Newsletter Edition

Summer 2010

Published: 06/01/2010

Psychology as a Bridge to Diverse Opportunities

Photo of Sheri MizumoriPsychology is now widely considered a ‘bridge science’ that serves as a research core for a diverse array of scholars seeking to understand behavior from multiple perspectives. Psychologists are at the forefront of efforts to translate single discipline work to more integrated approaches that better address the complex problems of our society. Indeed, one now frequently observes psychologists included in research and development teams in businesses, educational institutions, clinical settings, and government agencies.  Psychological research has led the way in terms of our appreciation of the efficacy of behavioral interventions on a variety of mental health conditions, the importance of social and emotional well being on personal growth and life long learning, and the impact of behavioral experience on brain function. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that professional opportunities in the field of psychology are expected to increase dramatically at least through 2016.

Our department’s undergraduate and graduate programs seek to provide students with fundamental and cutting edge knowledge coupled with diverse analytic and quantitative skills from biological, cognitive, clinical, developmental, social, and evolutionary areas of behavioral research. Clearly, the theoretical knowledge and skills learned during the course of earning a psychology degree will prepare students to enter almost every sector of today's American job market. Congratulations to the Class of 2010!! You are now poised to make important contributions to society, and I personally look forward to hearing all about them!

As a department, we strive to remain at the forefront of psychological research and training, and we continue to find ways to work with our local community to address complex problems. This past year, new interdisciplinary groups of researchers and clinicians have come together around newly established core research facilities within our department.  Our faculty continued to receive prestigious awards and recognition for their outstanding research, and our stellar group of students again represented the best teachers, scientists, innovators, and community advocates. Thanks to the generous Alan Edwards and Roger Loucks endowments, we also had a productive and exciting lecture series throughout the year. The Edwards sponsored Psychology Public Lecture Series was particularly successful as it focused on the Development of Behavior.  This was our inaugural year of video streaming each lecture live! This has truly been another great year for the Psychology Department!

We look forward to the coming year as two new faculty members (Professor Wendy Stone and Assistant Professor Chantel Prat) join our department! Look for a more detailed description of their arrival in our Fall 2010 newsletter. Have a great summer!

Warm wishes,

Sheri Mizumori

Chair

Parenting Conference – June 5th, 2010

Image of conference website

Parents serve a critical role in facilitating children's behavioral, social and emotional development. The faculty and researchers at the UW Psychology’s Center for Child and Family Well-being want to partner with parents as the experts in their children’s development and as being at the “front lines” in working with their children. The Center seeks to bring parents into the conversation about promoting positive development in their children. 

Our faculty are truly at the forefront of the field contributing to knowledge about how parents can promote positive developmental outcomes in children. To share the latest findings from this research with parents, the Psychology Department’s Center for Child and Family Well-being hosted the first UW Parenting Conference in conjunction with Outreach & Extension’s UW Conference on Early Learning:

http://depts.washington.edu/uwconf/earlylearning/

The third day of the conference highlighted important findings about the role of parents in children’s behavioral, social and emotional development, with faculty translating empirical findings into actionable parenting guidance.  The presenters were UW faculty and researchers who offered the latest findings on children’s temperament, encouraging best behaviors, emotion coaching, mindfulness, and building children’s positive development through sports involvement.

Earl (Buz) Hunt Wins Lifetime Contribution Award

Photo of Buzz HuntBuz Hunt, professor emeritus of psychology, will receive the Association for Psychological Science’s James McKean Cattell award for lifetime contributions to scientific psychology. The award will be made at the 2011 conference of the society. The APS is the largest non-clinical psychological organization in the world, and regards the Cattell Award as their highest honor.  The award from the APS comes on the heels of the Lifetime Achievement award from the International Society for Intelligence Research that Buz received in December 2009.

Buz has been a professor at the University of Washington since 1966, coming here from previous positions at Yale, UCLA, and the University of Sydney, in Australia. In addition to his work in Psychology, he was a member of the group that founded the Computer Science Department, and also served as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science. While generally focusing on issues in cognition, Buz’s research is particularly noteworthy because it spans multiple topics and techniques. His research has included psychopharmacological studies of drugs that improve learning in animals, studies of artificial intelligence and the use of expert systems computer programs in education. His primary research interest has focused on individual differences in cognition with a particular emphasis on intelligence.

He and the late Professor Clifford Lunneborg conducted studies that established a link between information processing models of human thought and individual differences in intelligence. His 1995 book, Will we be smart enough?, won the American Psychological Association’s William James book award in 1996. His work has been characterized by the use of mathematical models, an interest that he has pursued during his active retirement. His book on the topic, The Mathematics of Behavior, is a Scientific American book club entry.

Buz emphasizes that while Lifetime Achievement awards are given to individuals, they also highlight the team of colleagues who have worked with the recipient. In particular, he acknowledges his many colleagues who, as postgraduates, graduate students, or undergraduates, worked in his laboratory, and to the administrative support staff who also made his work possible.

