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PSU at SIOP 2019

Earlier this month, our program traveled to National Harbor, MD for the 34th Annual Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology conference! There were several items on the conference program that involved research from PSU I/O students and faculty. We also held our annual alumni reception, where we were able to honor Rick Jacobs for his 40 years of service to the program! See below for pictures taken throughout our time there!

Dr. Kisha Jones interviewed by US. News and World Report and Women's Wear Daily on Chief Diversity Officers

Dr. Kisha Jones was interviewed for two recent news articles on the how some organizations have begun to create Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) positions. One thing she discusses in the U.S. News and World Report article "How Diversity Officers Change Corporate Culture", is some of the challenges that CDOs are up against:

With movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, diversity dominates today's headlines. That these efforts are controversial hints at the pushback diversity officers sometimes face from "people who are resistant to diversity" and "people who feel like they aren't represented in the diversity initiatives," Jones says.

Workers and managers who aren't necessarily opposed to diversity may still find it uncomfortable to talk about, having grown accustomed to "colorblind models" of operating that experts consider to be outdated, Jones says.

In the Women's Wear Daily article "On Staff: Diversity and Inclusion Chiefs--the Hot New Fashion Accessory", the discussion focuses on whether CDOs are implemented in response to consumer backlash towards fashion companies that (unintentionally?) sell products considered to be insensitive and/or offensive. In this article, she discusses what having CDO signals to employees and customers as well as the potential effectiveness of the role:

“I think there’s a lot of tension around diversity — whether racial diversity, gender diversity — that is at the forefront so people are thinking about it and companies realize that these are things that are spilling over into the workforce, too,” she said.

Jones said in the past, some companies had this role in a vice president’s position, but adding it to the c-suite or making it a leader role like at H&M “creates some accountability because someone in that role will have to report to the ceo” and is a move by the board to demonstrate it is taking the issue seriously.

“Just the presence of that [position] sends a signal that diversity is something they’re taking seriously,” Jones said. “We need some time to see how people are able to function in that role and what they’re able to accomplish, but I think that it’s a great start. It’s important.”

Click the links above to check out the full articles. Congrats Kisha!

Dr. Scott Highhouse's Visit to PSU I/O Program

In mid-October, our program hosted Dr. Scott Highhouse, Professor of Psychology and Ohio Eminent Scholar at Bowling Green State University for a visit. He presented a talk entitled:

Intersection of Industrial-Organizational Psychology with Judgment and Decision Making: A Personal Account

Here are some pictures from his visit:


Thank you for coming out Scott, we enjoyed having you!

Dr. Alicia Grandey's work featured on "WorkLife with Adam Grant" and Wisconsin Public Radio

Dr. Alicia Grandey's research was featured on WorkLife with Adam Grant (Episode 5, 4/4/2018, link:
and Wisconsin Public Radio (4/6/2018, link:
Feel free to check these programs out!

Dr. Alicia Grandey and program alum Dr. Lawrence Houston receive media attention

Dr. Alicia Grandey recently wrote an article for The Conversation  entitled  “Black employees in the service industry pay an emotional tax at work,” based on a study with PSU IO program alum Dr. Lawrence Houston. Their research has gotten attention in as well as The Salon, the San Francisco Chronicle and Philadelphia Inquirer. Congrats Alicia!

Gordon Sayre conducting research in Switzerland

Gordon Sayre won the ThinkSwiss Scholarship, permitting him to work in Switzerland with Dr. Laurenz Meier over the summer of 2018. Congrats!

Dr. Susan Mohammed Interviewed by New York Magazine Blog

Dr. Susan Mohammed was recently interviewed by New York Magazine's blog, Science of Us, regarding her opinion on a commonly used method of bringing groups of people together for the first time, icebreakers. Apparently, they can be ineffective if not done properly.

“Icebreakers are generally a first step and they can be valuable in … getting people to know each other,” she says. “But in terms of group cohesion or deep levels of trust or psychological safety or an open climate, it’s just not going to be enough.”

In this interview, she offers strategies for making icebreakers more effective.

And one way to make people a little more engaged, Mohammed says, is to outline right off the bat what they’ll be doing, explain the goal of the icebreaker — are they there to build trust? learn something new about a person? figure out roles for a team? — and to reiterate those same points again once it’s all done.


Dr. Susan Mohammed's Invited Talk at APS 2016

Dr. Susan Mohammed was invited to present her work on temporal orientations and how that affects team performance at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) this past May. Click here for a write up in the APS Observer on the session as well as highlights from what she discussed. Great job Susan!

Dr. Alicia Grandey Interviewed by The New Yorker

Dr. Grandey was recently interviewed by The New Yorker magazine about her research on emotional labor as well as other factors that influence work environments.

Even more salient, Grandey argues, is the feeling of inauthenticity that enforced emotional displays create. In her research, she has found that putting on an emotional mask at work—conforming to a certain image that doesn’t necessarily correspond to how you feel or who you are—drains you of energy that can only be replenished if you then have an opportunity to be yourself. “You have to be able to be real,” she told me. “If we’re expecting people to be super happy and positive to people you’re expected to be positive with as part of your job”—to smile and act upbeat with clients and customers—“if you can’t turn around and be real with co-workers, you are amplifying emotional labor. And you have a real problem on your hands.

Click here for the full story. Congrats!

NSF Workshop on Emotions, Creativity, and Work Climate Hosted at Penn State

Last month, Dr. Alicia Grandey organized an NSF workshop on emotions, creativity, and work climate that brought together researchers in psychology, organizational behavior, and engineering from across the campus as well as around the world.

Click the link below for an overview of the workshop.

Dr. Alicia Grandey's NPR podcast: McDonald's and Emotion Norms in Russia

Dr. Alicia Grandey was recently interviewed as part of the NPR's podcast Invisibilia about emotional labor and how McDonald's is changing emotion norms in Russia!   

