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 | May & June | July & August | September & OctoberArchive of 2020 News

September & October 2021

Happy end of the Fall to everyone! I am excited to share with you the most recent grad news from September & October 2021.

New published papers

Grant submissions & Awards

  • Emefa Akwayena, Fiona Horner, and Megan Waller submitted a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship application. We wish them the best of luck!
  • Robert Vargas was awarded an APF Visionary Grant ($19,980 of research funding). In collaboration with Dr. Kevin Jarbo (SDS Faculty & CMU Psychology Alumnus), he is planning on conducting a research project entitled "Using fMRI-measured Attitudes and Actions to Predict Biased Decisions to Punish among White and Chinese Americans."
  • Cassie Eng is the recipient of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NIH (NICHD) John Wiley and Sons Publishing ISDP Conference Funding Award, Division of Developmental Neuroscience in Psychiatry at Columbia University.

Paper submissions & preprints

  • Lakshmi Kumar submitted a meta-analysis on the association between empathy and alcohol use and problems to Addiction.
  • Yuxi Xie submitted a paper entitled "Mechanisms Linking Attachment Orientation to Sleep Quality in Married Couples" to Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and is getting ready to submit a second research paper for publication.
  • Austin Luor is a co-author on a paper entitled "A multi-dataset evaluation of frame censoring for task-based fMRI", which has been uploaded on bioRxiv. 
  • Fiona Horner is a co-author on a paper entitled "Supportive care needs among women living with metastatic breast cancer: A qualitative study", which was submitted to the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

Research progress

  • Jeanean Naqvi has received useful feedback on her paper entitled "Cultural differences in the social support process: New directions for future research." Although the paper was not accepted for publication, Jeanean has still been able to learn from this experience and may edit and submit the paper at a later point.
  • Fiona Horner is currently addressing the reviewers' comments on a paper entitled "Actor and Partner Effects of Positive Affect on Communal Coping", which she submitted to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
  • Robert Vargas is revising his paper on the neural representation of abstract concepts across English and Mandarin Chinese, which he submitted to Human Brain Mapping.
  • Cassie Eng is working with Anna Fisher and Erik Thiessen on revising apaper entitled "Longitudinal Investigation of Executive Function Development Employing Behavioral, Teacher Reports, and fNIRS Multimethodology in 4- to 5-year-old Children", which was submitted toDevelopmental Science.

Talks & conference presentations

  • Urszula Oszczapinska gave a talk entitled "The auditory categorization of bouncing and rolling sound events" at the virtual Auditory Perception, Cognition, and Action Meeting (APCAM).
  • Cassie Eng has given a talk entitled “Enhancing Executive Function Through Multimodal Play: A Brain Plasticity Application of Combined Physical Exercise with Simultaneous Cognitive Training” at Harvard University’s Women in Psychology Annual Trends in Psychology Summit.
  • Fiona Horner's abstract was accepted for a poster presentation at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 2022 Annual Conference. The name of the project is "Positive Affect Prospectively Predicts HbA1c Among People with Type 2 Diabetes."
  • Cassie Eng presented her research at the 54th International Society for Developmental Psychobiology Meeting and  the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation’s Teaching and Learning Summit.
  • Yuxi Xie's abstract was accepted for a poster presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology 2022 Annual Convention.

Dissertation proposals

  • Patience Stevens successfully proposed her dissertation entitled "Morphological processing in visual word recognition: Empirical and computational support for a distributed account" on September 13.
  • Michael Granovetter successfully proposed his dissertation entitled "Characterization of visual system neuroplasticity following pediatric occipitotemporal resection" on October 4.

Outreach

  • Over the last month, the psychology graduate outreach program has prepared interactive workshops about perception and executive functions to share with the Y-Creator Space, a STEAM after-school program at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. Many thanks to Megan Waller, Trent Cash, Chisom Obasih, Julia Conti, Krista Bond, and Sophie Robert for leading these sessions on November 3rd and 10th. Special thanks to Phoebe Dinh and Patience Stevens for support with content creation.
  • Cassie Eng, Fiona Horner, Chisom Obasih, and Pierre Gianferrara served on the Graduate Student Panel for first time undergraduate researchers in the Psychology Department's Practicum Course to have an open discussion about how to face and adapt to research challenges.
  • Cassie Eng and Robert Vargas continued CMU’s presence collaboratively with the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) to promote diverse recruitment at all levels within the Psychology, Neuroscience Institute, Social and Decision Sciences, and Biological Sciences programs.

