Carnegie Mellon University

Grad News

As the Grad PR, my mission is to update the department on recent news & events that happen to graduate students. I will thus be providing information on the latest research milestones and achievements of Psychology graduate students, and will keep everyone posted throughout the year.

January & February | March, April & Early May | Late May, June & Early JulyLate July, August, September | October & NovemberArchive of 2021 News | Archive of 2020 News

October & November

I hope this newsletter finds you cozy and warm in the morning of the first day of December after a good night's rest. If not... at least we can take solace in the fact that the Fall semester is almost over and winter break is nearly here! In the spirit of celebration, please read through our last graduate newsletter of the year to learn about the most recent accomplishments of our students.

New Publications

Oszczapinska, U., & Heller, L. M. (2022). The underlying temporal features in the transition from bouncing to rolling events. Auditory Perception & Cognition, 1-29.

Urszula's first year paper was accepted and is her first first-author publication!

Kumar, L., Zhou, A., Sanov, B., Beitler, S., Skrzynski, C. J., & Creswell, K. G. (2022). Indirect effects of theory of mind on alcohol use and problems in underage drinkers: The role of peer pressure to drink. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 16, 100468. DOI.

Granovetter, M. C., Robert, S., Ettensohn, L., & Behrmann, M. (2022). With childhood hemispherectomy, one hemisphere can support—but is suboptimal for—word and face recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  119(44), e2212936119.

Paper Submissions

Hodson, A., Shinn-Cunningham, B., & Holt, L. (under review). Statistical learning across passive listening adjusts perceptual weights of speech input dimensions. PsyArXiv.

Obasih, C., Luthra, S., Dick, F., & Holt, L. (under review). Auditory category learning is robust across training regimes. PsyArVix.

Xie, Y. X., & Feeney, B. C. (under review). Bidirectional pathways linking daily partner interactions to sleep quality in older adult couples. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Helgeson, V. S., Barlow, S., Fenstermaker, E., Horner, F. S., & Cho, S. S. (under review). Daily racism, racial centrality, and health among non-white college students.

Helgeson, V.S., Horner, F. S., Barlow, S., Fenstermaker, E., Cho, S. S. (under review). Communal coping with racism: A daily diary study.

Jenah Black just received reviews back from her first first-author paper titled, "The role of subphonemic units in segmental speech errors," submitted to Cognitive Neuropsychology.

Grants and Awards

Asal Yunusova was awarded the Graduate Small Project Help (GuSH) to get extra financial support for her project entitled, "An attachment security writing intervention for adolescents with Irritable Bowel Syndrome."

Conference Presentations and Talks

Trent Cash presented a poster titled "Do aggregate school ratings improve metacognitive knowledge of cue weights in school choice decisions?" at the annual conference of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making in San Diego this November.

Jenah Black presented a poster entitled "Distributional speech regularities maintained across long delays influence perceptual weighting of speech input" at the 63rd annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society meeting in Boston this November .

Roderick Seow presented a poster titled, "Effects of presentation order and density on function learning," at the 63rd annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society meeting in Boston this November.

Kim Nestor presented a poster entitled, "Task demand alters cortical network states ensuing integration and modularization," at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego this November.

Nick Blauch gave a talk titled, "A connectivity-constrained computational account of the topography of human ventral temporal cortex," at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego this November.

Urszula Oszczapinska presented a poster entitled, "Pleasantness altered by misidentification of everyday sounds," at the Auditory Perception, Cognition, and Action meeting in Boston this November.

Yuxi Xie had a poster entitled, "Bidirectional Pathways Linking Daily Partner Interactions to Sleep Quality in Older Adult Couples," accepted for presentation at the annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP).

Fiona Horner had an abstract titled, "Time-varying psychosocial predictors blood glucose among adolescents with type 1 diabetes: A DSEM approach," accepted for a Research Spotlight at the annual conference of Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Professional Development

Kim Nestor and Emefa Akwayena prepared materials for and attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) in Anaheim, CA, to exhibit in the Carnegie Mellon booth with the goal of recruiting diverse students to our department!