Click here for more information on the interview:

Click here to access the full podcast:

Workshop brings together leaders in psychology, engineering design

Professor of Psychology Alicia Grandey hosted a workshop for students and scholars in organizational psychology, business, and engineering design.

“A key point of our workshop is that, despite attempts to design and optimize creativity and production using rational algorithms based on rigorous decision theory, in the end, people in groups make decisions and engage in behaviors that are not always rational, due to the climate in which they work,” said Grandey. “Unfortunately, organizations are often studied through only one lens, at the detriment of complete understanding of productive and innovative workplaces.”

While engineers tend to focus on optimizing the process, psychologists tend to focus on optimizing the people, and business scholars tend to focus on optimizing the organizational context. Grandey and Simpson brought together 45 scholars and students in the three fields because they believe moving forward requires cross-disciplinary discussions from scholars across academic silos.

For more information about the workshop, see the full story at Penn State News.

World Campus student receives two degrees, graduates with highest distinction

Michael Robinson, a student from Great Falls, Montana, was recently featured by Penn State News for his accomplishment of graduating with bachelor's degrees in psychology and nursing through Penn State World Campus:

Robinson, who works full-time as a registered nurse for Benefis Health System, a large medical center in north-central Montana, received an associate degree in nursing from Darton State College in Albany, Georgia (his hometown). He knew there would be “numerous” advantages to continuing on for his bachelor’s degree.

“From increased marketability, to opportunities to move into management, to the ability to pursue graduate study leading to advanced practice roles, the decision to finish my bachelor’s degree was a no-brainer,” he said. “More fundamentally, it provided me with a sense of pride and accomplishment, something you can’t put a price tag on. No one can ever take that away from you.”

The full article can be viewed at Penn State News.

Wadsworth's research featured by NIMH

Research by Professor of Psychology Martha Wadsworth was highlighted by the National Institute of Mental Health's Spring 2015 issue of Inside NIMH.

Research by Associate Professor of Psychology Martha Wadsworth was highlighted by the National Institute of Mental Health's Spring 2015 issue of Inside NIMH.

Chronic stress and its effects are increasingly recognized as primary factors contributing to psychopathology in vulnerable children and adolescents. Preadolescence is a crucial time during which children’s ability to recognize stress and its causes matures, and is a time for building skills for managing stress. It is also a period of increased brain changes and growth in key self-regulatory physiological systems. Therefore, preadolescence might be an optimal time for intervening to prevent the onset of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms in children faced with chronic stress. Martha Wadsworth, Ph.D.  (Pennsylvania State University) aims to demonstrate that children facing chronic stress from exposure to poverty, discrimination, and violence can acquire and utilize new ways of coping. She and her team will also test whether these new coping skills have positive effects on stress physiology and changes in clinical symptoms. This exploratory evaluation of the Building a Strong Identity and Coping Skills (BaSICS) intervention is an early-stage, proof-of-concept study; if successful, it may yield preliminary data to support the development of an application for a confirmatory efficacy trial.

    Worried? You're Not Alone

    Professor of Psychology Michelle Newman was quoted in an article published by the New York Times.

    Two out of five Americans say they worry every day, according to a new white paper released by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Among the findings in the “Worry Less Report”: Millennials worry about money. Single people worry about housing (and money). Women generally worry more than men do and often about interpersonal relationships. The good news: Everyone worries less as they get older.

    “People have a love-hate relationship with worry,” said Michelle Newman, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Pennsylvania State University, who was not involved in the writing of the report. “They think at some level that it helps them.”

    Dr. Newman's work was previously featured by Time Magazine in a June 2015 article titled "You Asked: Do I Worry Too Much?"

    As human beings, our ability to predict trouble—and outwit it—is one of those cerebral superpowers that set us apart from birds and beasts. But nonstop worrying can be crippling to your life and your immune system.

    “Just having a thought about some potential bad thing that might happen—everyone has those,” says Dr. Michelle Newman, director of the Laboratory for Anxiety and Depression Research at Pennsylvania State University. “But if you have difficulty stopping the worry once it starts, that’s one of the ways we define what’s called pathological worry.”

    The vicious cycle that makes people afraid to talk about climate change

    Paper by Nathaniel Geiger and Janet Swim featured by the Washington Post.

    The recent Journal of Environmental Psychology article "Climate of silence: Pluralistic ignorance as a barrier to climate change discussion" by Nathaniel Geiger (graduate student, social psychology) and Professor of Psychology Janet Swim was featured in an article by The Washington Post.

    In a nutshell, Geiger and Swim find that people are often afraid to talk about climate change with their peers because they wrongly think those peers are more doubtful about climate change than they actually are. This incorrect perception — which the authors dub “pluralistic ignorance” — then makes people fear that others will think they’re less competent, and thus, view them with less respect, if they bring up the subject or talk about it.

    And then, that cascades and suppresses interpersonal conversations that might otherwise help put the issue more on the agenda. “There potentially can be this kind of spiral, where people are silent because they don’t know what other people think and people don’t know what other people think because nobody’s talking about it,” says Geiger, a PhD student in the Psychology Department at Penn State.

    The full article can be viewed at The Washington Post.

    Penn State project to help at-risk youth conquer chronic stress

    Associate Professor of Psychology Martha Wadsworth and the Coping and Regulation of Environmental Stress (CaRES) Lab have received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to implement an intervention program that fosters positive youth development through a combination of coping skills and positive identity development.

    Stress can cause numerous physical and mental health problems, but for children, stress from problems such as discrimination or poverty are especially harmful because children have little control over these problems. Fortunately, a Penn State intervention program is being expanded for youth facing chronic stress.

    Building a Strong Identity and Coping Skills (BaSICS) is a program developed by the Penn State CaRES Lab designed to teach low-income and minority preadolescent youth healthy ways of coping with stress and divert them from negative outcomes.

