Interview with New Assistant Professor Allecia Reid

What are some of the steps you took in life or influences that brought you to your current area of research?

My primary line of research examines influences of social factors (e.g., social networks, mimicry, conformity) on alcohol use.   However, my research did not focus on alcohol use in graduate school— my master’s examined HIV risk behavior and my dissertation examined sun protection.  I soon realized, though, that alcohol use was the ideal domain for examining peer influences on health.  I therefore sought out postdoctoral training in Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.  It provided the exposure and experiences I needed to be able to conduct informed research in this area. 

PBS Welcomes New Lecturer Amanda Hamel

amanda hamelAmanda Hamel is absolutely thrilled to be joining the PBS faculty next Fall to teach Behavioral Neuroscience and to coordinate the Junior Writing program. Amanda is a UMass alumna whose research focused on the effects of early experience on the development of different components of the stress response. She has previously taught Behavioral Neuroscience through Continuing and Professional Education and sections of Junior Writing at UMass and looks forward to continuing to wor

PBS Welcomes New Lecturer Danielle Samuels

danielle samuelsDanielle Samuels received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of California, Riverside in 2018. Her research focuses on the development of internalizing problems across the transition from childhood to adolescence. Specifically, she is interested in the roles of puberty and sociocultural factors in explaining the emergence and changes in anxiety and depression during this transition period.

The Sleep Monitoring Lab: Research Highlights

The Sleep Monitoring Lab, directed by Rebecca Spencer, is part of the Human Testing Center within the Life Science Laboratories. It houses three bedrooms and a central control room for observing sleeping participants. To measure sleep, the Lab uses polysomnography (PSG), a montage of recordings of brain through electroencephalography (EEG), eye movements through electrooculography (EOG), and muscle activity through electromyography (EMG). A person’s heart rhythm can also be recorded using an electrocardiogram (EKG). This combination of information allows researchers to characterize sleep into one of four stages: non-REM stages 1, 2, 3 and REM (rapid eye movement).

Rebecca Spencer Examines the Role of Sleep in Memory Processing

Rebecca SpencerRebecca Spencer, has received a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, which renews an earlier grant from NIH’s National Institutes of Aging to support work on sleep and memory in older adults.

Spencer and colleagues will use the MRI in the Human Magnetic Resonance Center at the Institute of Applied Life Sciences to look at how memories are encoded in the brain before sleep and how they are changed by sleep compared to wakefulness in older adults compared to younger adults.

Jennifer M. McDermott Appointed Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Jennifer McDermottJennifer M. McDermott has been appointed the first College of Natural Sciences (CNS) Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. In this new role, McDermott work with Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars and collaborate with the Assistant Dean for Inclusion and Engagement in the Graduate School to promote the CNS Vision for Diversity and Inclusion.

Katherine Dixon-Gordon Selected for the Judy Hall Early Career Psychologist Award

katie dixon-gordonThe National Register of Health Service Psychologists has presented the 2018 Judy E. Hall Early Career Psychologist Award to Katherine Dixon-Gordon. The award recognizes excellence in a National Register credentialed psychologist with fewer than ten years of postdoctoral experience, and the associated $2,500 stipend supports a project that advances the mission, vision, and values of the National Register.

Rebecca Spencer Receives Concurrent NIH, NSF Grants for Child Sleep Studies

Rebecca Spencer recently received a two-year, $423,208 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with co-investigator Tracy Riggins at the University of Maryland, to study the role of sleep and brain maturation on memory in early childhood development, specifically when children transition out of naps.

A mother's emotional and cognitive control influences her child's behavior, study co-authored by Kirby Deater-Deckard

A new study by Kirby Deater-Deckard, professor in developmental science, and co-authors from Brigham Young University, Johns Hopkins University, and Virginia Tech, discusses how a mother's emotional and cognitive control can influence her child's behavior.