Maria Chroneos had the opportunity to visit Edinburgh for the 10th Anniversary on ATP1A3 Diseases as an advocate with the organization CureAHC, which she has been a part for nearly 7 years to push research, clinical care, and awareness of the rare disease Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood specifically. It is a cause within her clinical and personal interests, but is also highly understudied from a cognitive neuroscience perspective! She also had fun solo-exploring beautiful Edinburgh, see picture below!

maria-chroneos-atp1a3.png

Other News

Austin Luor had a major breakthrough in interpreting some weird data from his first year and is off to the races on a new set of studies! 

Congratulations to ~ Timothy Murphy ~ for successfully defending his dissertation proposal!

Congratulations to everyone for their many achievements this semester.

Happy Finals Season and looking forward to seeing you all at the Department Winter Party!

Late July, August, September

I hope everyone is embracing sweater weather, warm drinks, and the autumn leaves as much as I am! When it's time for a break from everyday activities, please take a moment to read our graduate students' most recent accomplishments from the second half of summer and the first month of Fall semester.

New Publications

  • Xie, Y., Chin, B. N., & Feeney, B. C. (2022). Mechanisms Linking Attachment Orientation to Sleep Quality in Married Couples. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/01461672221123859
    • Yuxi's first year paper was accepted and is her first first-author publication!
  • Kumar, L., Skrzynski, C.J. & Creswell, K.G. (2022) Systematic review and meta-analysis on the association between theory of mind and alcohol problems in non-clinical samples. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 00, 1–9. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.14943.
  • Granovetter, M. C., Robert, S., Ettensohn, L., & Behrmann, M. (In Press) With Childhood Hemispherectomy, One Hemisphere Can Support—but is suboptimal for—word and face recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • McClannahan, K., Mainardi, A., Luor, A., Chiu, Y., Sommers, M., & Peelle, J. (In Press) Spoken word recognition in adults with mild dementia symptoms. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Paper Submissions

  • Trent Cash submitted a manuscript entitled "Metacognitive knowledge of preferences in high-stakes, personal decisions: A conjoint analysis of school choice"to the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

Grants and Awards

  • Asal Yunusova submitted an application to the Graduate Small Project Help (GuSH) to get extra financial support for her project entitled, "An Attachment Security Writing Intervention for Adolescents with Irritable Bowel Syndrome."
  • Kim Nestor submitted an application to Meta's PhD research fellowship that would support two years of graduate research.

Conference Posters and Talks

  • Austin Luor had a poster entitled, "Statistical regularities of task-irrelevant dimensions impact auditory decisions," accepted for presentation at The Acoustical Society of America in Nashville, TN in December.
  • Trent Cash had a poster entitled, "Do cognitive aids improve metacognitive knowledge in school choice decisions?" accepted for presentation at The Annual Meeting of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making in San Diego, CA this November.
  • Trent Cash had a talk, entitled "Metareasoning and Metacognitive Knowledge of Preferences in Policy Relevant Decisions," accepted for presentation at the First Metareasoning Conference in Jerusalem this December.
  • Kim Nestor had an abstract accepted to Society for Neuroscience titled "Task demand alters cortical network states ensuing integration and modularization" to be presented this November.  

Professional Development

  • Kim Nestor took part in this summer's Neuromatch Academy course on Computational Neuroscience in July. 

Other News

  • Congratulations to Pierre Gianferrara for successfully proposing his dissertation.
  • Congratulations to Patience Stevens for successfully defending her dissertation! 

Thanks to everyone for sharing their news. Looking forward to Spooky season and sharing your future accomplishments!

Late May, June & Early July

I'm excited to introduce myself, Sophie Robert, as the new Graduate PR for the next academic year. Our graduate students have certainly kept up the productivity since the end of the academic year in mid May. Read about their many endeavors and accomplishments from mid May through to mid July below!

