Highlighted Faculty

2014

Thousands of Mackinnon Citings | With over 24,000 citations to his name and almost 16,000 in the past five years, it’s no wonder that Psychology Professor Dave Mackinnon is one of Thomson Reuters most highly cited researchers in 2014 worldwide. As defined by Thomson Reuters, ‘Highly Cited Papers’ are those that rank in the top 1% by citations indexed in the Web of Science for field and year as derived from Essential Science Indicators (ESI) data. Within an ESI-defined field, Highly Cited Papers were judged to be influential; thus, multiple top 1% papers are viewed as a mark of exceptional impact. One of Dr. Mackinnon’s influential contributions to science has been his work on the importance of mediating variables - the extent to which a variable intervenes between an independent and a dependent variable. “Mediation analysis," says Mackinnon, "has the capability of improving treatment and prevention programs and can also improve existing social programs so that they may have greater effects and even cost less. For example, mediation analysis can be used to assess whether a program reduced cigarette smoking by increased social support for quitting tobacco use." Dave Mackinnon is one of three scientists from ASU to have made the Highly Cited Researchers 2014 list including Michael O'Keeffe ( Chemistry) and Sudhir Kumar (Computer Science). For more information about Dr. Mackinnon’s work on mediation analysis, visit his lab’s website or check out his book, Introduction to Statistical Mediation Analysis (posted 7/6/14).

In Memoriam: Roger Millsap (1954 - 2014) |  The Department of Psychology is saddened by the sudden death of Roger Millsap on May 7, 2014. Roger was a renowned member of the quantitative research methods program and also served as the head of the methodology core at the Prevention Research Center (PRC). He taught graduate courses in psychometric methods, item response theory, and structural equation modeling and undergraduate courses in introductory and advanced statistics. He served as the mentor to outstanding graduate students, past and present.

Roger grew up in Washington State and received his BS degree from the University of Washington. During summers he worked as a forest fire fighter (“smokejumper”). He pursued his graduate education at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving his MS in Statistics, and PhD in Statistics and Quantitative Psychology under the guidance of legendary quantitative psychologist William Meredith

Following his graduation, Roger accepted his first academic position as an assistant professor in Industrial/Organizational program at the City University of New York, Baruch College. He was on the faculty at Baruch College from 1984-1997, achieving the rank of full professor. At a group dinner in Manhattan, Professor Leona Aiken mentioned that the new fledgling Quantitative Research Methods Program at ASU had just been given a new senior position. Roger’s wife Michele said she would happily leave the dinner to fetch Roger’s CV from their Brooklyn apartment. Although Roger was a full professor and the Psychology Department was only allowed to fill the position at the associate professor level, Roger applied and ASU hired him. Roger now had quantitative colleagues in both the Psychology and Educational Psychology Departments. He once again quickly achieved the rank of full professor. He helped contribute in important ways to the development of the Quantitative Research Methods program, helping it achieve its status as one of the top quantitative psychology programs in the world. Roger is best known for a series of key papers over the years in which he significantly advanced our understanding of measurement invariance, the degree to which a questionnaire measure actually assesses the same constructs in different groups (e.g., gender, age, ethnic).  Roger became the world authority on this fundamental topic in measurement, culminating in the publication of his outstanding 2011 textbook “Statistical Approaches to Measurement Invariance.” In the preface to his book, Roger hopes that his late mentor Bill Meredith would have approved of his book. There is no doubt Meredith would have been proud.

Roger also served and shaped the field of quantitative psychology through his editorships. He was the past editor of Multivariate Behavioral Research, a leading journal in quantitative psychology, and the current editor of Psychometrika, the leading technical statistical journal in psychology. He also served as president of three different major quantitative societies: Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics) of the American Psychological Association; the Society for Mulivariate Experimental Psychology; the Psychometric Society. Roger was a modest man-he did not list his many awards on his curriculum vitae. Among his known awards were three Tanaka awards for the best article of the year in Multivariate Behavioral Research, a Cattell award for early career contributions to quantitative research methods, and the Eber award for service to the Society for Multivariate Behavioral Psychology.

In New York City, Roger and his wife Michele could not start the family of which they dreamed because of the high cost of living but in Tempe, they could afford a nice five bedroom house only 15 minutes from campus; it was soon filled with four lovely children: Mason, Laura, Simone, and Aiden. Roger loved being a father, traveling, and spending time with his beautiful family. He also had a passion for photography and spending time outdoors. He was a voracious reader who was knowledgeable about many topics. Roger was the rare academic who neatly balanced great professional contributions, great teaching, great mentoring of our next generation, great service to the field, and a great family life.