    Martha Wadsworth, director of the CaRES Lab and associate professor of psychology, and her research team were recently awarded a $1.1 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to expand and evaluate the effectiveness of the BaSICS program. If the team is successful in achieving its goals in the first two years of the project, it will receive an additional $1.7 million from NIMH for the second phase.

    More information about Professor Wadsworth and the NIMH grant can be found through Penn State News.

    Bierman named Pugh Professor

    Karen Bierman, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies, has been named an Evan Pugh Professor by Penn State University.

    Image of Karen Bierman, Evan Pugh Professor and McCourtney Professor of Child Studies.Karen Bierman, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies, Director of the Child Studies Center, and Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies, has been named an Evan Pugh University Professor, the highest academic honor granted by Penn State University. In the current academic year, Bierman has also received the McCourtney Professorship of Child Studies and been recognized by the College of the Liberal Arts for her success in attracting external support for her research.

    As of May 2016, only 71 faculty members have been named Evan Pugh Professors in the history of Penn State. Professor Bierman is Psychology's second faculty member to be recognized as an Evan Pugh University Professor, following Herschel W. Leibowitz (1977). 

    Evan Pugh University Professors are recognized among faculty who have completed at least five years of service to Penn State and have distinguished themselves as leading researchers, strong leaders in the University community, excellent teachers, and respected colleagues of their academic peers.

    Additional information about Professor Bierman's commendation and the two other recent recipients of the Evan Pugh University Professorship can be found through Penn State News. A complete historical listing of Evan Pugh Professors at Penn State University can be accessed through the Office of the Vice President for Research at Penn State.

    Shields wins Zalk Award

    Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies Stephanie Shields wins the Sue Rosenberg Zalk Award for Distinguished Service to the Society for the Psychology of Women.

    Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies Stephanie Shields.The Society for the Psychology of Women (Division 35 of the American Psychological Association) has announced that Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies Stephanie Shields is the 2016 recipient of the Sue Rosenberg Zalk Award for Distinguished Service to the Society for the Psychology of Women. Professor Shields is being recognized for her mentorship and support for the psychology community, as well as for her work in organizing the First and Second Institutes for Academic Feminist Psychologists.

    This award recognizes the contributions of an individual who has served the Society for the Psychology of Women, American Psychological Association, in a variety of significant ways over a substantial period of time, as did Sue Rosenberg Zalk. The Award will be presented at the 2016 APA convention and carries a $500 honorarium. 

    At the time of her death in 2001, Sue Rosenberg Zalk, PhD, was book series editor. In the course of over 20 years of service to the division, Zalk was APA program chair and chaired committees and task forces on recruitment, fellows selection, awards, the Hyde Graduate Student Research Grant, mentoring, feminist submissions to mainstream journals, and the urban initiative, and was liaison to Div. 51 (Psychology of Men & Masculinity) and the Association for Psychological Science. She rarely missed an Executive Committee meeting and was forthright, insightful, strategic, and diplomatic in her comments. She also assisted other committee chairs with their responsibilities and was a mentor and friend to many SPW members. 

    Congratulations to Professor Shields for this honor!

    Bilingualism and Language Development Lab on display at national science fair

    The Bilingualism and Language Development Lab (BiLD Lab) represented the National Science Foundation at the 4th Annual USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC.

    The BiLD Lab (PI: Janet van Hell, co-PI: Ping Li) was one of only 26 NSF-supported projects, and one of the only two arts and humanities projects, to be selected to showcase its research in the NSF’s Exhibit Pavilion.  Researchers in the BiLD lab study the neurocognitive processes related to language development, second language learning, and bilinguals’ use of two languages, with a particular emphasis on language development and bilingualism at middle childhood and beyond.

    “This festival gave us the unique opportunity to showcase how we conduct research on second language development and bilingualism using neuroscience techniques and highlight the value of interdisciplinary research by bridging neuroscience and humanities,” noted Janet van Hell, professor of psychology and linguistics, director of the linguistics program, and director of the BiLD Lab.  “This was an excellent outreach opportunity to demonstrate the broader impact of research.

    “The children were highly engaged and curious to learn more about the brain. Our team of all-female researchers (postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, with multi-cultural background) also reflected the diversity of the scientific community and showed these children that women are actively and successfully involved in STEM research.”

    For more information, see the full news story at Penn State News.

    Trying, and failing, to forget has lasting effects

    Research conducted by Avery Rizio (post-doctoral scholar) and Nancy Dennis (Associate Professor of Psychology) in the Center for Language Science has been featured in a recent article from Penn State News.

    Avery Rizio, a Penn State postdoc in the Language and Aging Lab in the Center for Language Science, and Nancy Dennis, associate professor of psychology, recently published research in the journal Cognitive Neuroscience that demonstrates how forgetting unimportant or outdated information is not accidental, but is an active neurological process.

    “Our research shows that even when you try to forget information, some of it may be retained, but you will need to work harder to recall this information. This is reflected by increased activity in areas of the brain that are associated with effort and difficult tasks,” Rizio explained.

    . . .

    Their work, combined with previous research, indicates that attempting to forget new information involves inhibition of encoding, the crucial first step in creating a new memory, and that such inhibition persists even if the new item is ultimately remembered rather than forgotten. “Inhibition allows us to forget unimportant information,” Dennis explained. “It seems to have a lasting effect on memory processing and makes the ultimate recollection of these items much more difficult.”

    The full article can be read through Penn State News.