New Publications

  • Horner, F. S. , & Helgeson, V. S. (in press). Actor and partner effects of positive affect on communal coping. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 0(0), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1177/02654075221110628.
Fiona's first year paper was accepted and is her first first-author publication!

Chisom's first co-authored paper was published!

Paper Submissions

  • Horner, F. S., Helgeson, V. S., Korytkowski, M. (under review). Effects of positive affect and stress on HbA1c: A prospective longitudinal study. Health Psychology.
  • Kumar, L., Skrzynski, C. J., & Creswell, K. G. (under review). Systematic review and meta-analysis on the association between theory of mind and alcohol problems in non-clinical samples. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
  • Kumar, L., Ringwald, W. R., Wright, A. G. C., & Creswell, K. G. (under review). Associations of state and trait empathy with daily alcohol use. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
  • Kumar, L., Zhou, A., Sanov, B., Beitler, S., Skrzynski, C. J., & Creswell, K. G. (under review). Peer pressure to drink mediates the association between theory of mind and alcohol use and problems in underage drinkers. Addictive Behaviors.
  • Granovetter, M. C., Robert, S., Ettensohn, L., & Behrmann, M. (under review). With Childhood Hemispherectomy, One Hemisphere Can Support--But is Suboptimal for--Word and Face Recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Black, J., & Nozari, B. (under review). The Role of Subphonemic Units in Sublexical Speech Errors: Insights from Resource Models of Working Memory. Cognitive Neuropsychology.
  • Dedhe, A., Piantadosi, S., & Cantlon, K. (under review). Building blocks of recursive pattern processing in human adults. Cognitive Science.

Grants and Awards

  • Tim Murphy submitted his first grant to the National Science Foundation! It is a dissertation grant entitled Doctoral Dissertation Research: Characterizing links between speech perception and production with statistical learning.
  • Tim Murphy was also awarded a prestigious Stetson Fellowship from the Acoustical Society of America to support his dissertation research. See the CMU News feature on Tim's work.
  • A project on which Trent Cash is a Co-PI was awarded the 2022 Esther Katz Rosen Fund Grant from the American Psychological Foundation.
  • Trent Cash earned a 2022 Award for Excellence in Research from the Mensa Education & Research Foundation for his research on gifted students' psychological well-being.
  • Pierre Gianferrara was awarded a CMU-Pitt BRIDGE Center Developmental Fund Seed Grant ($23,832 of scanning funds) in July. This grant will be used to fund his dissertation work which will focus on using fMRI to investigate cortical and cerebellar contributions to sensorimotor learning across speeds during the acquisition of a motor timing skill in a finger pressing task.
  • Alana Hodson was awarded two years of support from the NIH for a project that will examine effects of selective attention in learning distributional regularities across speech input.
  • Austin Luor and Jenah Black were awarded a second year of graduate support from the B2 Training Grant.