Miscellaneous

  • Raouf Belkhir is currently completing his medical training as part of an MD/PhD program until 2023.
  • Jeanean Naqvi has been selected for an on-campus interview at Loyola Marymount University for an assistant professor position. Good luck Jeanean!

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

July & August 2021

Welcome back to campus! I hope everyone is having a productive and enjoyable start of the Fall 2021 semester. For those of you who are new to our department, my name is Pierre Gianferrara. I am a 4th-year PhD candidate and I am the Grad PR, which means that I will be sending a bi-monthly grad newsletter to everyone in the department. This month, I am excited to share the most recent grad news from July & August 2021. Grab a nice drink, relax, and enjoy some good news!

New published papers

Naqvi, J. B., & Helgeson, V. S. (2021). Harmonious Relations: Relational Interdependence Moderates Affective Reactivity to Interpersonal Stressors. Social Psychological and Personality Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/19485506211028538


Grants & Awards

  • Michael Granovetter was a recipient of the MSTP (MD-PhD Program) Outstanding Service Award.
  • Keela Thomson received an NSF award for her decision, risk, and management science (DRMS) doctoral dissertation research.
  • Jeanean Naqvi was the 2021 recipient of the Jenessa Shapiro Graduate Research Award.
  • Claire Bergey (PhD candidate working with Dr. Dan Yurovsky) won the Computational Modeling Prize in Language for her conference paper presented at the annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society. The conference paper is entitled "Learning communicative acts in children’s conversations: a Hidden Topic Markov Model analysis of the CHILDES corpus "

Paper submissions

Chisom Obasih is the co-author of a paper entitled "Short-term perceptual re-weighting in suprasegmental categorization." The paper was submitted to Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.
Preprint available

Paper highlights

Jeanean Naqvi's recent publication on "Harmonious relations: Relational interdependence moderates affective reactivity to interpersonal stressors" (see above) has been featured in the SPSPotlight August Student Newsletter.

Research progress

Fiona Horner is working with her co-authors on a revised paper submitted to  Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications. The paper is entitled "Study design and protocol for tailored Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to optimize quality of life in women living with metastatic breast cancer."

Talks & Conferences

Megan Waller obtained a Paula Menyuk Award for her conference submission to the 46th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development and will be giving a talk entitled "Do children learn from reformulations in non-pedagogical contexts?" in November.

Dissertation proposals

Stephanie Permut proposed her dissertation on July 29. Proposal title: "On the psychology of compliance: Four essays on carrots, sticks and institutional safeguards."

Dissertation defenses

Jaeah Kim completed her Ph.D. defense on August 20 and successfully became Dr. Kim! Thesis title: "A computational account of attention over time."

Outreach

The CMU Psych grad outreach program has been launched for another year of grad-led outreach and service. The program's main mission is to introduce young students (usually middle and high school) from underrepresented and under-resourced communities to the field of psychology, psychological research and careers related to psychology, and to use graduate students' experiences and expertise to give back to Pittsburgh communities. Contact Patience Stevens for more details on this program.

Miscellaneous

Our department is warmly welcoming a new cohort of Psychology graduate students!

Psychology - Incoming grads:

- Kimberly Nestor
- Emefa Aku Akwayena
- Asal Yunusova
- Jenah Black
- Julia Conti

Psychology/Social & Decision Science - Incoming grads:

- Trent Cash

Congratulations to all the grad students for their outstanding accomplishments and research progress! We wish you all the best for the new academic year.

May & June 2021

I hope that everyone has been able to enjoy their summer so far! I am excited to see all of you in person as we slowly start to come back to campus on a more regular basis. For the time being, it is my pleasure to share with you the most recent grad news from May & June 2021.

Sit back and enjoy some good news and sunny vibes!

New published papers

  • Seow, R. Y. T., Betts, S. A. & Anderson, J. R. (in press).  A Decay-Based Account of Learning and Adaptation in Complex Skills. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.
  • Helgeson, V., Horner F.S. & Naqvi, J. (in press). Partner Involvement in Type 2 Diabetes Self-Management: A Mixed Methods Investigation. Diabetes Spectrum.

Awards & Breakthroughs

Paper submissions

  • Patience Stevens submitted her literature review entitled “From decomposition to distributed theories of morphological processing in reading” to Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.
  • Nick Blauch submitted a paper entitled "A connectivity-constrained computational account of topographic organization in high-level visual cortex" to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Preprint is available.