    Psychology faculty recognized for external research funding

    The College of Liberal Arts honored faculty members who received external funding for their research at the Third Annual Researcher Appreciation Reception. Among the faculty honored were several psychology researchers (bolded below):

    In addition to the 21 faculty members who were awarded their first grant at Penn State this year, special recognition was given to those who have received external funding for their research for 15 or more consecutive years. Those honors included Lynn Liben, James Tybout, and Pamela Cole (15 years), Jim Lantolf and Joan Richtsmeier (16 years), John McCarthy, Mark Shriver, and Judy Kroll (17 years), and Ken Weiss, Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus (23 years).

    Karen Bierman, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies and Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies was honored for having 25 years of consecutive funding. She currently has an NIH R01 grant that goes through 2020.

    For more information, see the College of Liberal Arts.

    World Campus students hold digital research conference

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – For years, undergraduate Psychology students at Penn State, University Park have gathered in Moore Building for the annual Psychology Department Undergraduate Research Conference.  This year, they were joined by a new group of students.  Twenty-one Psychology majors from Penn State’s World Campus, also presenting their research on a variety of psychology topics.

    Like their University Park counterparts, World Campus students prepared posters describing their research.  However, the World Campus students’ posters were displayed online.  The virtual posters were grouped into categories and displayed in different “rooms” using a program called Hyperfair.  Using an avatar, visitors could roam the rooms, read the posters, and chat with the student presenters.  World Campus students logged in from their home computers and discussed the research presentations in real time with their classmates.  University Park faculty, staff, and students could also join in.  A bank of computers was set up for this purpose directly across the hall from the traditional version of the research conference. 

     “This actually has been a dream since the World Campus Chapter of Psi Chi was formed a little over a year ago” said Brian Redmond.  Dr. Redmond, then a Senior Lecturer in Psychology, was the advisor for Penn State’s World Campus chapter of Psi Chi.  To make the online event a reality, World Campus students worked with faculty and staff to evaluate potential software packages, secure supplemental funding to defray start-up costs, reserve physical space in Moore Building, and set up a digital conference center.

    World Campus students also hosted a brief talk by Penn State Professor Louis Castonguay titled “Practice-Oriented Research in Psychotherapy.” While Dr. Castonguay spoke in Moore Building, his talk was livestreamed into a digital hall and attended by digital avatars for dozens of World Campus students, attending live through Hyperfair.   The talk stimulated questions and comments from both online and physically present audience members, discussing the alignment of clinical practice, research, and theory to improve the research and practice of psychotherapy. “It was a great experience for World Campus students who don’t regularly get to attend talks like University Park students do almost weekly” said Redmond.

    Nature and nurture both matter for children's early behavior problems

    Research by scholars at Penn State and seven other institutions has uncovered new indicators for risk of antisocial outcomes in children, as well as the source of these problems:

    The researchers studied callous-unemotional (CU) behaviors, such as lack of empathy and emotion, and found that toddlers with these behaviors have the worst behavior problems years later.

    “These are signs for parents and doctors to watch out for, as they may signal more than just the terrible twos,” said Luke Hyde, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and lead author on the study.

    “Children with CU behaviors lack empathy and guilt, and may go on to develop antisocial disorders and behavior problems such as fighting, lying and stealing as adults, and may even be at risk to develop psychopathy,” reported Jenae Neiderhiser, professor of psychology at Penn State, who was part of the research team and co-led the collection of data informing this study. “CU behaviors are very distinct from other behavior problems. If we can identify these kids early we may have a better chance of intervening in a child’s development.”

    The full article quoted above can be viewed through Penn State News. Additional coverage can be found through the following sources:

    The results of the study have been published as "Heritable and Nonheritable Pathways to Early Callous-Unemotional Behaviors," published in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

    Language in the eye of the beholder

    Jessica Yoest, a senior majoring in communication arts and sciences and one of Clara Cohen's research assistants, demonstrates how to use the eye-tracking device.Research in the Center for Language Science and the Language and Bilingualism Lab in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese has been featured in a recent article by Penn State News. The article discusses research being conducted by Clara Cohen, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology.

    Although only a small faction of the larger scope of linguistics research, Cohen’s study could potentially unlock new information about how language is processed across the globe, with possible benefits for those with dyslexia and even Apple’s computerized personal assistant, Siri.

    Cohen suggests that for English speakers, determining whether or not a noun is plural might actually occur before a person even hears the “s” at the end of the word. In fact, there are subtle cues in the duration of singular and plural words that could help a listener predict plurality.

    For the full story, see the original article at Penn State News.

    Expectation may be essential to memory formation

    Research by Hui Chen (post-doctoral fellow) and Garrett Swan (graduate student) regarding the role of expectation on memory formation was recently featured in Penn State News.

    A theory that links memory encoding to expectations of future relevance may better explain how human memory works, according to a team of Penn State psychologists.

    Modern psychology posits two major theories to explain the mechanisms of how memories are formed. The first is object-based encoding, storing all information about an object in working memory. The second is feature-based encoding, selectively remembering aspects of an object. For example, if you watch a group of people playing basketball, under object-based encoding theory, the brain remembers all aspects of the ball. In feature-based encoding, the brain remembers that it saw a ball, but may have no recollection of the color if the color of the ball is an unnecessary feature according to the task at hand.

    The proposed theory, expectancy-based binding, suggests that subjects can remember features presented in a visual scene or movie without necessarily remembering which object went with which feature when it is not necessary to do so.

    The full article can be viewed through Penn State News.

    In human development research, big data could mean better results

    Associate Professor of Psychology Rick Gilmore recently spoke to Penn State News regarding the Databrary collaboration, which aims to assist human development researchers in harnessing the power of big data.

    "Many people, when they think about big data, think about astronomy, or physics, or biology and cancer research, but, in fact, there are big data approaches to studying human development," said Rick Gilmore, associate professor of psychology. "It's exciting that we now have the opportunity to learn how people emerge through the developmental process by taking empirical work from large numbers of investigators and aggregating that data."

