Newsletter Section

Faculty Focus

New faculty spotlight - David Gire

Photo: David Gire
Photo: David Gire

What do art, philosophy, and neuroscience have in common? Plenty, according to new Assistant Professor David Gire, who has interests in all three. In his research, David seeks to combine multiple disciplines to understand how neural circuits in the brain process complex natural stimuli to guide flexible behaviors such as navigation and foraging. READ MORE.

New Research Grants

The Psychology Department is excited to announce a new funding opportunity to jumpstart innovative research.  The department-sponsored Faculty Interdisciplinary Research Pilot Awards (FIRPAs) are aimed at stimulating new, interdisciplinary research among Psychology Department faculty that has the potential to secure additional extramural funding.  Awards cover research costs up to $20,000 for a one year period. 

In this first round, nine faculty teams from across the different areas of the Department submitted proposals.  An anonymous review committee of fellow faculty members made the difficult decision of choosing the three that would receive funding this year.  The inaugural awardees are:

Kristina Olson, Katie McLaughlin, and Stephanie Fryberg
Project:  Roles of Cultural and Self Construal in Children's Responses to Trauma in One's Community

Jessica Sommerville and Wendy Stone
Project:  Behavioral and Physiological Response to Emotional Displays in Infants at High and Low Risk for ASD

Lori Zoellner, Jeansok Kim, and Libby Marks
Project:  Memory Reconsolidation: α-amylase, Salivary Cortisol, and Physiological Correlates


Congratulations to the following faculty members who have recently been awarded new and highly competitive federal or foundation grants to conduct cutting edge research concerning a number of important issues facing our society:

Dr. Sapna Cheryan received a three year National Science Foundation grant that will help us to better understand the role of social peer pressure on career choice. Dr. Cheryan will also develop environmental strategies that reduce such social pressures. This work should increase diversity of membership in a number of traditionally gender biased careers.

Dr. Melanie Harned was awarded a three year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to assess the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Prolonged Exposure (an integrated treatment for individuals who suffer PTSD with suicidal ideation) when implemented in community agencies, and to develop methods that facilitate the implementation of this intervention method in clinical practice.

Dr. Susan Joslyn began a three year grant project supported by the National Science Foundation that will help us to better understand climate change perception, and the role that factors such as trust, self-efficacy, and concern have on that perception.

Dr. Marsha Linehan received a two year grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to investigate the role of a potential warning sign of acute risk of suicide deaths in adolescents, and that is sleep problems. Of particular interest is how sleep problems affect emotion regulation. This work will provide important information that could improve treatment strategies for high risk suicidal individuals.

Dr. Kate McLaughlin received a five year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the effects of child trauma on areas of the brain that are responsible for emotional regulation. This research will provide new insights into a possible link between adverse environments and psychopathology.

Dr. Scott Murray began a five year grant (also from the National Institute of Mental Health) that seeks to understand how inhibitory systems of the brain contribute to sensory and motor symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. A better understanding of the role of inhibitory systems could lead to more effective pharmacological treatment options.

Faculty accomplishments in the news

David Barash

In January, David Barash's work on monogamy was mentioned in an article about the purpose of love.


David Barash's evolutionary biology research on jealousy between partners was cited in this January article on insecurity and envy in relationships.


In January, David Barash authored an Op-Ed published in the LA Times on nuclear weapons and the conflict between our biological and cultural natures.

Sapna Cheryan

Sapna Cheryan's work highlights other factors in classroom design and layout that influence how we learn, featured in a January article.

Anthony Greenwald

UW Professor of Psychology Anthony Greenwald exposes our hidden biases and questions the extent to which they shape our likes, dislikes, and judgments about people in a Seattle Channel video lecture in December.


This January article about implicit bias and employment law draws heavily on work done by Tony Greenwald.

Susan Joslyn

Susan Joslyn's study on false alarms in extreme weather scenarios was featured in this January article on noncompliance with weather warnings.

Liliana Lengua

In January, Lili Lengua's work with the UW Center for Child and Family Well-Being was highlighed in an article in which she discussed the changing definition of family, in order to combat neglect and build better families.

Kate McLaughlin

University of Washington Assistant Psychology Professor Kate McLaughlin's work is at the cutting edge of new research on how abuse and neglect shape the human brain, featured in a December four-part podcast series.

Kristina Olson

In February, Kristrina Olson began a landmark study to document the experience of transgender children, the first of its kind in the nation.

Chantel Prat

Chantel Prat was quoted in a January Huffington Post article, "5 Amazing Advances in Brain Research in 2014", discussing University of Washington research in direct brain-to-brain communication.

Ronald Smith

In January, Ron Smith's work on coaching styles was mentioned in an article discussing how coaching means different things to different people.

Jessica Sommerville

Jessica Sommerville found that humans are capable of altruism earlier than previously thought, discussed in this January Huffington Post article.

Andrea Stocco

Andrea Stocco's work in direct brain-to-brain communication research was discussed in a January Huffington Post article on 2014 advances in brain research.

Wendy Stone

In January, Wendy Stone and UW's Research in Early Austism Detection and Intervention (READi) Lab implemented a new five-year, 3.9 million initiative to expand their work and continue to lead in the field of identifying children with special needs.