Roger was a serious student of Asian religion and philosophy, particularly Zen Buddhism. From early in his adult life he meditated twice a day. This practice contributed to his truly calm demeanor and his peace with himself, with his work, with his rich international cadre of colleagues and collaborators, and with those whom he loved. At this time of our mourning of his loss, the words of an ancient Asian poet come to mind:

“When I am silent, I fall into that place where everything is music”-Rumi

(by Professor Stephen West; posted June 11, 2014)

An Experimental Psychologist Goes to the Dogs | According to Professor Clive Wynne, a human’s “best friend” – the family dog – is also one of our most intriguing riddles: do dogs really understand us as well as we think they do? Dr. Wynne’s research has included several straightforward studies with dogs and hand-reared wolves that have led to a novel understanding of these ubiquitous animals. Not only has his research affirmed that the typical pet dog is responsive to their owner's actions and intentions but perhaps more surprisingly, wolves can be just as sensitive if they are carefully hand-reared. For more information about Dr. Wynne and his work, visit his lab’s website or attend his lecture at the May 2 Scientific Research Society Spring Banquet. To volunteer your dog for a research project, click here (posted 4/30/14).

Sources of Bias |  Why do we so readily view others as being male or female, young or old, rich or poor, Black, White, or Asian?  Why are our feelings toward some groups characterized by fear, others by disgust, and yet others by anger, sympathy, or even admiration or desire?  Foundation Professor Steven Neuberg and his students are showing that the roots of many stereotypes, prejudices, and stigmas likely lie deep in our evolved minds—that we use features like sex, age, wealth, ethnicity/race, sexual orientation, and weight as (imperfect) cues to assess the possible opportunities and threats others pose and to help us better manage our social interactions with them.  “If we more clearly understand the sources of our biases,” Neuberg says, “we will be better able to counter them.” You can read more about this award-winning work and about Neuberg’s research on global conflict and motivated cognition by visiting his lab website or at the Evolutionary Social Cognition Lab (posted 3/25/14).

Getting your Brain out of Joint | New to ASU this year, Dr. Madeline Meier uses novel technologies to examine whether adolescent cannabis users show poorer performance on neuropsychological tests and whether they show evidence of impaired cerebrovascular functioning. Her recent study published in PNAS addresses the health effects of persistent marijuana usage when users start during adolescence. Not only did these users experience greater cognitive decline as they aged but stopping marijuana use did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning. To learn more about Dr. Meier’s work, visit her lab’s website. (posted 2/27/14).

The Costs of Wealth | Clinical psychology professor Suniya Luthar studies resilience and vulnerability in the face of adversities, and her recent work has focused on the costs of resolute upward mobility.   She has studied youth groomed from an early age to get into the most selective colleges (and ultimately, the best-paying jobs).  The intense pursuit of the best SAT scores, high GPAs, and distinctions in extra-curricular activities tend to have two “fallouts”:  On the one hand is intense partying, with beer pong, Molly, and weed, and on the other hand is high anxiety, depression, and self-harm.  Through her ongoing research, Luthar aims to minimize pressures on these youth and maximize their healthy development and well-being.  For more information about Dr. Luthar’s work please visit her lab (posted 2/8/14).

2013

A New Zoo Tool |  Developmental psychologist Doug Granger and the Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research (IISBR) recently launched a collaborative partnership with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research to study how changes in an animal's environment can affect behavior, stress levels, and health. Their innovative application of salivary bioscience will help zoos maximize an animal’s well-being by making better decisions about changing an animal’s environment.  Read more (posted 12/19/13).

Healthy Aging  |   Dr. Frank J. Infurna is a human development psychologist whose research focuses on psychosocial factors; job characteristics that predict outcomes of healthy aging; and how health events and life transitions influence changes in well-being and cognition. New to ASU this Fall, we welcome Dr. Infurna to Psychology! (posted 11/18/13).

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Virtual Virtuoso | ASU Psychology faculty member Dr. Armando Pina shows his commitment to undergraduate teaching by collaborating with Pearson Education in the development and promotion of Virtual Case Studies. This state of the art simulation will enhance teaching and learning of Abnormal Psychology nationwide. The simulation draws on empirically supported risk and protective factors known to affect disorder development. By selecting scenarios and response choices students are able to influence disorder progression or reversal along a continuum of mental health and illness. Virtual Case Studies was launched Fall of 2013. For more information on Dr. Pina's work, please visit his lab, Child and Family Intervention Program (posted 10/27/13).