Conference Presentations and Talks

  • Sophie Robert presented a poster entitled "Investigation of hemispheric functional organization after pediatric epilepsy surgery with naturalistic neuroimaging," and Nick Blauch gave a talk with the title "Connectivity constraints, viewing biases, and task demands within a bi-hemispheric interactive topographic network model account for the layout of human ventral temporal cortex" at the Vision Sciences Society meeting in May at St. Pete's Beach, FL.
  • Sophie Robert and Nick Blauch presented posters, entitled "Using naturalistic fMRI to study the intact hemisphere of pediatric epilepsy surgery patients" and "A connectivity-constrained computational model of the topography of human ventral temporal cortex," respectively, and Michael Granovetter gave a talk entitled "Delineating the time course of visual system plasticity, pre- and post-pediatric occipital lobectomy," at the Organization for Human Brain Mapping meeting this June in Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Austin Luor and Alana Hodson presented posters, "Statistical learning in guiding auditory attention" and "Dimension-based statistical learning in older adults," respectively, and Megan Waller and gave a talk titled, "Of mouses and mans: the role of production and feedback in language learning," at the Cognitive Science Society meeting in Toronto this July.
  • Abhishek Dedhe gave a talk titled, "Building blocks of recursive pattern processing in human adults," at the virtual Cognitive Science Society meeting in July, and opted to publish the abstract, but not the full paper, in the Proceedings of the conference.
  • Pierre Gianferrara presented his research on action sequencing, timing, and chunking in the Space Fortress video game at the 2022 International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM) from July 23-27 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Roderick Seow presented an extended abstract entitled "Discontinuities in function learning" at the Virtual Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling in July.
  • Tim Murphy and Jenah Black presented at the International Workshop on Language Production.
  • Chisom Obasih had an abstract accepted to Society for the Neurobiology of Language.
  • Austin Luor submitted an abstract with the title "Statistical regularities of task-irrelevant dimensions impact auditory decisions" to present at the Acoustical Society of America in December.
  • Sophie Robert, Maria Chroneos, and Michael Granovetter attended the Brain Recovery Project conference this July in Utah to collect behavioral data for several experiments involving hemispherectomy patients.
29cf8114881bf3.jpeg

Professional Development

  • Roderick Seow finished his internship with Educational Testing Service (June to July) working on a project about identifying potentially disengaged test-takers in large-scale, low-stakes assessments using unsupervised and semi-supervised techniques.
  • Nick Blauch finished his internship as a Computational Neuroscientist at SPARK Neuro (May to August) where he was working on a deep learning analysis framework to improve the performance of EEG-based diagnostic models of Alzheimer's Disease and cognitive status using architectures such as convolutional neural networks, graph neural networks, and transformers, with supervised and self-supervised training objectives.

Other News

Please give a warm welcome to our two incoming first years, Max Kramer and Maria Chroneos, who are both joining Dr. Marlene Behrmann's lab.

Stay tuned for our first newsletter for postdocs, coming soon!

CMU Psych's Softball team, the Brain Bats, had a great summer season with GSA Intramural Sports and would like to thank the Psychology Department for its support!

64850ccb642e72.jpeg

Congratulations to everyone for their many achievements this summer. More summer news to come in the next newsletter! Happy Fall Semester!

March, April & Early May 2022

As the 2021-2022 academic year is coming to an end, I am thrilled to share the most recent grad news from March, April, and early May 2022. Once again, graduate students have maintained a remarkably high level of productivity over the past academic year, as is evidenced by the following accomplishments. 

New published papers

  • Vargas, R., & Just, M. A. (2022). Similarities and differences in the neural representations of abstract concepts across English and Mandarin. Human Brain Mapping. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25844
    Also see CMU's news article on the paper.
  • Kumar, L., Skrzynski, C.J., & Creswell, K.G. (in press). A meta-analysis on the associations between empathy and alcohol use and problems in clinical and non-clinical samples. Addiction.

Grant submissions

  • Kim Nestor submitted a fellowship application  to CMU's Center for Machine Learning and Health. The project is entitled "Cortical modularization under stress: Reconfiguration of network connectivity with increasing cognitive complexity."

Awards & Fellowships

  • Sophie Robert was awarded a Networking and Travel Award from Females of Vision et al (FoVea) to attend the Annual Vision Sciences Society meeting on May 13-18.
  • Sophie Robert was awarded the 2022-2023 Carnegie Prize Graduate Student Fellowship to work with prize recipient Dr. Marisa Carrasco. The fellowship provides mentorship, stipend support for an academic year, and a trip to Dr. Carrasco's lab at NYU.
  • Asal Yunusova received a graduate student research award from the Society for Health Psychology for her project entitled "An attachment security writing intervention for adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome."
  • Cassie Eng received the National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored Cognitive Development Society Diversity Travel Award.
  • Cassie Eng obtained Graduate Student Assembly/Provost Conference Funding for the Cognitive Development Society conference.
  • Robert Vargas received the CMU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship, working with Tim Verstynen and Kevin Jarbo, to investigate the way in which representations and attitudes of social identity affect decision making, and to determine how experience influences our representations of various institutions of our society (e.g., healthcare or police).

