News

Psychology undergraduates thrive through research experiences, building connections with faculty

For Katie Paige and Laura Heiman, research hasn’t just shaped their undergraduate experiences—it’s shaped their futures, as well. The two senior psychology majors have both gained significant research experience throughout their time at Notre Dame, writing senior theses and working closely with faculty members as they study topics ranging from depression to childhood development.

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Graduate Student Awards

Kristina Krasich was accepted into the Summer Seminars in Philosophy and Neuroscience (SSNAP)fellowship through Duke University and The Templeton Foundation. This one-year fellowship includes a two-week seminar series at Duke University discussing the inquiry in philosophy and neuroscience and a culminating fellowship project that will be funded up to $30,000

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Alumnus David Barlow builds successful career in clinical psychology

As an undergraduate at Notre Dame, David Barlow ’64 was known as a good listener with a penchant for practical jokes and above all, a fascination with the human mind. Barlow turned that curiosity into a fruitful career as a clinical psychologist. A professor emeritus at Boston University, he is the founder and director emeritus of the institution’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.

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Notre Dame announces collaboration with AT&T for online master’s degree in data science

University of Notre Dame

With a growing need for skilled data scientists, the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with AT&T, has announced its new online master of science degree with a specialization in data science. Offered by the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, with the collaboration of the Department of Psychology, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and the Mendoza College of Business, this degree program will prepare graduates for careers as data scientists in a wide range of industry fields fields including management, marketing, information technology, government policy, health care, finance, education and scientific research.

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Notre Dame psychologist looks at the toll of daily stressors on long-term health

Cindy Bergeman

How people react to stress–both psychologically and physically–can have implications for a person’s health and well-being, including how well they age. Professor of Psychology and Associate Vice President for Research Cindy Bergeman is conducting a 10-year study based on how different people respond to stress, why they react the way they do, and the different ways people cope.

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Maxwell Lauded by Colleagues as Model Gentleman, Model Scholar

Scott Maxwell

Scott E. Maxwell, Matthew A. Fitzsimons Professor of Psychology in Notre Dame’s Department of Psychology, is retiring at the end of the academic year. A professor since 1988, he came to Notre Dame as an associate professor in 1982 from the University of Houston. He twice served as chair of the department, has co-authored three books, and has authored or co-authored more than 150 journal articles or book chapters. The following are reflections and tributes to him from academic colleagues from his department and around the country.

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Psychology Ph.D. Alumna Researches How Children Cope with Stress and Trauma

Amy K. Nuttall

While working at a childhood bereavement center after college, Amy K. Nuttall Ph.D. ’15 saw firsthand how resilient kids can be. She was inspired to research parentification, or the act of children assuming adult caretaking roles in their families, in her graduate work in developmental psychology at Notre Dame. She now continues to explore the issue at Michigan State University, where she landed a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and directs the Family Stress Lab.

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Arts and Letters Neuroscience Majors Find Array of Research, Career Opportunities

Neuroscience and behavior major

Notre Dame students in the College of Arts and Letters’ newest major see neuroscience and behavior as great preparation for any number of exciting careers. Whether they plan to pursue medical school or graduate school, clinical research or lab work, neuroscience majors can customize the curriculum to fit their needs. Students are also able to integrate research opportunities based on their individual interests.

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Blending Psychology and Computer Science, Professor Seeks to Build Technologies That Help Humans Learn

Sidney D'Mello

Computers are astounding devices, but they aren’t great listeners. They can’t lend a hand when users struggle to find a file, don’t understand what they are reading, or fall asleep studying for a test. But that may all change someday soon. Sidney D’Mello, an assistant professor of psychology and computer science at the University of Notre Dame, is tackling research at the intersection of cognition and emotion during complex learning and problem-solving. Through several projects he’s leading or collaborating on, D’Mello is creating real-time computational models built from extensive lab- and school-based research, with the long-term, big-picture goal of making computers more humanlike so they can guide us in learning—at work, at school, and in daily life.

