Newsletter Article

Faculty Awards and Recognition

Psychology Faculty in the Media

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 were published in the June issue of Psychological Science. It was picked up by a New York Times food blog, US News & World Report, Time magazine’s health blog, Seattle Weekly, Vancouver Sun, and KIRO news, among others. See “‘Fatting in’: Immigrant groups eat high-calorie American meals to fit in,”

Kevin King was interviewed for a Seattle Times article on the Undergraduate Symposium.
“King said undergraduates approach research in ways that are both naive and refreshing, asking basic questions and helping researchers break entrenched patterns of thinking. They also can serve as a sounding board as researchers strive to explain their work in very accessible, nontechnical ways.” In addition to being interviewed, King was one of five faculty who received an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for his efforts in guiding undergraduates to become scholars. “UW undergrads show their research shouldn't be overlooked,”

Diane Logan (Psychology graduate student and lead author) and Kevin King’s research on heavy drinking was picked up by the Seattle PI, KUOW, and the Reuters news service, among others.
The study showed that some people continue to drink heavily because of perceived positive effects, despite experiencing negative effects such as hangovers, fights and regrettable sexual situations. According to participants in the study, boosts of courage, chattiness and other social benefits of drinking outweigh its harms, which they generally did not consider as strong deterrents. The findings offer a new direction for programs targeting binge drinking, which tend to limit their focus to avoiding alcohol’s ill effects rather than considering its rewards.

Eliot Brenowitz was interviewed by the Seattle Times for an article on “Naturalists fear overuse of birdcall apps.” “With the proliferation of smartphones and apps, more bird-watchers are using recorded bird songs to flush out species for better viewing and photography. But the technique is controversial among some experts who say it can stress male birds that believe a recorded song signals a rival invading their territory…. Ordinary life already is tough for birds, especially during breeding season’, said UW biologist Eliot Brenowitz, who studies brain wiring and bird song. ‘In some species, males become accustomed to the voices of their neighbors, which makes them more likely to be alarmed by an unfamiliar, recorded call,” he said. The article was picked up from Bellingham to Miami.

Lori Zoellner’s work on post-traumatic stress disorder was featured in UW Today: “Learning to not be afraid.”  “It may seem counterintuitive to ask someone to repeatedly recount an event that is so scary,” said Zoellner, director of UW’s Center for Anxiety & Traumatic Stress. “But as someone does this he or she begins to look at the memory differently and the memory has less control over their lives." The Center will soon start studying this therapy along with medication.
The UW press release was picked up by many on-line resources ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Sudan Vision, from Nursery World to Your Olive Branch.

Peter Kahn was interviewed about “our tangled relationship with the natural world” by New Scientist. The interviewer asked if it matters that our experience of nature is often divorced from the real thing? He observed that “When we lose hundreds of experiences with nature, we hurt ourselves badly.”

John Gottman was referenced in a Carolyn Hax advice column.
“(T)he primary task for you now is to keep from emotionally checking out. This disengagement is the phenomenon well tracked by John Gottman:” excuse/2011/05/03/AFkFWB5G_story.html

Peter Kahn and Wendy Stone were interviewed by National Geographic article on social robots.
The article discussed Peter Kahn’s 2007 paper “"What Is a Human?" in which he and colleagues, proposed a set of psychological benchmarks to measure success in designing humanlike robots. Their emphasis was not on the technical capabilities of robots but on how they're perceived and treated by humans. The article also describes a prototype robotic system that plays a simple ball game with autistic children. It was developed by Wendy Stone, with Nilanjan Sarkar, when she was at Vanderbilt University. This robot represents a first step toward replicating one of the benchmarks of humanity: knowing that others have thoughts and feelings, and adjusting your behavior in response to them.
“Us. And them. Robots are being created that can think, act, and relate to humans. Are we ready?”

