Spring 2021 Newsletter | In the Media

Rebecca Spencer, psychological and brain sciences, gives advice on how to take the perfect afternoon nap. There’s some stigma around the idea of adults taking nap, Spencer says, but “as a species we’re suited to nap at any age.” (Reviewed, 2/10/21)

Ervin Staub, professor of psychology emeritus, is quoted in an article about how to be an active bystander when encountering someone in trouble. Staub says people feel less responsible to intervene when others are around because they assume someone else will handle it. But, if the victim is alone, people might assume they don’t actually need help. (Popular Science, 3/2/21)

Guest columnists offer suggestions for improving policing in Northampton, including participating in the Active Bystander for Law Enforcement program, developed by Ervin Staub, professor of psychology emeritus. (Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/30/21)

Marcela Fernandez-Peters, a post doctoral research associate in psychological & brain sciences, is quoted in a radio report exploring whether birds have a greater hearing spectrum than humans. She says that the hearing organs and brains of owls have “a lot of real estate dedicated” to hearing high frequencies, meaning that while they might not hear super high pitched sounds, they’re very good at hearing the frequencies they do hear. (New Hampshire Public Radio, 3/5/21)

Robert Feldman, psychology, is quoted in an article about why people sometimes borrow things from friends and never return them. Feldman says people often intend to return borrowed items but forget to do so and then are too embarrassed to come forward. "As time goes on, the easier behavior is to simply hold on to things and convince yourself that if my friend wanted it, he or she would be asking me for it,” he says. (The Atlantic, 11/17/20)

Paula Pietromonaco, professor emerita of psychological and brain sciences, is quoted in an article examining the psychological difficulties we will face when returning to “normal” following the COVID pandemic. (Wired, 3/12/21)

Linda Tropp, psychological and brain sciences, comments in an article about the value of expanding friend groups to include people of different backgrounds, identities or life experiences. Tropp says, “When we encounter people who are different from us, we may feel unsure about how to act, or about how we or our intentions will be perceived, and that can make us feel uncomfortable.” (HuffPost, 3/15/21)

Having a responsive, supportive partner minimizes the negative impacts of an individual’s depression or external stress on their romantic relationship, according to research by Paula Pietromonaco, professor emerita of psychological and brain sciences. In the study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, Pietromonaco drew on data from her Growth in Early Marriage project to investigate what she had discovered was an under-studied question. “I was really surprised that although there's a ton of work out there on depression, there was very little in the literature looking at the kinds of behavior that partners could do that would buffer the detrimental effects of depression,” she says. (News-Medical.net, 4/9/21; News Office release)

Views by Ervin Staub, founding director of the Psychology of Peace and Violence program, are included in a roundup of experts expressing their thoughts on Derek Chauvin being found guilty of murdering George Floyd. “I am not confident there will be a real change in the justice system heading forward, but perhaps this will represent a new beginning, in that police officers and a police chief testified against Derek Chauvin,” he writes. “This is contrary to police culture, which requires that officers support each other no matter what.” (Politico, Yahoo!News, 4/20/21)

Research by Robert Feldman, psychological and brain sciences, is cited in an article about what you can do when someone is lying to your face. (HuffPost, 4/21/21)

Preliminary results of a randomized, controlled study led by David Arnold, psychological and brain sciences, show that 4- and 5-year-olds from low income families who used a Khan Academy Kids App for three months at home achieved “substantial gains in their pre-literacy skills that brought them nearly to the national average.” (Medium, 5/1/21; News Office release)