Research progress

Jeanean Naqvi and Fiona Horner are working with Melissa Zajdel (CMU Alumnus) and Prof. Vicki Helgeson on a revised version of their paper on "Communal Coping Manifested in Daily Life: A Focus on Gender and Race", submitted to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Talks & Conferences

  • Michael Granovetter gave a talk at the Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society in May 2021 and received an Elsevier/Vision ResearchTravel Award to present this work. The name of his talk was "Repetition suppression to visual stimuli following pediatric occipitotemporal cortical resection."
  • Nick Blauch gave a talk at the Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society in May 2021. The name of his talk was "Developing topographic organization in a recurrent neural network model of inferotemporal cortex." Watch the video.
  • Pierre Gianferrara presented his research project on "Simulations of human periodic tapping and implications for cognitive models" at the 19th International Conference on Cognitive Modelling (ICCM). Watch the video.

Dissertation proposals

Cassie Eng proposed her dissertation on May 20. Proposal title: "Combined Physical Exercise with Simultaneous Cognitive Training as a Context for Fostering Executive Function and Prefrontal Cortex Development."

Outreach

Nick Blauch served as project TA at the NeuroMatch Academy Computational Neuroscience summer school.

Miscellaneous

Jaeah Kim has moved to her new home in Tübingen, Germany and she is currently working on an NSF grant application. The goal of the grant is to fund post-doctoral work related to her dissertation. Stay tuned for more information on the grant application!

March & April 2021

As the 2020-2021 academic year is coming to an end, I am thrilled to share the most recent grad news from March & April 2021. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our department has maintained a remarkably high level of productivity. Certainly, there were many challenges and roadblocks along the way. Yet, graduate students continued to make outstanding research progress as evidenced by the following news items.

For this special end-of-the-year edition, I included a special section for grants, awards, and prizes to take a moment to celebrate our department's graduate students' achievements.  without further ado, let me introduce to you the past two months' latest news!

New published papers

Paper submissions & preprints

  • Lakshmi Kumar submitted a paper entitled "Associations of state and trait empathy with daily alcohol use" to Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
  • Robert Vargas submitted a paper entitled "Similarities and Differences in the Neural representations of Abstract Concepts across English and Mandarin" to Human Brain Mapping.

Conference papers

Conferences

  • Lakshmi Kumar's abstract on her project entitled "Theory of mind and alcohol use/problems in underage drinkers" was approved for a poster presentation at the Research Society on Alcoholism conference.
  • Pierre Gianferrara's abstract on his project entitled "Modeling error correction in a self-paced periodic tapping task" was approved for a poster presentation at the Society for Mathematical Psychology/International Conference on Cognitive modeling 2021.
  • Jeanean Naqvi presented a poster entitled "Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Social Support Process" at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting.
  • Fiona Horner presented a virtual poster on a project entitled "Affective Links to Communal Coping in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes" at the Society of Behavioral Medicine virtual conference. 

Grant submissions

  • Urszula Oszczapinska assisted Prof. Laurie Heller with a grant submission to the Ream Foundation.
  • Robert Vargas and Kevin Jarbo submitted an APF Visionary Grant aimed at investigating the relationship between implicit biased attitudes and implicit biased action. The grant is entitled "Using fMRI-measured Attitudes and Actions to Predict Biased Decisions to Punish among White and Chinese Americans."

Research progress

  • Jeanean Naqvi applied for two scholarships: the APA Queen Nellie-Evans Scholarship and the Society for Health Psychology Graduate Student Award. Although Jeanean did not receive either scholarship, she learned from the application process and highly recommends other students apply for awards as well.
  • Roderick Seow has resubmitted his revised paper to the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, which included a follow-up modeling experiment.

Symposia

Talks

  • Cassie Eng gave a talk entitled "Employing Neuroscience to Optimize Child-Computer Interactions to Enhance Learning and Cognition" at the House of Assessment & Evaluation Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN) conference on the VirBELA Platform. 
  • Cassie Eng gave a talk entitled "Applying theories in developmental science to enrich the experiences children have with technology and educational media" at Virginia Tech's Cognition, Affect, & Psychophysiology (CAP) Laboratory.

Outreach

  • Eight CMU Psychology graduate students participated in the Psychology outreach program and joined a virtual middle school Psychology class for three weeks. Each graduate student acted as a mentor for a small group of students. 

Miscellaneous

  • Emily Keebler recently had a baby in April. Congratulations on this new addition to your family, Emily!

Graduate Awards, Grants & Prizes

Grants

  • Jeanean Naqvi's F31 grant submission was approved, which included funding for her research project on racial & ethnic differences in social support and health among individuals with Type II diabetes.
  • Chisom Obasih and Sophie Robert both obtained NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) funding.
  • Urszula Oszczapinska and Austin Luor were awarded NSF GRFP Honorable Mention.

