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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 Yahoo.com. 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

Inc.com

Daily Mail

Yahoo.com

References

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. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-014-9386-1

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. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-013-9329-2

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. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-014-9386-1

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. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-014-9351-z

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 Forbes.com:

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 Forbes.com. 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.

Reference

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

Fastcompany.com

msn.com

bigthink.com

Human Resource Executive Online

sciencedaily.com

RedOrbit.com

Business-standard.com

Psychcentral.com

Phys.org

Ninemsn.com

Firstpost.com

Trebuchet-magazine.com

Culturalite.com

Focusnews.com

Science_2.0.com

Lifesciencelog.com

Science newsline.com

The news report.com

Technology.org

Hindustantimes.com

Khaleetimes.com

The hansindia.com

The Indian express.com

Darpanmagazine.com

Bollywoodcountry.com

Yahoo.com (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.

Reference

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.

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