Frank Smoll was interviewed by the Utica Observer-Dispatch.
The feature article "Coaches Sidelined: Parents are Driving Sports Leaders off the Bench" appeared in the May 29, 2011 issue.

Frank Smoll was interviewed for an article entitled "Too much organization? Spontaneity is disappearing from youth sports.” for Columbia Sports
He observed that “sports should not be viewed just as a free babysitting service. They should really serve as extensions of the positive models coaches provide for kids, so that when the coaches teach the kids on the playing field, the parents can pick right up on it in the home environment.” According to Smoll, the biggest problem that youth sports faces is the mistaken application of professional models to what should be a developmental process.

Dario Cvencek (Psychology post-doc), Andrew Meltzoff, and Anthony Greenwald’s study on culturally communicated messages about math was the featured in the June 2011 issue of Columns, the UW Alumni Association’s magazine.
“Our results show that cultural stereotypes about math are absorbed strikingly early in development, prior to ages at which there are gender differences in math achievement,” says Meltzoff. “Deep-sixing the math myth: Cultural stereotypes steer girls away from math,” Columns, June 2011.

The UW Autism Center was the subject of the lead article in the Spring issue of UW’s Front Porch, a publication sent to residents in surrounding communities. Psychology Professor Wendy Stone directs the center. “For families in the greater Seattle area…there’s one choice for gold-standard comprehensive diagnosis and treatment: the UW Autism Center. As the understanding of autism has expanded and deepened dramatically in the last decade, more is known about the importance of early intervention and the strategies and tips for helping children with autism learn. In 2010 alone, the UW Autism Center connected over 500 families with experts for appropriate diagnosis, earlier detection, and research opportunities.” UW Autism Center: Bringing Hope and Support to the Region, after Diagnosis,

Marsha Linehan was interviewed by NPR’s Neal Conan on the show Talk of the Nation in early July. The basic question explored on this show was “Is the idea of anonymity among alcoholics in recovery still appropriate, or has the stigma lessened such that it’s no longer needed?” She observed that “…being public about private parts of your life, when the private parts of your life are stigmatized by the public, should be very strategic, and that it's often a mistake, and many people - particularly people that (she) treat(s) - are often too public. And so they get rejected before someone gets to know them.”
“Reassessing Anonymity in 12-Step Programs”

Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy is among the “100 New Scientific Discoveries: Fascinating, Unbelievable and Mind Expanding Stories,” published by Time Inc.
“Psychologists dread patients with personality disorders…. Now, however, there’s hope for borderline personality disorder patients, thanks to a treatment called dialectical behavior therapy…. Some 10,000 therapists are now trained is DBT. That’s a huge corps of healers for the estimated 18 million Americans diagnosed with BPD - all of whom were once considered incurable.” The book was published in August, 2011.

Research by social-personality area graduate student, Jennifer Wang, along with Janxin Leu and Yuichi Shoda was discussed in Northwest Asian Weekly. The work, “When the Seemingly Innocuous’ Stings’: Racial Microaggressions and Their Emotional Consequences,” was published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in December, 2011. Their research clarified how perceptions of subtle racial discrimination that do not necessarily involve negative treatment may account for the “sting” of racial microaggressions, influencing the emotional well-being of racial minorities, even among Asian Americans, a group not often expected to experience racism.

Rebecca Cortes was interviewed by the Seattle Times about the Early Childhood Leadership Certificate program. The interview focused on Rebecca’s role both as a Research Scientist and as a grandmother. The columnist, Jerry Large, noted that “(S)cience illuminates the mechanisms at work and helps us know which words work best and what is going on at various ages, so that we can tailor approaches to best help children.”