    In a review of big data in human development, Gilmore said that in addition to learning more about human development, such collaborations could also make wearable data-collection and personalized medicine more powerful and useful.

    "Behavioral science proposes really hard problems," said Gilmore. "There are a lot of health conditions that have small subtle effects that if we had access to larger data sets, we could better understand and treat those conditions, leading eventually to personalized treatments."

    The full story can be viewed at Penn State News.

    Online students use robots in classrooms

    Psychology students in the Master's of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership at Work and Penn State Outreach are testing the use of robots to connect distance learners with their classroom counterparts.

    The Centre Daily Times has featured a study by Brian Redmond,  former Senior Lecturer in Psychology, and Penn State Outreach that explores the use of robots to connect remote students to classroom activities at Penn State.

    The robot can stand up to 5 feet tall, and its height can be adjusted by the controlling student. When the robot is taller, it moves more slowly.

    The robot not only can move the controlling student around a classroom, it can also bring the student into classroom discussions through video chat. The professor and other students in the class can see their classmate on video and respond.

    Redmond said the attention to robots currently “is a little bit more on the online students because they are lacking a lot of the opportunities that on-campus students have. For instance, all of our online students at a distance don’t have access to participating in research labs. One of our first focuses is getting those students into those research labs on campus.”

    Helping online students participate in on-campus labs also benefits faculty members, who can learn as much from the students’ research as the students can learn from them, he said.

    For the full story, please see the article at the Centre Daily Times.

    Data-sharing video library aids developmental studies

    Penn State News has featured the Databrary, a collaborative video library led by Associate Professor of Psychology Rick Gilmore and Karen Adolph, Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University.

    The first large-scale, open data-sharing video library is expanding at a rapid pace, providing developmental researchers at Penn State and across the world unprecedented access to data in a rich, new way.

    Called Databrary, the Web-based video-data library has grown to include data from more than 270 investigators from 166 institutions. The Databrary team, lead by Rick Gilmore, associate professor of psychology at Penn State, and Karen Adolph, professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, are excited by the data sharing systems’ growth in the just over two years since it was established.

    The full story can be viewed at Penn State News.

    Bilingualism: Changing the architecture of your brain

    Distinguished Professor of Psychology Judith Kroll delivers presentation at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C.

    Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Women's Studies and Director of the Center for Language Science Judith Kroll delivered a presentation on bilingualism at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C. Professor Kroll's presentation discussed the ways bilinguals learn and regulate multiple languages and how these processes alter brain structures. 

    As summarized by Penn State News:

    Both languages are active at all times in bilinguals, meaning the individuals cannot easily turn off either language and the languages are in competition with one another. In turn this causes bilinguals to juggle the two languages, reshaping the network in the brain that supports each.

    "The consequences of bilingualism are not limited to language but reflect a reorganization of brain networks that hold implications for the ways in which bilinguals negotiate cognitive competition more generally," said Kroll.

    For more, check out coverage of Dr. Kroll's work at:

    When ‘getting it done’ right away goes wrong

    Distinguished Professor of Psychology David Rosenbaum was a featured guest on KPCC's Air Talk. 

    The belief that we shouldn’t wait until the last minute is regarded as more practical way to be productive, but pre-crastination, or the impulsive need to complete tasks ASAP, could be counter-intuitive to the quality of our work.

    Dr. Rosenbaum's interview can be heard through KPCC's website.

    Dr. Sam Hunter: Being a jerk does not lead to more original ideas

    Dr. Hunter's award winning paper (see below) has been featured in various news outlets, including Fortune, Business Insider, and The research, entitled, Is Being a Jerk Necessary for Originality? Examining the Role of Disagreeableness in the Sharing and Utilization of Original Ideas, found that disagreeableness did not influence the originality of the ideas produced, but did influence the extent to which the ideas were employed by team members. Hunter and Cushenbery also found that disagreeableness influenced idea originality only in contexts where new ideas were discouraged and original ideas were proposed by other team members.

    Click on the links below to access the news articles!

    Fortune magazine

    Business Insider

    Daily Mail


    Hunter, S. T., & Cushenbery, L. (2015). Is Being a Jerk Necessary for Originality? Examining the Role of Disagreeableness in the Sharing and Utilization of Original Ideas. Journal of Business and Psychology30(4), 621–639.

    Penn State partnership helping urban communities

    Work by Professor of Psychology Kristin Buss and the Harrisburg Center for Healthy Child Development (HCHCD) has been featured by Penn State News.

    Asthma, obesity, and behavior problems are just a few of the risks low-income and minority children face, but a Penn State-community partnership is providing support to help these families through a variety of research projects.

    Funded by Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute, PACT was formed in 2007 after developmental and family researchers expressed a need for increasing the diversity of families in their research studies. “Prior to this initiative, efforts to recruit families with infants and young children from underserved urban areas in Harrisburg were very challenging,” said Kristin Buss, PACT and HCHCD director and professor of psychology at Penn State. “Community leaders said families felt a lack of reciprocity and were concerned that participation in research would not benefit them or the community.”

    In order to overcome barriers to doing research within the community, improve community-university relations, and build trust with lower income and minority families, Penn State researchers consulted with community leaders, and a community advisory board was created. “Through the board, researchers established a presence in the community and discovered ways of giving back and providing research support to build stronger families and neighborhoods,” Buss explained.

    The full story is available through Penn State News.

    Dr. Susan Mohammed’s Invited Session on Time at APS

    Dr. Susan Mohammed will be giving an invited talk on how individual differences in time perceptions affect work behavior at this year’s Association for Psychological Science conference. It will be part of a cross-cutting themes program that features talks from different areas of psychology in order to inform us of multiple approaches to understanding a single topic. The conference will be held from May 26-29th, 2016 in Chicago, IL.

    Congratulations Dr. Mohammed! Click here for more information.

