Leading Stories, Articles

July 16th, 2020

Psychologists study what inspires protestors

By Eileen Weber

The most recent Black deaths at the hands of police have fueled protests across the country. But for some psychologists, their interests lie not in what they are protesting, but why they protest in the first place. And when they protest, why does it sometimes turn violent? As we have seen from a few of the recent George Floyd protests, there has been some rioting and looting. A 2018 collaborative study between the University of South Carolina, Stanford University, and the University of Toronto, posed that question: does violent protest backfire? In it, the researchers theorized that when things become [More]

July 15th, 2020

Research on implicit bias is core of John Dovidio’s work

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Most Americans would reject being labelled racist. Yet, study after study, and incident after incident, show how deeply racism is ingrained in our society, from far higher rates of COVID-19 deaths and fatal police shootings to lower overall college graduation rates for Blacks as compared to whites in this country. At the Yale University Intergroup Relations Lab, a team of researchers led by director John Dovidio, Ph.D, the Hovland professor of psychology and public health at Yale, has been looking at the idea of implicit bias over the past several decades. Starting from the premise that everyone does have some [More]

May 8th, 2020

Researchers at UMass Amherst create device to understand schizophrenia

By Eileen Weber

What if there is a way to better understand schizophrenia just by having patients wear a device? Two researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are in the process of finding out. With the help of a $1.15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the wireless device is likely to reveal how often a patient interacts socially—how many people they talk to, how close they stand, their breathing and other movements—and that may determine whether medication is working or if other treatments are necessary. Because patients with schizophrenia tend to maintain physical distance from others because of their [More]

November 4th, 2019

Study: Young Puerto Ricans experience higher rates of depression on U.S. mainland than at home

By Eileen Weber

Puerto Ricans experience higher rates of depression and anxiety on the U.S. mainland than when at home. After nearly 20 years of research and about 2,000 people interviewed, the Boricua Youth Study discovered that fact. The study compared kids ages five to 13 as they transitioned to early adulthood from 15 to 29 under similar conditions of income and exposure to violence in both Puerto Rico and the South Bronx, a region with one of the highest Puerto Rican populations on the U.S. mainland. Research focused on four categories that influence mental health: environmental/social factors, cultural and minority stress, parent/peer [More]

October 10th, 2019

Evidence doesn’t support claim linking mental illness, mass shooters

By Janine Weisman

The evidence suggests mass shootings perpetrated by individuals with mental illness account for less than one percent of gun-related homicides. But you wouldn’t know it from President Donald Trump’s comments after a pair of mass shootings during the first weekend in August killed more than 30 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Among Trump’s widely reported quotes: “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.” “The president is poorly informed about the research on gun violence generally and mass gun violence in particular,” said Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., JD, a professor in the doctoral program in clinical [More]

May 12th, 2019

Butler Hospital research seeks to identify people in pre-clinical stage of Alzheimer’s

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Currently, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, that total is expected to increase to nearly 14 million. Between 2000 and 2017, deaths from heart disease decreased by nine percent; deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 145 percent.Butler Hospital in Rhode Island is among the institutions working to shrink those statistics. Butler has been researching dementia for 25 years. In the last several years, research at Butler Hospital Memory & Aging Program (MAP) has shifted to identifying people in the pre-clinical stage of dementia, even individuals who are at risk but haven’t developed symptoms yet, said Athene Lee, [More]

November 8th, 2018

Study gives insight into how people experience emotion

By Phyllis Hanlon

Emotions run the gamut, from sadness and grief to happiness and euphoria and many others in between. But little is known about how and why those emotions change at different times and during different stages of life. A team of researchers at Harvard University recently conducted a study to explore these questions. Leah Somerville, Ph.D, associate professor psychology, and director, Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab, oversaw the study, which involved 143 subjects between the age of five and 25. Clinical psychologist graduate student Erik Nook, the “resident expert” on this work – according to Somerville – has long been interested [More]

August 30th, 2018

Developmental trauma disorder is focus of research

By Catherine Robertson Souter

It would surprise no one that children who have been mistreated or have been subjected to another form of trauma would experience repercussions. It makes sense that trauma can result in symptoms that look like behavioral disorders, oppositional defiant disorders, anxiety, depression, or ADHD. Yet, for many children the symptoms are treated as not being related to their traumatic experiences. As part of an on-going research project, Julian D. Ford, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., professor of psychiatry and law at the University of Connecticut and director of the Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice, and colleagues Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D. and Bessel [More]

July 6th, 2018

Researcher Nicole Overstreet, Ph.D., focuses on concerns of women, marginalized groups

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Until recently, medical and psychological research was done with a “one-size-fits-all” approach – white men around the age of 35 made up the majority of research subject pools and findings were then extrapolated to apply to women, other ethnic groups, children and the elderly. Researchers began to question standard practices as concerns rose around the over-medication of children by using much larger test subject prescriptions. Also playing a role was the realization that symptoms of the same illness may differ between men and women and that certain treatment regimens work differently for different ethnic populations. There’s been a shift towards [More]

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