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Psychologists Caution Mothers on Discussing Weight with Daughters

How should a concerned mother discuss issues of diet and weight with her daughter? Very carefully, according to Erin Hillard, a developmental psychology doctoral student at the University of Notre Dame. In an article recently published in the journal Body Image, Hillard and her colleagues reported on results from their study of a representative group of sixth- through eighth-grade girls and their mothers.

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Psychology Graduate Student’s Research Explores Ways to Improve Memory

Andrea Kalchik

The key to improving human memory, Notre Dame psychology graduate student Andrea Kalchik believes, is understanding the circumstances that cause us to forget. “Everyday forgetting is something that impacts everyone to some extent,” she said. “My research has the potential to help improve all people’s lives. I hope that I can make that difference.” Kalchik, a Presidential University Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology’s Cognition, Brain, and Behavior Area, is focusing her research on brain processes—metamemory, episodic future thinking, and prospective memory—that are essential components of human brain function.

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Psychologists Find Parent Interaction Vital to Child's Well-being as Adult

Darcia Narvaez

Did you receive affection, play freely, and feel supported in childhood? Childhood experiences like these appear to have a lot to do with well-being and moral capacities in adulthood. In a forthcoming article in the journal Applied Developmental Science, University of Notre Dame professor of psychology Darcia Narvaez and colleagues Lijuan Wang and Ying Cheng, associate professors of psychology, show that childhood experiences that match with evolved needs lead to better outcomes in adulthood.

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Psychologist Wins Early Career Award for Research on Sleep and Stress

Jessica Payne

Jessica Payne never dreamed of becoming a rising star in the science of sleep. In fact, until midway through graduate school, she didn’t think much about the subject beyond her own off-and-on problems getting some shut-eye. Now, she can’t keep it off her mind. Payne’s tireless work recently earned her the "Psychonomic Society’s Early Career Award, given to individuals who have made significant contributions to scientific psychology early in their careers.

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Psychologist Honored for a Lifetime of Influential Personality Research

David Watson

When you help create two dozen psychological assessment instruments—including one cited more than 19,000 times—the world takes notice. David Watson, the Andrew J. McKenna Family Professor of Psychology, was honored for those accomplishments and many others when the Society for Personality and Social Psychology presented him with the 2015 Jack Block Award for Distinguished Research in Personality. The award recognizes the lifetime achievements of senior-level researchers and is the organization’s top honor for research accomplishments in personality psychology.

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Letter from the Chair

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Welcome to the annual newsletter of the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. I hope you enjoy reading stories of the extraordinary achievements of our faculty and students and learning more about our programs, initiatives, and ambition.

Seven years ago, I wrote my first welcome letter for this newsletter. I was the new department chair, and the department was on the move. We hired numerous faculty members at all levels whose research brought dynamic synergy across our four doctoral programs. I affirmed our goal of becoming a premier department where the visibility, importance, and influence of our scholarship was woven seamlessly with our commitment to excellence in doctoral training and high-quality undergraduate education. 

 

 

 

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Psychology Graduate Student Examines Link Between Mental Health and Marriage Satisfaction

Judith Biesen

For married couples, the odds aren’t good when one partner has anxiety or depression. The presence of such a mental issue significantly increases the risk that the couple will get divorced. Notre Dame psychology Ph.D. student Judith Biesen wants to find a way to improve the outcomes for those couples. With an American Dream grant from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Biesen is completing a longitudinal study of mental health—specifically, anxiety disorders and depression—and how it relates to marital functioning and satisfaction with the relationship.

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New Burns Fellowship Program Supports Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Research

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A new interdisciplinary fellowship program launched by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives will train graduate students in state-of-the-art quantitative methods, allowing them to examine the impact of educational policies, programs, and practices. Beginning in fall 2016, the Rev. James A. Burns Fellowship is open to prospective students applying to Ph.D. programs in economics, political science, psychology, and sociology who plan to pursue educational research.

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