Jones Receives Sage Student Research Award

jonesClinical student, Shawn Jones, was selected as the recipient of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) 2013 Sage Student Research Award.  Each year, ABPsi and Sage Publications select one student to receive $1000 for the most outstanding research conducted by a student. Shawn was presented with the award at this year’s Annual Convention of the Association of Black Psychologists in New Orleans, LA in late July. He also presented his paper, entitled “Emotional Response Profiles to Racial Discrimination: Does Racial Identity Predict Affective Patterns?” (Jones, Lee, Gaskin, & Neblett, 2013) at a breakout session during the conference.

Quant Student Acknowledged with Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award

Jim McGinley, quantitative student, recently won the Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award.  This award is given by the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) in recognition of outstanding biomedical and psychosocial research among graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  Jim won this award for his research on innovative modeling framework for ordinal adolescent alcohol use data.

Grants Awarded

The following individuals in the department have recently been awarded new grants for their research:

  • Sierra Bainter, Quantitative Student (sponsored by Dr. Patrick Curran), predoctoral fellowship from NIDA, Novel Application of Bayesian Methods for Modeling Substance Use Trajectories
  • Dr. Kathleen Gates, Quantitative, R21 by NIBIB, Data-driven Approach for Identifying Subgroups Using fMRI Connectivity Maps
  • Dr. Kathleen Reissner, Behavioral Neuroscience, R00 by NIDA, Contribution of Glial Glutamate Transport and Transmission to Drug Abuse
  • Dr. Kurt Gray, Social, grant from University of California (sponsored by John Templeton Foundation), The Immortality of Morality
  • Dr. Charlotte Boettiger, Behavioral Neuroscience, grant from The Foundation for Alcohol Research, Neural Circuit Bases of Impulsive Choice in Emerging Adults and Heavy Drinking Adults
  • Drs. Beth Kurtz-Costes, Developmental, and Keith Payne, Social, R03 by NICHD, Children’s Implicit and Explicit Stereotypes About Academic Abilities

Advancing Undergraduate Education in PSYC 395

Psychology Senior, Margo Williams, was featured in an online news article for her research work with the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Infant and Child Assessment Lab as part of the PSYC 395 course in the Department of Psychology. PSYC 395 offers undergraduate students of psychology a hands-on opportunity to investigate different types of research.  Click here to read the full article.

“Your Phone vs. Your Heart”

fredricksonDr. Barbara Fredrickson recently wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Sunday New York Times and quickly became the most e-mailed piece in that day’s paper.  “Your Phone vs. Your Heart” discusses how real positive social contact with others improves our overall health.

Additionally, Dr. Fredrickson appeared on CBS This Morning on April 3rd to discuss amongst a panel of other professionals the pros and cons of cell phone use.  Please click here to watch a video clip from this portion of the show and to read some of Dr. Fredrickson’s tips on staying connected with others.

Several Graduate Students of Psychology Receive External Awards

The following students have been awarded either an external fellowship or grant for the 2012-2013 academic year to aid them in their research.  They will be recognized at the 2013 Graduate Student Recognition Celebration in April hosted by the Graduate School.  Congratulations to all!

Courtney Cameron, Behavioral Erol Ozmeral, Cognitive
Lahnna Catalino, Social Christine Paprocki, Clinical
Domenic Cerri, Behavioral Elise Rice, Social
Cara Damiano, Clinical Jessica Solis, Clinical
Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft, Clinical Gretchen Sprow, Behavioral
Steven Holochwost, Developmental Jonathan Sugam, Behavioral
Shawn Jones, Clinical Audrey Wells, Behavioral
James McGinley, Quantitative Bharathi Zvara, Developmental

Dr. Fredrickson Releases Second Book, Love 2.0

love2.0Following the success of her first book, Positivity, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, Distinguished Professor, releases another groundbreaking book entitled, Love 2.0.  Using research from her lab here at UNC, her newest publication is intended to reinvent how we look at and experience our most powerful emotion:  love.  Her latest work is featured as the leading spotlight story in a write-up entitled, “What’s love got to do with it?” on UNC’s main website.