Aditya Ganapathiraju

"I was really engaged in social psychology because of how profoundly social dynamics can affect peoples' behavior." - Aditya Ganapathiraju (BA, June 2010)

Aditya Ganapathiraju is a student of humanity.  A double major with philosophy who is also completing minors in human rights and values, Aditya is interested not only in the individual, but in how the individual behaves in relation to and interacts with larger social groups.  One of two psychology majors nominated for a Dean's Medal in Arts and Sciences, Aditya finds psychology to be a useful tool to examine the reasons behind people's behaviors.  "Psychology is relevant to almost every aspect of life that concerns human behavior," he says, "so it seemed to me to be a fundamental subject to be studied."

Prior to his arrival at UW in 2005, Aditya studied at Nassau Community College, in New York state.  His move to Seattle, following a traumatic spinal cord injury in 2002, was to undergo rehabilitation therapy at UW Medical Center.  Several months of introspection and self evaluation followed, as Aditya began to move forward with his life.  As an undergraduate at UW, Aditya has taken advantage of a wide range of academic and extracurricular activities.  A frequent contributor to The Daily student newspaper, Aditya has also been involved with the Student Disability Commission and serves as an officer for two politcal and social action student organizations.

In addition to his pursuit of two majors and two minors, Aditya has worked with psychology professor David Barash on a number of research and independent study projects. Dr. Barash, who has high praise for Aditya's scholarly commitments to peace and social justice, entrusted him with making suggestions for selections to be included in a book project.  "I have been teaching at the UW since 1973," says Dr. Barash, "and can say unequivocally that Aditya is the most remarkable, accomplished and promising undergraduate student I have encountered during the ensuing 37 years!"  In turn, Aditya points to Dr. Barash and the courses he teaches as "little known treasures" on campus.  Both Dr. Barash and psychology professor Cheryl Kaiser top Aditya's list of 'not to be missed' instructors at UW.

For Aditya, the ability to synthesize his personal experiences with the knowledge that he has gained about human behavior and social interactions will guide him in future endeavors and inform the choices he makes.  Ideally, a next step will be a research position with the Rehab Medicine unit that was his first 'home' in Seattle.  There, he will no doubt bring to bear his knowledge of and passion for the interface between psychology and philosphy, the fruits of this truly interdisciplinary study of humanity.

Allen L. Edwards Public Lectureship in Psychology

Every year, we are able to offer for free, a public series that is made possible by a generous bequest from Professor Allen L. Edwards.  The theme of the 2010 Psychology Department Edwards Public Lectures (held in February and March) was the Development of Behavior. This series explored the development of our understanding of the relationships between our actions and our goals, how birdsong relates to language and learning mechanisms in humans, and how family and social factors associated with adversity shape brain development and subsequent behavioral adjustments. These lectures were video-streamed live for the first time. If you missed these extraordinary lectures, you can still view them on line at UWTV (http://uwtv.org/about/access.asp), the Research Channel (RC) (http://www.researchchannel.com/prog/pacific.asp#wa),or you can download the podcasts (http://uwtv.org/index.aspx)to view them at your convenience. 

The Development of Thinking About People: From Behavior to Brain – Part 1
Dr. Jessica A. Sommerville, University of Washington
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To download the podcast, visit http://uwtv.org/programs/displayevent.aspx?rID=30983

The Development of Thinking About People: From Behavior to Brain – Part 2
Dr. Rebecca R. Saxe, Massachusetts Institute for Technology

To download the podcast, visit http://uwtv.org/programs/displayevent.aspx?rID=31352

Learning to Talk, Learning to Sing: Parallels in Humans and Songbirds - Part 1
Dr. Michael D. Beecher, University of Washington
RC Airdates: June 1 @ 12:00am, 6:00am, 12:00pm, 6:00pm
To download the podcast, visit http://uwtv.org/programs/displayevent.aspx?rID=30991

Learning to Talk, Learning to Sing: Parallels in Humans and Songbirds - Part 2
Dr. Michael H. Goldstein, Cornell University

RC Airdates: June 8 @ 12:00am, 6:00am, 12:00pm, 6:00pm
To download the podcast, visit http://uwtv.org/programs/displayevent.aspx?rID=31494

Early Adversity and the Neurobehavioral Development of Children - Part 1
Dr. Liliana J. Lengua, University of Washington
UWTV Airdates: June 1 @ 10:00pm: June 2 @ 1:00am, 4:00pm; June 4 @ 11:00pm; June 5 @ 3:00am
RC Airdates: June 15 @ 12:00am, 6:00am, 12:00pm, 6:00pm
To download the podcast, visit  http://uwtv.org/programs/displayevent.aspx?rID=30992

Early Adversity and the Neurobehavioral Development of Children - Part 2
Dr. Philip A. Fisher, University of Oregon

UWTV Airdates: June 7 @ 10:00am; June 8 @ 10:00pm; June 9 @ 1:00am & 4:00pm; June 11 @ 11:00pm; June 12 @ 3:00am
RC Airdates: June 22 @ 12:00am, 6:00am, 12:00pm, 6:00pm
To download the podcast, visit http://uwtv.org/programs/displayevent.aspx?rID=31495