News

National Report Calls for More Focused Studies of Digital Apps and Games to Enhance Pre-teen Learning and Development

young girl uses ipad in classroom

UMass Amherst developmental psychologists contribute to major lit review

A team of developmental and cognitive psychologists and learning experts this month published a report on digital game play and app use among 6 to 12-year-olds–specifically, what is known and not known about impacts on cognitive development and learning. They recommend target research areas to maximize child educational outcomes, best practices in schools, and policies for developing effective educational games and apps for this group of under-studied youth.

PBS Leads Successful UMassGives Campaign

logo of old chapelUMass Amherst’s seventh annual 2-day on-line giving campaign, UMassGives, was a huge success! On April 29 and 30 the University came together to raise funds for many areas of campus including colleges, departments, and student organizations. The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences participated in a fundraising Power Hour, a chance to win bonus funds if an area can procure the most individual donations during that hour. We're glad to announce winning second place, receiving an extra $500 in bonus funds! We generated over $2,000 during our Power Hour alone! PBS raised $4,320 from 94 donors! That's almost double the funds we raised last year! We want to extend a heart-felt thank you to all of our donors for supporting our students' success!

2019 Senior Award Winners Share Reflections from UMass

group of award winners holding plaques

From left-right: Laurel Whitfield, Lucine Boloyan, Brenna Duffey, John Vargas, Caren Rotello, Lily Vesel, Sophia Davis, Julia Tager, and Katelyn Loring.

Outstanding seniors from Psychological and Brain Sciences were honored at the annual Senior Award Celebration held at the University Club. Department Chair Caren Rotello, award recipients, their faculty sponsors were in attendance. Seniors were honored for their academic excellence, contributions to research, and scholarship. Hear what our senior award winners had to say about their UMass experience:

Institute for Diversity Sciences Awards 2019 Seed Grants to Three Teams

Nilanjana “Buju” DasguptaThe campus’s Institute of Diversity Sciences (IDS) recently awarded three multi-disciplinary research teams that include faculty and graduate students from four schools and colleges, six departments and the UMass Medical School at Baystate.

Winning teams are Networks of Organizational Leadership: Measuring Race, Gender, and Color among Elites with Kevin Young, political science, Brendan O’Connor, computer science and Seth Goldman, communication; Improving Diagnosis and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders in Emergency Contexts with Katherine Dixon-Gordon and Linda Isbell, both psychological and brain sciences, Karen Kalmakis, nursing, and William Soares and Elizabeth Schoenfeld, both emergency medicine at UMass Medical School, Baystate; Reforming Math Education to Improve STEM Success for Diverse Students with Jeffrey Starns and Andrew Cohen, both psychological and brain sciences, and Darrell Earnest, teacher education and curriculum studies.

Graduate Student Diversity Committee Honors Outstanding Student and Faculty/Staff Ally

awards winners smile with Kirsten HelmerThis April, Adaeze Egwuatu was chosen by the Graduate Student Diversity Committee as the recipient of this year’s Wendy L. Helmer Memorial Graduate Student Award. Egwuatu's fellow graduate students recognized her important contributions across many levels including in PBS, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, and at UMass Amherst more broadly. She has also been an active mentor of students from underrepresented groups, and a member of several student organizations and outreach committees. Egwuatu is a strong advocate for inclusion and social justice, and has been a powerful, respectful voice for graduate students. 

PBS Faculty receive 2019 CNS Outstanding Achievement Awards

Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion 

Nilanjana  'Buju'  Dasgupta, professor, CNS  Director of  Faculty Equity and Inclusion  

Buju Dasgupta"Buju Dasgupta is a social psychologist who could be given this award solely for her highly-successful and influential research program, which explores topics such as stereotypes, implicit biases, and the importance of role models to the success of women and under-represented minorities in STEM disciplines. These topics are highly significant for leadership in the public and private sectors, and many of those individuals have invited Buju to present her work. Closer to home, she has been a leader on all aspects of diversity, and created the new Institute for Diversity Sciences in 2018. Over 100 students and faculty are already involved." 

LIPS Lab attends Science Night at Jackson Street School

kid hums through tube with lasers inside

For the second year, the Language, Intersensory Perception, and Speech Lab participated in the Jackson Street Elementary School's Annual Science Night. Faculty member Alexandra Jesse and lab research assistants showed children how the ability to read cannot be turned off in the exhibit "Do Not Read This!", transcribed children's names in "The Secret Code of Speech Sounds", tested their lipreading abilities in "Be a Spy and Read My Lips!", and turned their voices into laser patterns in "See Your Voice!"

The International Perspectives on Disability class visits TILL

pbs students and till group pose for group photo

Students in the International Perspectives on Disability faculty-led study abroad program traveled to the Charlestown location of Toward Independent Living and Learning (TILL), a non-profit organization providing residential, clinical, and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities. The students were welcomed in the after school program facilities and given a tour of newly constructed group homes for adults with disabilities. The UMass students will be traveling with 15 participants from TILL to Scotland this August to attend the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) conference.

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