    Penn State I/O Faculty and Student Alumni Win Editor Commendation Awards at the Journal of Business and Psychology

    Congratulations are in order for Drs. Alicia Grandey, Sam Hunter, and James LeBreton, as well as some of our graduate and undergraduate student alumni (Allison Gabriel, Jennifer Diamond Acosta, and Lily Cushenberry)!

    The editorial board of the Journal of Business and Psychology selected their best papers of 2015 for the Editor Commendation award. Over 500 papers were considered for this honor, and of the 9 selected, 3 were awarded to Penn State I/O's own faculty and student alumni! 

    Check out their papers below (Faculty,  *doctoral students, **undergraduates): 

    Gabriel**, A. S., Acosta*, J. D., & Grandey, A. A. (2015). The Value of a Smile: Does Emotional Performance Matter More in Familiar or Unfamiliar Exchanges? Journal of Business and Psychology30(1), 37–50.

    Hunter, S. T., & Cushenbery*, L. (2015). Is Being a Jerk Necessary for Originality? Examining the Role of Disagreeableness in the Sharing and Utilization of Original Ideas.Journal of Business and Psychology30(4), 621–639.

    Tonidandel, S., & LeBreton, J. M. (2015). RWA Web: A Free, Comprehensive, Web-Based, and User-Friendly Tool for Relative Weight Analyses. Journal of Business and Psychology30(2), 207–216.

    I/O faculty, students receive awards

    Industrial-Organizational Psychology faculty members and students received three of nine Editor Commendation awards from the editorial board of the Journal of Business and Psychology.

    The Journal of Business and Psychology has selected their best papers of 2015 for the Editor Commendation award. Over 500 papers were considered for the honor; of nine papers selected, three were authored or co-authored by Penn State Psychology faculty, doctoral students, or undergraduate students.

    The three Penn State-affiliated recipients of the 2015 Editor Commendation award from the Journal of Business and Psychology are:

    A full list of winners can be accessed through the Journal of Business and Psychology's Facebook page.

    "Sometimes you’ve got to be a jerk."

    Research by Assistant Professor Sam Hunter featured in Forbes.

    Research by Assistant Professor Sam Hunter and Assistant Professor of Management Lily Cushenbery (Stony Brook University) has been highlighted in an article on

    Conventional wisdom about ‘jerks’ being more creative at work just didn’t square with what psychologist Sam Hunter saw in the real world. At creative hubs like Google and Pixar “they’re super weird and super nice,” says the Penn State associate professor who runs the university’s Leadership and Innovation Lab.

    So Hunter and his colleague Lily Cushenbery from Stony Brook tried an experiment. They rounded up 492 people with a broad range of personalities (including jerks), and watched them work together on developing business ideas like marketing campaigns and strategies. The researchers also inserted their own secret agents into the study—some posed as jerks, while others acted more like supportive colleagues.

    The study found that the jerky subjects didn’t have more creative juices than anyone else (except for the phony jerks, who were very inventive, indeed). What mattered was that they were confident, independent, and often introverted—able to press on with an idea, even in the face of doubt and criticism.

    The full article can be accessed through The article published by Hunter and Cushenberry is available in the current issue of the Journal of Business Psychology.

    Genetics affect concussion recovery

    Research conducted by Peter Arnett, Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training, was recently featured in Penn State Today.

    New Penn State research suggests genetics plays a major role in determining how quickly a concussed athlete recovers. Peter Arnett, professor of psychology and director of clinical training at Penn State, has observed hundreds of concussed athletes in his lab over the last ten years and often wondered why some athletes would recover more rapidly than others. He led a team of researchers to find out, and their work was recently published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

    According to Arnett, while the relationship between genetic factors and outcomes after brain injury is beginning to receive more attention recently, little study has been devoted to specific genes and their effects on concussion recovery. “We wanted to determine how the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene influences symptoms following a sports-relation concussion.”

    Arnett and his research team studied 42 collegiate athletes who completed concussion testing within three months of their injury. All the participants in the study sustained a mild concussion, as determined by their team physicians, and underwent testing as soon as possible following the injury.

    The full story can be viewed at Penn State Today.

    Grandey featured on Actuality

    Picture of Professor Alicia Grandey.Professor of Psychology Alicia Grandey was featured in a recent episode of Actuality, a podcast produced in partnership between Marketplace and Quartz. Professor Grandey discussed the tolls that "emotional labor" take on employees in customer service roles.

    Dr. Alicia Grandey's NPR Podcast Interview

    Dr. Alicia Grandey was recently interviewed by the NPR Actuality podcast. She discussed service with a smile and the toll that emotional labor takes on service employees. Click here to listen!

    Buss wins Raymond Lombra Award

    Image of Kristin Buss, Professor of Psychology.Dr. Kristin Buss, Professor of Psychology and Director of Graduate Training for the Department of Psychology, has been named a winner of the Raymond Lombra Award for Distinction in the Social Sciences by the College of Liberal Arts.

    The Raymond Lombra Award honors a tenured faculty member in the College of the Liberal Arts who, by his or her outstanding work in the field of social or life sciences, has demonstrated excellence in research and scholarship.

    Dr. Buss is interested in emotional development and temperamental variation from birth through early childhood. Her work spans multiple areas of research within social development, psychobiology, and neuroscience. Her current work is focused on the development of risk for adjustment problems, such as anxiety symptoms in toddlers with fearful temperaments. This work has demonstrated significant effects for types of situations where children show fear as well as their physiological stress reactivity.

    Avoidance in tasks predicts Autism Spectrum behaviors

    The Yale Daily News has covered work by Micah Mammen, a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology, and Jenae Neiderhiser, Liberal Arts Research Professor of Psychology, in collaboration with researchers from the University of New Orleans, Yale University, George Washington University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Oregon.