Liliana Lengua was interviewed for a King TV’s HealthLink presentation on “Parenting style matched to child's temperament cuts anxiety and depression”
The summary of the study was “the more we can fine tune our parenting to our child’s needs, the more effective we can be,” said Dr. Lengua. They found that for kids who were more impulsive, less focused, and lower in self-control, more guidance from parents lowered the children’s anxiety. But for children who could manage better on their own, with more ability to regulate their own emotions and actions, it was different. Cara Kiff and Nicole Bush were co-authors on this research. You can see the interview and read the article at 478498.html

Jessica Sommerville’s study on babies and altruism showed that a basic sense of fairness and altruism appears in infancy.  Babies as young as 15 months perceived the difference between equal and unequal distribution of food, and their awareness of equal rations was linked to their willingness to share a toy. “It’s likely that infants pick up on these norms in a nonverbal way, by observing how people treat each other.” Sommerville’s research team is now looking at how parents’ values and beliefs alter an infant’s development. Read about the experiment at

Campus-Wide Recognition and Awards

Kevin King was 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 were honored in 2011 with an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. This award recognizes his great efforts in guiding undergraduates to become scholars.

The “UW Psychlists” (Geoff Loftus, Tony Greenwald, Laura Little, Kevin King, Scott Murray, Phil Burger, and Frank Farach) placed in the top 15 teams in the Group Health Commute Challenge. These bike commuters logged an impressive 111 trips by bicycle, rode 1,021 miles, and commuted 88% of the days possible. This placed them in the top 15 out of over 1,400 commuting teams in terms of percentage days commuted. Remember, they're passing on your left!

Lee Osterhout received the 2011 Davida Teller Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. This award was developed by graduate students in psychology and named for long-time faculty member, Davida Teller recognizing Davida and an outstanding mentor of graduate students and her role in revamping our entire graduate curriculum just before she retired. Lee's students presented the award to him at the 2011 Research Festival, noting their honor in working with an outstanding teacher, scientist and mentor.

Jeanny Mai, Amanda Patrick, Michele Jacobs (and dog Gracie), Sheri Mizumori (and dog Kona), and Beth Rutherford successfully completed the October 23, 2011 Dawg Dash. Their entry fees benefited student scholarships.


National – International Recognition and Awards

Randall Kyes’ International Field Study Program-Indonesia, received funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For 16 years, Randall Kyes, research professor in psychology and director of the UW Center for Global Field Study, has led undergraduate and graduate students on fieldwork expeditions to Indonesia where students conduct their own field studies while developing research relationships with Indonesian students and researchers. Now Kyes’ program, International Field Study Program-Indonesia, is receiving funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to increase the number of American students studying in Indonesia, the fourth most populated country in the world. “UW part of national effort for greater ties with Indonesia,”

Kevin King received a Young Scholar Grant from The Jacobs Foundation for “Self Regulation and Sensitivity to Context as Determinants of Psychopathology in Adolescence.” The goal of this two-year grant is to identify characteristics of youth who are most vulnerable to peer influences on self-regulation and to link variability in sensitivity of self-regulation to the peer context to internalizing and externalizing psychopathology.

Jeansok Kim was named as one of the top 'Faces and Minds of Psychological Science' by the Association for Psychological Science. He was listed as one of the top “researchers 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.”

Ana Mari Cauce received the 2011 MFP James M. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association at their annual convention in August. This prestigious occasional award recognizes distinguished and exemplary long-term contributions to the field of racial and ethnic minority psychology from senior-level alum of the Minority Fellowship Program. The MFP James Jones Lifetime Achievement Award is given in honor of the APA’s second Director who has served in that role for over 30 years.

Sara Jane Webb, Adjunct Associate Professor, was chosen to attend the 2011 Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology sponsored by the American Psychological Association.
Dr. Webb was one of 40 national mid-career women psychologists chosen to participate in the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology (LIWP) in August. The mission of the LIWP is to prepare, support, and empower women psychologists as leaders; to promote positive changes in institutional, organizational and practice settings; and to increase the diversity, number and effectiveness of women psychologists as leaders. The LIWP workshop is focused on preparing mid-career women in psychology by insuring that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to complete for leadership and senior management positions in their chosen setting.