Paper submissions & Preprints

  • Yuxi Xie revised and resubmitted her manuscript entitled "Mechanisms linking attachment orientation to sleep quality in married couples" to Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
  • Sophie Robert uploaded a pre-print of her first-authored manuscript entitled "Disentangling object category representations driven by dynamic and static visual input." The paper was co-authored by Leslie Ungerleider and Maryam Vaziri-Pashkam. Read the preprint.

Conferences & Talks

  • Austin Luor's abstract was accepted for presentation at the Cognitive Science Society annual meeting in Toronto (Canada) in late July. The name of the project is "Statistical learning in guiding auditory attention."
  • Megan Waller's project entitled "Of mouses and mans: the role of production and feedback in language learning" was accepted as a talk at the Cognitive Science Society annual meeting, and as a poster at the International Workshop on Language Production (June 9-11).
  • Yuxi Xie will be giving a full-length talk at the International Association for Relationship Research (IARR) 2022 conference. The talk is entitled "Mechanisms linking attachment orientation to sleep quality in married couples."
  • Cassie Eng co-authored a conference paper entitled "Low spatial proximity between text and illustrations improves children’s comprehension and attention: An eye-tracking study" which will be presented at the upcoming Cognitive Science Society annual conference.
  • Cassie Eng gave a talk entitled "Fostering executive function and prefrontal cortex development through combined cognitive-exercise contexts in preschool-aged children: an fNIRS study" and presented the results from an eye-tracking study on the attentional improvements of decreased spatial proximity between text and illustrations at the Cognitive Developmental Society Conference in Madison, WI.
  • Cassie Eng gave talks at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Developmental & Brain Sciences Laboratories and to CMU's Children School 3-K Educators on the role of combined exercise with cognitive training on brain development and executive function.
  • Fiona  Horner presented a poster on her project entitled "Positive affect prospectively predicts HbA1c among people with Type 2 diabetes" at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Baltimore, MD.
  • Jeanean Naqvi presented a poster on her project entitled "Trajectories of mental health during the COVID-19 crisis: Differences by race/ethnicity, gender, income, and sexual identity" at the  the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Baltimore, MD.
  • Pierre Gianferrara presented a poster on his project entitled "Electrophysiological characterization of sensorimotor learning and skill acquisition in a finger tapping task" at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting in San Francisco, CA.

Dissertation proposals

  • Emily Keebler successfully proposed her dissertation entitled "Advancing the measurement of sustained attention in young children" on May 2nd.

Dissertation defenses

  • Cassie Eng completed her Ph.D. defense on  March 25 and successfully became Dr. Eng (see picture below)! Thesis title: "Fostering executive function and prefrontal cortex development in young children by combining physical exercise with simultaneous cognitive training"
  • Michael Granovetter completed his Ph.D. defense on May 10 and successfully became Dr. Granovetter! Thesis title: "Characterization of visual system neuroplasticity with pediatric cortical resection"
  • Krista Bond completed her Ph.D. defense on May 11 and successfully became Dr. Bond! Thesis title: "Adaptive decision policy dynamics"

Miscellaneous

  • Kim Nestor earned her Master's degree in Applied Data Analytics from Boston University.
  • Cassie Eng was asked to be the commencement speaker to represent the Class of 2022 at the Psychology department diploma ceremony.
  • Jeanean Naqvi accepted a postdoctoral position at UC San Diego as part of their T32 Integrated cardiovascular epidemiology fellowship program.

Departmental awards

 The department of Psychology has granted annual awards to the following students. Please see below for pictures featuring the awardees.

  • Cassie Eng and Robert Vargas have received the Dick Hayes Service Award.
  • Jeanean Naqvi and Pierre Gianferrara have received the Bobby Klatzky Publication Award
  • Tim Murphy and Pierre Gianferrara have received the Herb Simon Teaching Award 

Congratulations to all the grad students for their sustained efforts and outstanding accomplishments over the past academic year!