Please click here to view a short video of Dr. Fredrickson discussing Love 2.0 in more detail.

Graduate Students Awarded Grants

mckimTheresa McKim, a graduate student of our Behavioral Neuroscience Program, was recently awarded an NC TraCS $2,000 grant for her research, “Addiction History and COMT Genotype are Independently Associated with Impairments in Learning and Replacing Arbitrary Stimulus-Response Associations.”


kahnJason Kahn, a graduate student of our Cognitive Program, recently received an NSF Grant to support his doctoral dissertation research, “Processing Fluency and Word Duration in Multi-Word Utterance.”

Professors Credited in International Periodicals

Assistant Professor, Dr. Kristen Lindquist, was quoted in an article published in the Financial Times that discusses social media and addiction.  Click here to gain access to the full article. Also, the work of Distinguished Professor, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, and her lab provided the basis for an article published in Wired Magazine that discusses happiness in the workplace.  Click here to read the full article.

UNC Collaborative Study Receives Global Recognition

A study, jointly published by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, Distinguished Professor, and alumna, Dr. Bethany Kok, was recently the focus of an article in The Economist. “Think Yourself Well,” discusses how positive emotions are linked to physical health.  Fellow Tarheel contributors to the study include Professor Sara Algoe, Kimberly Coffey, Lahnna Catalino, and Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk.

Senior Honors Research Grants Awarded to 5 Undergraduate Students

The Department would like to extend its congratulations to the following students who were recent recipients of grants to continue their respective research interests in psychology.  Their demonstrated commitment to the field of psychology is valued.

Remi Moore: David Bray Peele Memorial Research Award
Mary K. Weinel: Sarah Steele Danhoff Undergraduate Research Award
Lapching Keung: Tom and Elizabeth Long Research Award
Katelyn Dryden: Dunlevie Honors Undergraduate Research Award
Mariah Moore: Gump Family Undergraduate Research Award

Clinical Student Receives Randy Gerson Memorial Grant

The American Psychological Foundation (APF) is pleased to announce that Christine Paprocki, M.A. is the recipient of the 2012 Randy Gerson Memorial Grant, which awards up to $6,000 for graduate student projects in family and/or couple dynamics, and/or multi-generational processes.

Christine Paprocki is a graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. She studies the effectiveness of couple-based treatments for a variety of psychological disorders and physical health conditions. Ms. Paprocki will use her Gerson grant to fund dissertation research that will focus on excessive relationship-based reassurance-seeking (e.g., repeatedly asking a partner for affirmations of positive regard in order to reduce anxiety), and developing a brief intervention to address this maladaptive communication pattern in couples.

CAS Awards Grant to Cognitive Professor

The College of Arts and Sciences has awarded more than $50,000 in grants for Interdisciplinary Initiatives in 2012-13. Jennifer Arnold (Associate Professor, Cognitive Psychology) and Mark Klinger (Health Sciences) were awarded $10,000 for their project: Speaking Naturally: The Production and Comprehension of Prosody in Individuals With and Without Autism. This project will identify specific language mechanisms that are impaired in children and adolescents with autism. This experiment will support a broader proposal to be submitted to NIH.

Recent UNC Grads Present Research at UNC-CH’s Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research Symposium

Alicia Mullis presented her research at UNC’s Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 16, 2011.  Her poster was selected as one of the four posters to be displayed at the Undergraduate Library. Alicia’s project is entitled, “Applying Chaos Theory: Chronic Pain, Music, and Cognition.”

Katherine Cullen’s poster was also one of the four selected for display at the House Undergraduate Library. She also presented her research at UNC-CH’s 13th Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 16, 2012. Katherine’s project is entitled “Attentional Bias for Food Cues: Differences between Obese and Normal-Weight Individuals.” Congratulations on this fine achievement, Alicia and Katherine!