Body of Work | Preventing eating disorders and obesity in college women has been a long-time research interest of Associate Professor Marisol Perez, one of Psychology’s newest clinical faculty members. Dr. Perez is bringing a nationally-respected program to campus called Body Project which was developed with, by, and for undergraduate women. She is currently recruiting students to participate in this peer-led program and can be contacted by email.  For more information please visit her Eating Pathology Lab or read here (posted 10/9/13).

Smarter than the Average Bear (or Ape)? |  Are humans born biased? Are we hypocrites by nature? Do politicans and marketing experts take advantage of these tendencies? In their newly released book, "The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made Us Smarter Than We Think," social psychologist Douglas Kenrick and U of Minn marketing professor [and ASU psychology alum] Vladas Griskevicius argue that human decision-making is based on a set of evolved biases that helped our ancestors survive and continue to influence our choices in the modern world.  For more details on Dr. Kenrick’s work, watch this video or visit his Evolutionary Social Cognition Lab. Read more about Doug Kenrick in ASU News [now] by Sharon Keeler (posted 9/23/13).

Teaching Science through Sports | Combining Cognitive Science and Psychology with Engineering, Professor Mike McBeath’s panel at the Sept 4th Arizona Scitech Festival discussed how skateboarding kids at Chandler’s Snedigar Park are better at predicting velocity and understanding kinetic energy than college students. According to Dr. McBeath, “when you participate, you have embodied knowledge of what’s going on.”  Well-known for his experiments in baseball and other sports, Dr. McBeath will also be giving a talk at AZ Science Center on September 19, 6:00-7:00 pm. For additional information on Dr. McBeath’s work,

Wanderful Work | Professor Steve Goldinger and his students study a broad array of topics in Cognitive Science.  In the Memory and Language Lab they conduct research on spoken and visual word recognition, memory for faces, reading, and visual attention.  In recent years, the lab has focused great effort on using eye-tracking to better understand the rapidly changing processes that occur when people study faces, look for objects, or try to remember information.  For example, when people experience success in memory (such as finding an object for which they were searching, there is a brief expansion of their pupils, which may reflect a reward system in the brain.  Starting in Spring, 2014, Dr. Goldinger will be taking his research in a new direction:  In a new, 5-year NIH grant, Dr. Goldinger will be leading a team of researchers from Louisiana State University, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Southampton (England) to study differences in mind-wandering between monolinguals and bilinguals.  An interesting quirk of the human mind is, although we initially have to concentrate when attaining skills (such as driving a car), once we are proficient, those same skills rarely hold our attention.  While driving, people typically listen to music, carry on conversations, etc. -- it is very hard to actually focus ON driving for more than a few minutes at a time.  This new research tests the theory that bilinguals have a cognitive benefit of reduced mind-wandering, as a side-effect of their brains constantly working to select one language at a time (posted 8/24/13).

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Studying Social Drinking |  Professor William Corbin and his research team in the Behavioral Alcohol Research for Clinical Advancement (BARCA) Lab study genetic/biological, environmental, and intrapersonal factors that contribute to risk for alcohol-related problems and utilize the resulting knowledge to inform the development of novel prevention and early intervention programs. A key component of the work being conducted in the BARCA Lab involves the study of individual differences in response to alcohol consumption. Professor Corbin recently received a five-year grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to study the impact of the drinking context on subjective experiences of alcohol effects. Prominent models of alcoholism risk suggest that changes in the experience of alcohol effects and motivation for use signal the transition from social drinking to problem drinking. Dr. Corbin believes that the drinking context may plan an important role in this transition. His new study will examine how alcohol responses in different contexts relate to risk for long-term problems with alcohol (posted 8/6/13).

Gene-Environment Interplay  |  Professor Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant and her team at the ASU Child Emotion Center study how genes and environments work together to influence risk and resilience processes across development. As part of the longitudinal Arizona Twin Project, parents of over 250 pairs of 5-year-old twins are currently being interviewed concerning their predictions on how their twins will do transitioning to kindergarten.  Findings recently published in Development and Psychopathology underscore the importance of gene-environment correlation for children’s temperament. In this study, parents’ genotypes influenced both their children’s temperament and levels of chaos in the home environment plus genetics mediated the association between home chaos and children’s temperament. This research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (posted 6/25/13).

Team Coordination  |   Successful teamwork requires that individuals coordinate their actions fluidly to work together as a single, cohesive unit. Dr. Nia Amazeen recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study multi-frequency team coordination with her colleague, Dr. Jamie Gorman, who is at Texas Tech University. Their work is multidisciplinary--integrating concepts from math and physics with perceptual, cognitive, and social psychology to understand how teams behave in both laboratory and real-world settings. For more information, visit the Dynamics of Perception, Action, and Cognition Lab (posted 6/12/13).

Alien Embodiment  |  Dr. Mina Johnson-Glenberg directs the Embodied Games for Learning (EGL) lab where her team explores learning in multiple environments and creates learning games that are embodied (gestures are congruent to task to be learned) and collaborative (learners work together).  She has recently won ASU’s Obesity Challenge Grant Award to create an exercise-nutrition game called "Alien Health." Team members include Ken Koontz, Caroline Savio-Ramos, Hue Henry, and Kennya Rodriguez, Honors Psych undergrad (posted 5/29/13).

Manifest Destiny: Go West  |  This past spring, the Department of Psychology was honored to have Dr. Stephen G. West present his 2012 Sells lecture that he had originally given in receipt of the Saul B. Sells Award for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in Multivariate Experimental Psychology.  Dr. West has received numerous prestigious awards during his career at ASU and has been a primary contributor in making the department’s Quantitative Methods program become number one in the country.  Read More (posted 5/13/13).

Crnic and Saenz Receive CSW Award  |  ASU’s Commission on the Status of Women (www.asu.edu/csw) honored two of Psychology’s faculty for their “fantastic acheivements and contributions...towards improving the status of women and other under-represented groups.”  Keith Crnic (Department Chair and Professor) and Delia Saenz (Associate Professor former Vice Provost of Institutional Inclusion) received the CSW 2013 Outstanding Acheivement & Contribution Award at the program’s 10 April reception (posted 4/23/13).

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Pigeons with a Message  |  Dr. Federico Sanabria conducts research on basic behavioral and cognitive processes in rats, pigeons, and humans. These processes include learning, timing, choosing, and regulating behavior. He is particularly interested in using his research to inform our understanding of psychiatric disorders such as ADHD and substance abuse. For more information about Dr. Sanabria's work, please visit his lab's website, Basic Behavioral Processes Lab (posted 4/08/13).

Emotions, Stress, and Transitions  |  Dr. Leah Doane investigates the everyday lives of adolescents and young adults by exploring the mechanisms through which daily emotions or experiences can affect our bodies and our stress physiology. She is especially interested in understanding adolescent and young adult well-being in times of transition such as the transition to college.  For more information about Dr. Doane's work, please visit her lab's website: Adolescent Stress & Emotion Lab or read the Spring 2013 issue of CLAS Magazine (p.2). (Posted 3/26/13).

Jumping for Joy  |  Dr. Michelle "Lani" Shiota conducts research on human emotion and how emotions can affect our bodies, our interactions with others, and how we think. She is especially interested in positive emotions and investigates the different functions that positive emotions can serve and the roles they can play in emotion regulation. For more information about Dr. Shiota's research please visit her lab’s website, SPLAT (posted 3/06/13).

Wrapping His Head Around It  |  Dr. Gene Brewer studies human memory and individual differences using experimental, computational modeling, and neuroimaging techniques.  His primary research focus is exploring how individuals control their memory to fulfill behaviors in the future.  For more information about Dr. Brewer's work please visit his Memory and Attention Control Research Lab (posted 2/27/13).

Adam Cohen Receives International Godin Prize  |  Based on his highly innovative and important contributions to the scientific study of the psychology of religion, social psychologist Adam Cohen has been selected by an international jury to receive the honorary and prestigious Godin Prize. For more information about the Godin Prize and the International Association for the Psychology of Religion please visit http://psychology-of-religion.com/awards/ (posted January, 2013).

Steve Neuberg Named Outstanding Doctoral Mentor  |  Known for his mentoring style of "disciplined play," quality scholarship, and sense of humor, social psychologist Steve Neuberg is one of two ASU faculty named Outstanding Doctoral Mentor in 2012.  For more information please visit http://psychology.clas.asu.edu/neuberg and the Evolutionary Social Cognition Lab at http://psychology.clas.asu.edu/kenrickneuberg (posted January, 2013).

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