Awards & Prizes 

  • Ven Popov (CMU Alumnus) won the Glushko Prize awarded by the Cognitive Science Society for his Ph.D. dissertation.
  • Michael Granovetter obtained a Graduate and Professional Student Government Leadership and Service Award from the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Cassie Eng and Robert Vargas obtained the Dick Hayes Departmental Service Award (see picture below).
  • Cassie Eng was awarded the Roberta Klatzky Departmental Outstanding Publication Award.
  • Cassie Eng received a CMU Graduate Student Assembly/Provost Conference Funding Award for The Biennial Society for Research in Child Development Meeting.

cassie_robert_awards.jpg

Congratulations to all the grad students for their sustained efforts and outstanding accomplishments over the past academic year! We wish you all an amazing start of the summer.

Stay tuned for the next research updates! 

January & February 2021

Awards

Cassie Eng was awarded Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences 2020-2021's Graduate Presidential Fellowship.

Paper submissions & Preprints

  • Pierre Gianferrara submitted a paper entitled "Cognitive & motor skill transfer across speeds: A video game study" to PLoS One.
  • Keela Thomson submitted a paper entitled "The (effort) elephant in the room: What is effort, anyway?" to Perspectives on Psychological Science in January.
  • Krista Bond published a preprint of her paper entitled "Dynamic decision policy reconfiguration under outcome uncertainty."
  • Stephanie Permut submitted her paper entitled "How close is too close: The effect of near-losses on subsequent risk taking" to Psychological Science.
  • Cassie Eng submitted her paper entitled "Longitudinal Investigation of Executive Function Employing Behavioral, Observational, and Neurophysiological Multimethodology" to Developmental Science.

Research progress

  • Roderick Seow has received feedback from the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition and is now addressing the reviewers' comments before resubmitting his manuscript.
  • Krista Bond has received feedback from eLife and is now addressing  the reviewers' comments before resubmitting her manuscript.
  • Patience Stevens designed and posted an online experiment to investigate how different characteristics of complex words impact the speed with which skilled readers recognize them.
  • Jeanean Naqvi has received minor revisions from Social Psychological and Personality Science for a paper entitled "Harmonious relations: Relational interdependence moderates affective reactivity to interpersonal stressors".

Talks

Cassie Eng was invited to give a talk at Stanford University's Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR). The name of the talk was "Technology-enhanced Exercise as a Context for Fostering Executive Function and Prefrontal Cortex Development".

Dissertation defenses

Anita Delahay completed her Ph.D. defense and successfully became Dr. Delahay! Thesis title: "Prior Knowledge Consistently Explains Novices’ Domain Learning, but Not the Prior Knowledge We Think: The Case for Ancillary Prior Knowledge".

Conferences

  • Michael Granovetter attended the NINDS Curing the Epilepsies meeting as a Junior Investigator Travel Award recipient.
  • Michael Granovetter presented posters at the SfN Global Connectome event and at the Innovations in Medical Education Conference.
  • Cassie Eng submitted two papers to the 43rd Cognitive Science Society Conference. The first one is an eye-tracking study on attention and comprehension in children and the second one evaluates the construct and criterion validity of a cognitive game-based assessment in the context of cognitive control.

Outreach

The outreach program has been mentoring a middle school psychology class where students design, run and interpret their own studies. The program started on March 1st and is continuing until March 18th.

Miscellaneous

Cassie Eng and Robert Vargas created and filmed a Virtual Tour of the Psychology Department to give visiting students a feel of the department and our community here at CMU.

Announcements

The 4th year cohort would like to make a special announcement for an upcoming event.

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Have you ever wanted to give a ridiculous presentation that was ALMOST scientific... but not quite? Well your time has come! Stay tuned for more about this summer’s inaugural Methodologies for Emergent Communal Hemispherectomies As a Nonparametric Identity Self-Measurement (MECHANISM) Conference*, slated to happen some time in the first two weeks of June 2021. This conference is open to any and all members of the CMU Psychology department, including staff, postdocs, graduate students, and faculty members. Presentations should be between 5 and 10 minutes, though you may be creative about the presentation format. Spread the word and start brewing your ideas! Future emails will provide additional information regarding submission procedures and deadlines.

(Though of course, please remember to be respectful and sensitive with your presentations or topics. Silly does not mean offensive!)

-Jeanean Naqvi, Krista Bond, Patience Stevens, and Phoebe Dinh MECHANISM 2021 Program Co-Chairs

* formally known as the Conscious Representational Interactionism during Nativist Goal-oriented Emergence (CRINGE) Conference

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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!