    In the study, parents of adopted children painted their nine-month-old infants’ hands and feet and pressed them on paper to form flowers. The researchers collected observational data on the infants’ negative reactions — the expression of unpleasant feelings or emotions — and avoidance behaviors such as looking away from the task or physical resistance to the task. Researchers concluded that since touch is essential in early social interactions, avoiding physical contact during infancy might predict impaired social development, a main indicator of ASD.

    “Our findings suggest that avoidant responses to touch during infancy may specifically predict deficits in social development, such as autism spectrum behaviors,” said Micah Mammen, lead study author and doctoral candidate in child clinical psychology at Pennsylvania State University. “Including measures of responses to touch in the study of early social interaction may help to identify young children at greater risk for social impairments.”

    Additional information can be found through The Yale Daily News. The study, "Infant Avoidance During a Tactile Task Predicts Autism Spectrum Behaviors in Toddlerhood," was published in the Infant Mental Health Journal.

    Dr. Alicia Grandey: Why enforced ‘service with a smile’ should be banned

    Our own Dr. Alicia Grandey was recently featured in ScienceNews' Culture Beaker blog:

    As a customer, you may find this relentless cheer uplifting or annoying (I err on the latter; please stop asking me about my day and just make my coffee). In the service industry, this “emotional labor,” to use the academic parlance, is typically a job requirement that’s enforced by management. Yet a large body of research suggests that emotional labor comes at a cost and one that’s primarily paid by the employee. I can’t speak to sales at Pret A Manger, but research also finds little evidence that the practice increases store profits.

    “It’s sort of an invisible form of work,” says Penn State organizational psychologist Alicia Grandey, who has studied emotional labor for years. “But it has a real cost. We really want management to think about this: If this is really important to you as a company, if you value it, then you should train for it, and compensate for it. And you should create an environment that is supportive for the employee.”

    Click here to read the full story!

    Four graduate students win RGSO College Dissertation Awards

    Four Psychology Ph.D. students have earned RGSO College Dissertation Awards from the College of Liberal Arts at Penn State University:

    Margaret Cadden wins Scott and Paul Pearsall Scholarship

    Ms. Margaret Cadden, a Penn State graduate student in Psychology, has been selected by the American Psychological Foundation (APF) as the recipient of the 2015 Scott and Paul Pearsall Scholarship.

    Ms. Cadden's research focuses on the role played by stigma and depression in disease progression in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Her study, "Judgment Hurts: The Physical and Psychological Consequences of Experiencing Stigma in MS," will examine the impact of stigma on disease progression over the course of a year. Ms. Cadden is a student in Professor Peter Arnett's lab and is collaborating with Assistant Professor Jonathan Cook on this study.

    The Scott and Paul Pearsall Scholarship provides financial support for graduate students working to increase public awareness and understanding surrounding individuals with physical disabilities, such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.

    For more information, consult the Penn State News article about this award.

    Lynn Liben featured in New York Times, Yahoo! Parenting

    Distinguished Professor of Psychology Lynn Liben's research focusing on the establishment of gender stereotypes in young children was recently featured in articles published by The Upshot at the New York Times ("Boys and Girls, Constrained by Toys and Costumes", published October 30, 2015) and by Yahoo! Parenting ("The One Word Teachers Can Say to End Gender Stereotyping", published November 3, 2015).

    An excerpt from the former article:

    Lynn Liben of Penn State University and Lacey Hilliard of Tufts University studied preschool students. In some of the classrooms, teachers made no distinctions between boys and girls. In others, teachers differentiated between them, such as asking them to line up separately.

    After two weeks, the children in the group where distinctions were made were much more likely to hold stereotypical beliefs about whether men and women should be in traditionally male or female occupations, and spent much less time playing with peers of the opposite sex. Even saying “boys and girls” instead of “children” had the effect.

    “I find that incredibly compelling that labeling for boys or for girls will have an effect on reducing kids’ belief that everything is open to everybody,” Ms. Liben said. “I don’t think we need to wipe out differences, but you don’t want to constrain kids’ choices and abilities.”

    Karen Bierman named McCourtney Professor of Child Studies

    Photograph of Karen Bierman.Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies Karen Bierman has been named the first McCourtney Professor of Child Studies in recognition of exceptional scholarship and service.

    The McCourtney Professorship is generously funded by Tracy and Ted McCourtney. Tracy graduated from Penn State with an English degree in 1965 and has assisted foster children and families in New York City as a social worker. A 1960 graduate of Notre Dame in engineering, Ted served four years in the U.S. Navy and then earned an MBA from Harvard in 1966. The McCourtneys were named Penn State's Philanthropists of the Year in 2013.

    The McCourtneys have been generous friends of the College of the Liberal Arts for more than twenty years. Their previous support of Psychology includes a major gift for the Moore Building Project and the Early Career Professorship, currently held by Koraly Perez-Edgar.  

    Psychology faculty receive NSF grant

    The National Science Foundation recently announced seventeen new grants, including a $5 million grant over five years to Penn State's Center for Language Science. The grant's principal investigator is Judith Kroll, a professor of psychology at Penn State, and Janet Van Hell, also a professor of psychology, serves as one of the grant's co-principal investigators.

    The goal of the new PIRE is to harness the excitement surrounding recent discoveries about the benefits of bilingualism to ask how the science might be translated for educational practice and policy.  The new grant will bring science to the classroom and to the field for younger and older learners to examine the consequences of bilingualism for education and health.

    The PIRE network includes five domestic partners at Gallaudet University, University of Illinois, University of New Mexico, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and Haskins Laboratories.  The international network spans 10 sites in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, with partnerships at Radboud University, the Netherlands; University of Mannheim, Germany; University of Granada, Spain; University of Edinburgh, UK; Jagiellonian University, Poland; University of Campinas, Brazil; University of Antioquia, Colombia; Universidad Nacional Autonoma, Mexico; and Beijing Normal University and University of Hong Kong both in China.

