Asking If Behavior Can Be Changed on Climate Crisis

planet earth is enclosed in a light bulb


UMass Amherst, UPenn research suggests invoking moral obligation may help 

One of the more complex problems facing social psychologists today is whether any intervention can move people to change their behavior about climate change and protecting the environment for the sake of future generations.

Now researchers Hanne Melgård Watkins at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Geoffrey Goodwin at the University of Pennsylvania report after their recent experiments that an intergenerational reciprocity approach ­– asking people to reflect on sacrifices made in the past by others for their benefit today – may generate gratitude and a sense of moral obligation to people in the future.

Deanna Ferrante '20 honored with Kaitlin A. Geraghty Memorial Prize for excellence in disability inclusion

Deanna Ferrante and Rachel Geraghty holding award at conferenceDeanna Ferrante '20, Developmental Disabilities and Human Services Program (DDHS) and Psychology, was honored with the first inaugural Kaitlin A. Geraghty Memorial Prize for excellence in disability inclusion by the National Organization on Disability (NOD). Named in honor of the late NOD intern who was much admired, this award is bestowed to an up-and-coming disability advocate who shares Kaitlin’s passion for working towards the full inclusion of people with disabilities. 

Scientists’ Panel Urges More Vigorous Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Bias in STEM Workforce

man and woman face away from eachother


Large panel, including UMass Amherst diversity researcher, urges tougher action

A diverse group of scientists including Nilanjana Dasgupta, professor of social psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the campus’s director of faculty equity and inclusion, report their findings and recommendations on how institutions and funding agencies can address and prevent sexual harassment and gender bias in the STEM workforce. Details of their suggested “specific, potentially high-impact policy changes” appear in the current issue of Science.

Measuring how sleep impacts early childhood memory—a new research protocol

child sleepingA new protocol from researchers at the University of Maryland and UMass Amherst, including PBS's Rebecca Spencer and Sanna Lokhandwala, describes methods to examine neural mechanisms underlying sleep-dependent memory consolidation during naps in early childhood. It includes procedures for examining the effect of sleep on behavioral memory performance, as well as the application and recording of both polysomnography and actigraphy.

See article from JoVE Scientific Video Journal

Paula Pietromonaco selected for the 2019 Service to the Field Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Paula PietromonacoPaula Pietromonaco, Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences, has been selected for the 2019 Service to the Field Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). She will accept the award during a ceremony at the 2020 SPSP Convention in February.

Beyond the ‘Replication Crisis,’ Does Research Face ‘Inference Crisis’?

code on computer screen reflects onto persons glasses


UMass Amherst researchers test expert inferences against known data, find inconsistency

For the past decade, social scientists have been unpacking a “replication crisis” that has revealed how findings of an alarming number of scientific studies are difficult or impossible to repeat. Efforts are underway to improve the reliability of findings, but cognitive psychology researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst say that not enough attention has been paid to the validity of theoretical inferences made from research findings.

Dasgupta to Lead Network to Increase and Diversify STEM Workforce

engineer's table with tools and drawings


For years, science and engineering educators, social scientists, industry leaders and policymakers in Massachusetts have struggled to expand and diversify the STEM workforce, each coming at the problem from different disciplinary and institutional perspectives, says professor of psychology Nilanjana “Buju” Dasgupta, director of the campus’s Institute of Diversity Sciences (IDS).