This is the last newsletter that I will be sending out to the department. It was my pleasure to serve the community by sharing graduate news with you all for the past two years. Thank you for your feedback and sustained support. I wish you all an amazing start of the summer!

January & February 2022

I hope that many of you were able to rest during the Spring Break, and on Staff Appreciation Day! I am excited to share the most recent grad news from January & February 2022.

Papers accepted for publication

  • Stevens, P., & Plaut, D. C. (in press). From decomposition to distributed theories of morphological processing in reading. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Grants & Awards

  • Trent Cash's research group recently applied for the Esther Katz Rosen Fund Grant. The grant supports work related to the psychological understanding of gifted children and youth.
  • Patience Stevens received a grant from the Center for Behavioral and Decision Research at CMU to support her research.
  • Jenah Black was awarded the 2021 Ingeborg L. and O. Byron Ward Outstanding Thesis Award for her M.S. thesis at Villanova University. The award is annually presented to an exceptional Psychology M.S. thesis.
  • Asal Yunusova applied for a graduate student research award at theSociety for Health Psychology. The name of the submitted proposal is "An attachment security writing intervention for adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome."

Paper submissions & preprints

  • Fiona Horner submitted a first-authored paper entitled "Positive affect prospectively predicts HbA1c among adults recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes" to Diabetes Care.

Conferences & Talks

  • Trent Cash presented his research at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM). The name of the project is "How well do parents know their own preferences when making school choice decisions?" 
  • Phoebe Dinh submitted an abstract on one of their infant studies to the Cognitive Development Society conference. The abstract was accepted in February. The name of the project is "Young infants can learn physical causation-at-a-distance with light switch events."
  • Asal Yunusova will be presenting her research at the American Psychosomatic Society conference and at the Society for Behavioral Medicine conference. The first project focuses on depression trajectories among first-year college students, and the second project investigates mindfulness meditation in irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Cassie Eng gave a talk at the Cognitive Developmental Society's pre-conference workshop symposium, which focused on digital media and cognitive development leveraging. The name of the talk was "Cognitive principles in multimedia learning to optimize e-books for children's attention and comprehension: Evidence from eye tracking."

Dissertation proposals

  • Robert Vargas successfully proposed his dissertation entitled "Examining the representational structure of socioenvironmental concepts across black and white Americans" on January 5.
  • Krista Bond successfully proposed her dissertation entitled "Adaptive decision policy dynamics" on January 18.

Outreach

  • The Psychology Graduate Outreach Program led an engaging workshop focused on growth mindset for 9 to 12 year olds at the YMCA during the last week of February. Special thanks to Chisom Obasih, Krista Bond, and Trent Cash for leading this session, and to Stephanie Permut for contributing to content development.
  • Jeanean Naqvi, Julia Conti, and Patience Stevens have been mentoring high school students participating in the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair. They've assisted students with their research questions and experiment designs, and will assist with the interpretation and presentation of the results.
  • Cassie Eng created and filmed the Virtual Tour of the Psychology Department, which enabled prospective graduate students to get a sense of our community on Visiting Day even though they were unable to visit campus in-person due to COVID-19. Check out the above link to watch Cassie's excellent introduction to the Psych department!

Missed News

  • Abhishek Dedhe engaged in a COVID crisis data project whose goal was to collect and analyze data pertaining to the knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors of Indian residents of the city of Pune in the hopes of informing governmental policy changes and alleviating Indians' hardships in the face of COVID-19. Please read this interview conducted by CMU's public relations team to learn more about the project.

Miscellaneous

  • Roderick Seow will be interning at Educational Testing Services (ETS) for two months (June & July) during the Summer 2022.

Congratulations to all the grad students for their outstanding accomplishments and research progress! We wish you all the best for the second part of the Spring semester. 

Stay tuned for the next research updates!