    Additional details can be found through Penn State News.

    Annual conference to shed light on approaches for boosting child protection

    Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 event showcases advances in long-term effects of early-life stress

    Penn State's Fourth Annual Conference on Child Protection and Well-Being, held on September 30 and October 1, 2015, have been profiled by Penn State News:

    The “New Frontiers in the Biology of Stress, Maltreatment and Trauma: Opportunities for Translation, Resilience, and Reversibility” conference, scheduled for Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 at the Nittany Lion Inn, will bring together 15 top researchers in fields of psychology and neurosciences from Penn State, Harvard, New York University and other institutions around the world. They will share their findings about the ways stress “gets under the skin,” according to the Network’s website.

    The full article can be viewed on Penn State News's website. Additional information about the conference can be found on The Network on Child Protection and Well-Being's website.

    Why enforced ‘service with a smile’ should be banned

    Requiring employees to fake happiness takes a toll and doesn’t increase sales

    Professor of Psychology Alicia Grandey's research was recently featured in the Culture Beaker blog from ScienceNews:

    As a customer, you may find this relentless cheer uplifting or annoying (I err on the latter; please stop asking me about my day and just make my coffee). In the service industry, this “emotional labor,” to use the academic parlance, is typically a job requirement that’s enforced by management. Yet a large body of research suggests that emotional labor comes at a cost and one that’s primarily paid by the employee. I can’t speak to sales at Pret A Manger, but research also finds little evidence that the practice increases store profits.

    “It’s sort of an invisible form of work,” says Penn State organizational psychologist Alicia Grandey, who has studied emotional labor for years. “But it has a real cost. We really want management to think about this: If this is really important to you as a company, if you value it, then you should train for it, and compensate for it. And you should create an environment that is supportive for the employee.”

    The full article, which includes more information about Professor Grandey's research can be viewed at ScienceNews.

    Blending psychology and technology

    Mental health advocates at Penn State use technology to prevent and treat anxiety.

    Penn State IT News highlighted research conducted by Dr. Michelle Newman:

    With anxiety afflicting such high numbers at younger ages, researchers in the field are scrambling to find a solution for young anxiety sufferers. According to Michelle Newman, professor of psychology at Penn State, technology may hold the answer.

    Since the early ’90s, Newman has been at the forefront of research on how such technology as computers and mobile applications could be used to prevent and treat anxiety.

    These tech-based programs are typically rooted incognitive behavioral therapy — an effective form of treatment that challenges how anxiety patients think in response to situations. Through either a mobile or online platform, programs offer lessons ranging from meditation to mood journaling, as well as situational walkthroughs where patients can practice techniques.

    Read the full article at Penn State IT News.

    Dr. Sam Hunter's publication featured in the news

    Dr. Sam Hunter and alumni Dr. Lily Cushenbery have been featured in numerous recent news stories (see list below) based on a recently published article in the Journal of Business and Psychology entitled Is being a jerk necessary for originality? Examining the role of disagreeableness in the sharing and utilization of original ideas. In general their research found that being a jerk was not related to having original ideas, just getting ideas heard in a group. The findings have had such an impact that it has been translated into several other languages.


    Hunter, S.T., & Cushenbery, L. (2014). Is Being a Jerk Necessary for Originality? Examining the Role of Disagreeableness in the Sharing and Utilization of Original Ideas. Journal of Business and Psychology.

     Links to News sources

    Springer Press Release

    Pacific standard magazine

    Human Resource Executive Online


    The news


    The Indian (Singapore)

    Quo magazine (translated into Spanish)

    OggiScienza (translated into Italian)

    Dr. Mohammed wins Best Leadership Paper Award

    On November 7th, 2014 our own Dr. Susan Mohammed won the 2014 Best Leadership Paper Award Winner from the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership, Ivey Business School, Western University, London, Ontario. For her lead authorship on the paper Temporal Diversity and Team Performance: The Moderating Role of Temporal Leadership.You can read more about the award by visiting the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for leadership page.


    Mohammed, S., & Nadkarni, S. (2011). Temporal diversity and team performance: The moderating role of temporal leadership. Academy of Management Journal54(3), 489-508.

    Penn State I-O supports the Centre County Women’s Resource Center

    Alicia Grandey, Susan Mohammed, Jodi Buffington, Morgan Krannitz & Brad Jayne getting ready to walk/run the 5K

    The Steps For Safety 5K in State College: Alicia Grandey, Susan Mohammed, Jodi Buffington, Morgan Krannitz & Brad Jayne getting ready to walk/run the 5K.

    Psychology faculty receive promotions

    Dr. Susan Mohammed (Industrial-Organizational Psychology) and Dr. Terri Vescio (Social Psychology) were promoted to Professor.  Dr. Nancy Dennis (Cognitive Psychology) and Dr. Stephen Wilson (Clinical Psychology) were granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor.

    New faculty for Fall 2015

    Dr. Michael Hallquist, currently at the University of Pittsburgh, will join the University Park Psychology faculty in Fall 2015.  Dr. Hallquist is a clinical psychologist who studies the development of personality dysfunction, using sophisticated mathematical modeling techniques.

    Faculty member wins Undergraduate Program Leadership Award

    Dr. Richard Carlson, Associate Head and Professor of Psychology, received the 2015 University Undergraduate Program Leadership Award .  Carlson has led efforts to improve the undergraduate psychology program at University Park, and to develop a World Campus program in psychology

    Faculty research featured by APS

    David Wimer Receives Teaching Award

    Dr. David Wimer, Lecturer in Psychology, received the College of the Liberal Arts 2015 Outstanding Teaching Award for Non-Tenure Line Faculty.  Dr. Wimer is a clinical psychologist who teaches a variety of undergraduate courses and is active in research and clinical practice.

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