RAISE Project Conducts Filming at Evergreen, UNC Psychology Clinic

RAISE1In January, there was a 5-day film shoot held at the UNC Psychology Evergreen clinic, directed by Robert Griffiths of FireDancer Productions (Carbondale, CO) and produced by Sharon Shepard-Levine of Twin Start Productions (South Orange, NJ). The shoot was done as part of the Recovery After An Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) study. The RAISE project is examining the effectiveness of comprehensive treatment services (individual therapy, family therapy, supported employment, and medication management) compared to standard treatment for individuals who have just experienced an initial schizophrenia episode. This study is being conducted in 17 states and aims to recruit over 400 individuals.  It is the largest psychosocial treatment study for first episode psychosis ever funded by NIMH!

RAISE2Dr. David Penn (Site PI; member of the RAISE executive committee; wearing tie), and Dr. Piper Meyer (Research coordinator; first row on left), with the film crew.  Drs. Penn and Meyer completed the film shoot with members of their lab (Elizabeth Bowman, Ben Buck, Kelsey Ludwig, Charles Olbert and Adrienne Nye).  The aim was to create training videos for the therapy program (Individual Resiliency Therapy; IRT) developed by Drs. Penn and Meyer, and colleagues from RAISE. Hopefully, these videos will be available on the NIMH website, which should facilitate the dissemination of IRT to clinicians around the country.

Behavioral Neuroscience Student Excels

wellsAudrey Wells’ (Behavioral Neuroscience) recently published paper, “Interaction between the basolateral amygdala and dorsal hippocampus is critical for cocaine memory reconsolidation and subsequent drug context-induced cocaine-seeking behavior in rats” (Learn Mem 2011 Nov), has been selected for a Member of the Faculty of 1000 (F1000) review, which places this work in the top 2% of published articles in biology and medicine. Audrey was also selected for a Society for Neuroscience travel award to attend the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies’ annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain. She is one of fifteen students from across North America who were chosen to receive this award. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Audrey!

Graduate Students Receive Departmental Awards for Research

Ryan Jacoby (Clinical Program) and Elise Rice (Social Program) are the 2011-2012 recipients of the Knowles-Dashiell Award. Jenna Clark (Social Program), Chris Foster (Cognitive Program), and Nicholas Wagner (Developmental) are the 2011-2012 recipients of the Chase-Dashiell-Crane Award. These awards are intended to be used for research expenses.  

Chen Selected for Award for Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Hung-Yu Chen received the David Bray Peele Award to support his Honors project, “Interaction of stress and prenatal cocaine exposure on dopamine release and social behavior in adolescent rats.” Kent M. Lee also received this award to support his Honors project, “A psychophysiological investigation into the emotional effects of pain offset.” This research grant honors the memory of David Bray Peele, an Honors student in our Department many years ago. Congratulations to you both!

Psychology Lab Manager Named a Carolina Covenant Scholar

teonbrooksTeon Brooks, right, manager of the Language, Cognition and Brain Lab of Psychology Professor Peter Gordon, was named a Carolina Covenant Scholar.  In the photo, Teon attaches electrodes to a cap worn by Matt Lowder. The electrodes feed electrical activity generated by the neurons of Lowder’s brain into a computer, where it can be observed on a monitor.

Earl and Barbara Baughman Dissertation Research Award Receipients

old wellJaclyn Hennessey Ford, (Kelly Giovanello, Advisor) and Melissa Jenkins (Eric Youngstrom, Advisor) are the 2011 recipients of the Earl and Barbara Baughman Dissertation Research Award.  This award honors Earl and Barbara Baughman for their many contributions to our Department over the years, and provides partial summer support to these students as they continue their work on their dissertation.  Jaclyn’s research focuses on autobiographical memory retrieval in healthy older adults and older adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairments (early Alzheimer’s). Jaclyn is specifically interested in identifying circumstances under which older adults do and do not exhibit impairments in their autobiographical memory retrieval relative to young adults. Melissa’s research includes developing and testing the effects of an intervention for improving clinical judgment. Specially, her study will investigate the impact of a new intervention on reducing cognitive-based errors that contribute to the misdiagnosis and over diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder.