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January 23, 2014

Personal Mention

J. David Creswell has been selected to receive the 2014 Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of health psychology. The annual award from the American Psychological Association honors career scientists for contributions made in the first nine years after receiving their doctoral degree. Creswell, an  associate professor of psychology and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition in the Dietrich College, focuses on how the mind and brain influence physical health and performance. A major portion of Creswell's work examines stress, coping and intervention strategies. He has done extensive research on understanding how mindfulness meditation reduces stress and improves overall health, including how it reduces loneliness in older adults and delays disease progression in HIV-positive adults. Creswell also focuses on how self-affirmation reduces stress. Read more about Creswell.

"Ravân," an orchestral work by Professor of Composition Reza Vali, will be premiered by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7 and 8, and at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9 at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. "Ravân" will be one part of "Elements," a five-movement commission of the PSO. Each movement, composed by a Pittsburgh composer, concentrates on one element. Vali's work focuses on water. "I chose water as my element for this work because I was inspired by the wild waters of the Youghiogheny River," Vali said. Tickets can be purchased at

Thanassis Rikakis, vice provost for Design, Arts and Technology, represented Carnegie Mellon on a Transatlantic Science Forum panel at New York University's Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) last Friday (Jan. 17). Panelists and more than two-dozen thought leaders discussed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership under negotiation between the European Union and the United States. The forum was one of a series of meetings around the world that focused on the potential impact of proposed free trade measures on science collaboration and economic growth. Rikakis joined leaders from universities involved with New York City's Applied Sciences NYC initiative to discuss how similar regional efforts can foster international research collaborations. Read more.

In his latest blog post for the Huffington Post, Jay Kadane writes about domestic and foreign policy agreements between distrusting parties, such as the debate over funding the U.S. Government and the talks between Iran and the UN Security Council. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read "The Politics of Interim, Confidence Building Agreements."

New research from CMU's George Loewenstein and Georgetown University's Sunita Sah examines situations in which professional advisers have the ability to avoid conflicts of interest (COIs) — such as doctors who can decide whether to meet with and accept gifts from pharmaceutical companies. Published in Psychological Science, Loewenstein and Sah found that when COIs can be avoided, disclosure successfully deters advisers from accepting COIs so that they have nothing to disclose except the absence of conflicts. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology at CMU, and Sah is assistant professor of strategy, economics, ethics and public policy at Georgetown. Read more.