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Using game technology to help adolescents on the autism spectrum

Oct 26, 2021

People on the autism spectrum often struggle to interpret facial cues, partially because they are unable to recognize how eye gaze direction is used to predict the actions and intentions of others. This can have huge implications for understanding behavior, language learning, and social interaction…

Penn State receives a five-year, nearly $6 million grant to study factors promoting early childhood development

Oct 18, 2021

The effects of genetics, home environment, and prenatal substance use on child health and brain development are largely unknown, even though pregnancy and early childhood are incredibly important periods of growth. To address this knowledge gap, Penn State was recently awarded a five-year, $5.8…

Pérez-Edgar named editor-in-chief of psychology journal

Sep 23, 2021

Koraly Pérez-Edgar, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies, professor of psychology, and associate director of the Social Science Research Institute, was recently named editor-in-chief of Developmental Psychology, one of the flagship journals of the American Psychological Association. Her new role…

Increasing linguistic diversity to advance human-technology interaction

Sep 22, 2021

People are becoming increasingly dependent on human technologies such as smart voice assistants and computer-based tutoring for access to governmental, community, health, and educational services. However, the technology is largely based on standard American English and conflicts with the diversity…

People often avoid feeling compassion for others, feel it's a lot of effort

Sep 1, 2021

Compassion helps us relate to and feel sympathy for others as they experience hardships, but a new study suggests some people may actively avoid feeling compassion when given the choice. In a series of studies, the researchers found that when given the option, people often chose to avoid feeling…

The impacts of children's emotions and behavior on parenting

Jun 2, 2021

While both inherited traits and environmental influences affect parent-child interactions, not much is known about how child behavior impacts parenting and, in turn, later child outcomes. Elizabeth Shewark, a former Penn State doctoral student in developmental psychology and current postdoctoral…

Pérez-Edgar named recipient of 2021 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award

Apr 23, 2021

SSRI Associate Director and cofunded faculty member Koraly Pérez-Edgar, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies and professor of psychology in the College of the Liberal Arts, has received Penn State's 2021 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award. The award, established in 1992 by The Graduate School, is…

Buss recognized with 2021 President's Award for academic integration

Apr 22, 2021

Kristin Buss, Tracy Winfree and Ted H. McCourtney Professor in Children, Work, and Families, Professor of Psychology; professor of human development and family studies; and head of the psychology department in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts; has been awarded Penn State's 2021 President’s…

Penn State faculty offer tips on avoiding burnout amid pandemic

Apr 7, 2021

As employees and students of Penn State face the uncertain circumstances of the pandemic, University faculty offer advice on how to avoid burnout or, if you are already feeling sapped of energy and interest -- how to recover. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is an occupational…

Graduate student overcomes barriers to receive NIH award

Jan 15, 2021

Most people may not think it takes resilience to become a scientist, but a graduate student at Penn State says otherwise. Despite various barriers, Berenice Anaya, a psychology doctoral student at Penn State, has been awarded the F99/K00 - NIH Blueprint D-SPAN Award, an NIH blueprint specialized…
News Topics: Psychology

Impacts of the pandemic teen anxiety

Jan 3, 2021

The anxiety, isolation, and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented emotional challenge. Adolescence is a period of drastic emotional, social, and cognitive development, making this age group particularly vulnerable to the short- and long-term impact of the…
News Topics: COVID-19Psychology

Preschool program linked with better social and emotional skills years later

Dec 11, 2020

A preschool enrichment program developed at Penn State helps boost social and emotional skills that still have positive effects years later during middle and high school, according to a new study. The researchers found that students attending Head Start preschools that implemented the Research-…

Parental stress biology and mental health symptoms affect young children

Dec 8, 2020

Parental depression and anxiety can have profound effects on children. For the first time, Penn State researchers demonstrated that stress biology relates to depressive and anxiety symptoms differently for mothers versus fathers, and that parents’ profiles of stress biology and symptoms can predict…

