News

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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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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Psychology Faculty Win Indiana CTSI Grants

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Notre Dame faculty from the Department of Psychology have been awarded grants from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI). Julie Braungart-Rieker, the Mary Hesburgh Flaherty and James F. Flaherty III Professor of Psychology and director of the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families, was awarded a Community Health Engagement Program (CHEP) Community Based Research Pilot Award for a study, “Reducing Obesogenic Home Environments in Low-Income Households with Mothers of Pre-school-Aged Children.” Jennifer Burke LeFever, assistant research professor in the Department of Psychology, is a co-primary investigator on the grant.

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Psychologist Explores What Happens When We Sleep

Jessica Payne

What’s going on in your head while you sleep? The research of Jessica Payne, associate professor and Nancy O’Neill Collegiate Chair in Psychology, shows that the non-waking hours are incredibly valuable for your day-to-day life, especially for helping to commit information to memory and for problem solving. If you ever thought sleep was just downtime between one task and the next, think again.

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Psychologist Darcia Narvaez Receives William James Book Award

Darcia Narvaez

Notre Dame psychologist Darcia Narvaez has received the 2015 William James Book Award from the American Psychological Association for her latest book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom. The award recognizes a recent book that attempts to bring together diverse subfields of psychology and related disciplines and demonstrates an essential underlying set of themes that serve to unify or integrate the field.

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Michael Dinh named 2015 Goldwater Scholar

Michael Dinh

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Foundation recently announced that Michael Dinh has been named a 2015 Goldwater Scholar.  Dinh, a junior biological sciences and psychology double major and member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, was one of 260 scholarship recipients selected from over 1,200 applications.

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Psychology Graduate Student Awarded NSF Fellowship

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Charlotte Cunningham, a psychology graduate student in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, was awarded a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the 2014-15 academic year.

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Psychology Professor Seeks to Understand How Students Learn Mathematics

Nicole McNeil

It’s both the bane of many parents and what has been called a major national vulnerability: the inability of many children to learn mathematics. Understanding that problem and developing strategies to overcome it is the research focus of Nicole McNeil, Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, and the researchers in her lab.

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Michael Dinh named 2015 Goldwater Scholar

Michael Dinh

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Foundation recently announced that Michael Dinh has been named a 2015 Goldwater Scholar.  Dinh, a junior biological sciences and psychology double major and member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, was one of 260 scholarship recipients selected from over 1,200 applications.

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Psychology Graduate Student Awarded NSF Fellowship

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Charlotte Cunningham, a psychology graduate student in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, was awarded a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the 2014-15 academic year.

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Psychology Major Publishes Senior Thesis in Academic Journal

Shane Kelly '14

Because Shane Kelly ’14 began his undergraduate education intending to go to graduate school in psychology, he knew he should get involved in research at Notre Dame as soon as possible. So when Associate Professor James Brockmole offered him a research assistant position in his Visual Cognition Lab, Kelly jumped at the opportunity. “It turned out to be a great decision and I enjoyed cognitive psychology and working in the Visual Cognition Lab immediately,” Kelly said.

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Psychology: Finding Solutions to Real-Life Problems

Daniel Lapsley

A famous psychological test asks children to sit in a room with a marshmallow or cookie for 15 minutes. Those who can delay gratification and endure the torture of temptation get a second sweet treat as reward. Their self-discipline is also likely to lead to success later in life. The Notre Dame Department of Psychology turns 50 next year, and its patience and growth will soon generate a significant reward —a new building attached to Notre Dame Stadium to call its home. The East building of the Campus Crossroads project will provide classrooms, offices, laboratories, and a student lounge for the Departments of Psychology and Anthropology. Construction is expected to start in November and be finished in 33 months.

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Psychology Professor Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

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University of Notre Dame psychologist Scott Monroe, an expert in depressive disorders, has been awarded a 2014 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. From a group of almost 3,000 applicants, the foundation awarded 177 fellowships this year to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.” Monroe, William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Psychology, was one of just three psychologists selected this year. 

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Psychology Professor Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

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University of Notre Dame psychologist Scott Monroe, an expert in depressive disorders, has been awarded a 2014 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial FoundationFrom a group of almost 3,000 applicants, the foundation awarded 177 fellowships this year to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.” Monroe, William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Psychology, was one of just three psychologists selected this year. 

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