Bert Uchino

Bert Uchino, PhD

The spring marks the end of another successful, albeit challenging year for our department as COVID-19 redefined life for everyone.  The department navigated a number of challenges, including a need to switch all of our in-person courses online in a short time.  Thanks to the hard work of faculty, staff, and graduate students, we were able to do so and finish up the semester well.  More generally, despite all the challenges, I have been very impressed by the thoughtfulness and problem-solving of our collective whole during these uncertain times.

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Convocation Ceremonies Postponed Until December

Based on student feedback, it was decided to postpone convocation ceremonies. We still want to take opportunity to congratulate our graduates. We have 11 graduates that we would like to recognize. We have 4 of our students receiving their master’s degrees and 7 students receiving their Ph.D.s. We also have 14 honor students graduating.  


I am Multiracial

“What are you?” It’s a loaded question, and for people with multiple racial ancestries, it can be a body blow to that person’s sense of identity and inclusion. According to new research from Jasmine Norman and Jacqueline Chen, questions such as “What are you?” and other experiences of discrimination are related to mixed race people’s identification as multiracial.

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Research Shows Women Tend to Dress More Conservatively

Danielle DelPriore had 120 heterosexual women read a short story about a young woman who is preparing for a job interview with a male manager. Half of the participants read a version of the story in which the woman, Melissa, wore makeup to her interview. The other half read one in which Melissa didn’t wear any makeup.

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Living Close to Parks is Linked to Happiness

Research suggests nature itself can be mentally restorative by reducing stress and enabling people to regain concentration. Going into nature changes how the brain works, with the parts associated with being mindful and in a meditative state becoming more active, explained David Strayer. 

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Trafton Drew Receives Irwin Altman Outstanding Psychology Faculty Award

The 2020 winner of the award was Dr. Trafton Drew. Trafton is an ideal recipient of this award as a complete scholar.  His research record in terms of publications and grant support is very impressive and he has excelled as instructor, mentor, and honors advisor.  Congratulations to Trafton on this well-deserved recognition. 

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Frank Drews Receives 2020 Franklin V. Taylor Award

Frank Drews was awarded the 2020 Franklin V. Taylor Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Applied Experimental/Engineering Psychology (APA, D21).  This award recognizes outstanding achievements made by a psychologist in applied experimental/engineering psychology by virtue of (1) research and publication, (2) special new contributions (e.g., equipment or techniques) or (3) general leadership in the field (e.g., teacher, director of laboratory, officer in societies).

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Kristina Rand Receives Superior Teaching Award 

Congratulations to Kristina Rand who was awarded a superior teaching award from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Kristina has been a fabulous instructor for the Psychology Department for a number of years and this award is more acknowledgement of her strong impact on so many students

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Lisa Aspinwall, Ph.D. 

  • Priority of risk (but not perceived magnitude) predicts improved sun-protection behavior following genetic counseling
  • Parent and child perspectives on family interactions related to melanoma risk and prevention after CDKN2A/p16 testing of minor children
  • A pilot study of a telehealth family focused melanoma preventive intervention for children with a family history of melanoma

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Tim Smith, Ph.D. 

  • Relationship partner social behavior and CPAP adherence: The role of autonomy support
  • Autonomic influences on heart rate during marital conflict: Associations with high frequency heart rate variability and cardiac pre-ejection period
  • Prospective association between suicide cognitions and emotional responses to a laboratory stressor: The mediating role of nightly subjective sleep quality

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Lisa Diamond, Ph.D.

  • Was it good for her?  An alternative perspective on life history theory, female same-sex sexuality, and pleasure
  • Associations between oxytocin and cortisol reactivity and recovery in response to psychological stress and sexual arousal
  • Subjective and oxytocinergic responses to mindfulness are associated with subjective and oxytocinergic responses to sexual arousal

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Last Updated: 6/4/21