COVID-19 and the potential costs of social isolation

Nov 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues across the globe and in the United States. Currently, science and medicine offer clear methods on how to reduce the risk of transmission — including social distancing. Yet this behavior comes with a potential cost of reduced social connections and research has shown…
News Topics: COVID-19Psychology

Berenbaum receives Pavouček Shields Faculty Award

Nov 10, 2020

Sheri Berenbaum, SSRI associate director and professor of psychology and pediatrics, is the recipient of the 2020 Pavouček Shields Faculty Award. This award recognizes tenured faculty who have undertaken professionally oriented service and mentoring on behalf of women at the university. Dr.…
News Topics: Psychology

People with autism may have large deficits in facial recognition

Oct 29, 2020

The ability to recognize faces varies greatly, but individuals with autism spectrum disorders can especially struggle, having huge implications for social interaction. Penn State researchers, for the first time, recently analyzed 40 years of autism data to determine deficits in face recognition.…
News Topics: PsychologyAutism

Parent behaviors supporting children's independence vary by family risk

Oct 28, 2020

Parental responses that support children’s independence are less common in families facing more risk factors. This may be true regardless of whether parents are responding to children’s on- or off-task behavior, according to Penn State researchers. According to Catherine Diercks, doctoral candidate…

Pérez-Edgar named SSRI associate director

Aug 19, 2020

Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) recently named Koraly Pérez-Edgar, McCourtney Professor of child studies and professor of psychology, as an associate director of the institute. Pérez-Edgar, a developmental neuroscientist whose research focuses on child temperament and…

Emotion expression database new resource for researchers

Mar 2, 2020

The ability to understand facial expressions is an important part of social communication. However, little is known about how complex facial expression signal emotions related to social behavior and inner thoughts. To answer these questions, Penn State researchers developed the Complex Emotion…
News Topics: PsychologyEmotion

Speakers for 2020 'Expanding Empathy' lecture series announced

Feb 27, 2020

After an engaging and successful inaugural run last academic year, the Rock Ethics Institute’s (REI) “Expanding Empathy” lecture series schedule has been set for spring 2020, with the first lecture to be presented March 5. The lectures are hosted through the REI’s Moral Agency and Moral Development…

Penn State tops NSF Rankings for Breadth of Research Expertise

Feb 18, 2020

The breadth of Penn State’s research expertise surpasses that of any university in the country, according to the latest National Science Foundation rankings of Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) research expenditures by key fields and subfields, released in November 2019. The rankings…

Why Social Science? - Because Collaborating Across Cultures and Beyond Boundaries Leads to Progress on the World’s Biggest Issues

Dec 18, 2019

By Amanda B. Clinton, Ph.D., Senior Director, Office of International Affairs, American Psychological Associations This post originally appeared on August 26, 2019 as “Time to Change the World” in the in the American Psychological Association’s Global Insights Newsletter and is reproduced here…

All the feels: Feeling loved in everyday life linked with improved well-being

Nov 26, 2019

Poets and songwriters may tend to focus their artistry on passion and romance, but it may be those unsung, brief feelings of love throughout the day that are connected with psychological well-being, according to a team of researchers led by two Penn State Institute for Computational and Data…

Equipping military kids with the tools they need to succeed

Nov 5, 2019

Teachers, school psychologists and counselors are frequently called upon to provide emotional support for students so they can achieve positive behavioral and academic outcomes. A new Penn State-led, five-year project will provide additional support for children of military families, who can be at…

2019 Bennett Lecture discusses how mindfulness can help treat people living with addiction

Oct 27, 2019

Mindfulness was the topic at hand for this year’s Bennett Lecture in Prevention Science, held on Oct. 15 in 110 Henderson Building. The Bennett Lecture is an annual fall eventhosted by the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. This year’s speaker, Katie Witkiewitz, professor of psychology…