News

I-Corps boosts innovation infrastructure

Innovation Corps award will train teams to develop new ventures 

light bulbs turning on and off

The National Science Foundation has announced that it has selected the University of Massachusetts Amherst to be one of its national network of Innovation Corps Sites (I-Corps). The program is intended to increase research commercialization and campus startups while enriching existing innovation infrastructure. Organizers hope to help new ventures bring economic development and jobs to the region.

Ushering life science technologies from labs to living rooms

Institute of Applied Life Sciences helps companies solve real-world problems 

life science laboratories building

In addition to directing the Human Testing Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s new Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), Michael Busa is managing the new class of research relationships emerging for the state’s largest public university campus, with corporate partners in biotech and health care.

Faculty Group to Study Organizational Success of Eureka! Program

girls working together looking at computer screenFive faculty members in the colleges of Education, Natural Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences have received a two-year, $299,271 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the components of a successful multi-organizational partnership designed to promote girls’ participation in higher education and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Psychological and Brain Sciences holds Open House

On Nov. 2 PBS opened up several labs to the public, giving visitors a chance to explore some of the exciting technology and methods used by our researchers!

students laughing and trying three block task

Visitors enjoy the Learning Lab's block task, a neat brain teaser used in child studies.

visitors inject gel into electrodes on EEG cap

Graduate student Helena Jacob (pictured right) instructs participants as they apply conductive gel to points where EEG electrodes meet the scalp.

Neurocognition and Perception Laboratory: Research Highlights

The Neurocognition and Perception (NCaP) Laboratory, directed by Lisa Sanders, aims to 1) understand the neurocognitive mechanisms of basic auditory perception, speech perception, and selective attention across the lifespan, and 2) to determine how attentional control and perceptual learning can lead to better perceptual outcomes, including understanding speech in background noise. To accomplish these goals, the lab uses behavioral, electrophysiological, and neuroimaging measures in listeners ranging from 20 months to 85 years of age.

Cognitive and Neural Measures of Childhood Language Processing and Speech Comprehension in Natural Settings

Maggie Ugolini, graduate student in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, is conducting a study aiming to better understand real-world language processing (or comprehension) in 5-year-old children. When a child comes to the lab to participate in a study he/she will wear a cap that measures the electrical activity of their brain using electroencephalography (EEG). They will listen to several stories and answer multiple-choice questions about them on an iPad. What is unique about this scenario is that each story includes phonological errors, which will cause a response in the child’s brain.

Lacreuse lab investigates the etiology of Alzheimer's disease

older adults

The Lacreuse lab received $361,752 in supplemental funding from NIH to study whether Alzheimer's disease-like symptoms occur naturally in nonhuman primates with aging. Agnès Lacreuse is especially interested in determining whether female marmosets, like women, are more prone to such symptoms, and her work seeks to identify the factors that predict pathological aging in each sex. Lacreuse believes that comparative studies in different primate species will provide important new clues to advance our understanding of the etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in humans.

Familiarity breeds tolerance: Linda Tropp honored for influential ‘contact theory’ analysis

Linda Tropp, psychological and brain sciences, and her group of researchers spent over five years “trying to find every study on intergroup contact we could,” she says. 

Contact theory is a social psychology idea that suggests that contact between social groups (such as racial and ethnic groups) can be an effective strategy for reducing intergroup prejudice. This theory maintains that contact, under certain conditions, between two or more social groups can promote tolerance. If groups are allowed to communicate with one another, they may start to appreciate each other's viewpoints.  

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