News and Events
Congratulations Geoff Woodman!
January 27, 2016—Geoff Woodman has won the 2016 Troland Award given annually by the National Academy of Sciences.http://www.nasonline.org/programs/awards/2016-nas-awards.htmlThis is the most prestigious award a young experimental psychologist can receive in our field, and when you scan the list of previous winners of the Troland award you’ll appreciate what an honor this represents. Geoff’s name adds further luster to this roster of stars. Congratulations, Geoff, on receiving this well-deserved recognition for your outstanding research accomplishments!!!
Congratulations Wenxi Xiao!
January 13, 2016—Please join the Department of Psychology in congratulating Wenxi Xiao as one of the Undergraduate Research Fair winners this year. She will receive a $50 check for her presentation. Wenxi Xiao ’16 - Psychology (Honors) Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Improves Visual Hyperacuity in Humans Advisor: Geoffrey Woodman, Psychology
Association for Psychological Science 2015 Rising Stars: Vandy Psychology Scores Big!!
January 4, 2016—Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt has three current faculty members - Joe Franklin, Sonya Sterba and Jennifer Trueblood - and one former graduate student - Josh Bucholtz - honored as Rising Stars by the Association for Psychological Science. The Rising Star designation recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions. 2015 winners were announced this week.
December 10, 2015—Doug Godwin won this year’s Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award given annually by the College of Arts and Science for "for exceptionally effective classroom and/or laboratory instruction, as determined by students he has worked with and a panel of seniors in Phi Beta Kappa.” Only one other Psychology graduate student has received this honor in the history of the award, the other being Bjorn Rump in 2004. Congratulations Doug!
Congratulations Rob Reinhart!
November 23, 2015—Rob has been selected to receive an American Psychological Foundation 2015 COGDOP Graduate Research Scholarship. As a recipient of this scholarship, he will receive $1,000. The Foundation will also publish notification of his award in the APA Monitor on Psychology and in its newsletter, Psychology Giving. The Foundation provides financial support for innovative research and programs that enhance the power of psychology to elevate the human condition and advance human potential both now and in generations to come.
November 4, 2015—Sun-Joo Cho, will be receiving the 2016 Bradley Hanson Award for Contributions to Educational Measurement from the National Council on Measurement in Education! Below is some information about the award. What a wonderful honor to be recognized in this way! Congratulations, Sun-Joo! The Bradley Hanson Award has been established to honor Bradley Hanson's contributions to the field of educational measurement and to further advance the goals embodied in his work. Applicants must describe a recently completed research project or propose a new research project that promises to make a substantive contribution to the field of educational measurement or the development, instruction or mentoring of new professionals in the field. A typical time frame for the expected completion of a proposed project is one to two years. Please see the list of previous recipients and their projects for more information. The recipient will be awarded $1,250 and a commemorative plaque from NCME, which will be presented to the recipient at the NCME Annual Meeting.
Congratulations Sonya Sterba!
October 21, 2015—Sonya K. Sterba is named the 2015 recipient of the Cattell Early Career Research Award: The Cattell Early Career Research Award is named for Raymond B. Cattell, a founder of SMEP. This award is an early-career award given annually by the Society to a young researcher who has made outstanding contributions to multivariate experimental psychology and who shows promise of continued work of a very high quality. The recipient need not be a member of SMEP. Criteria for the award are as follows: (1) outstanding contribution to multivariate experimental psychology; (2) age 40 or younger, or 10 years or less post-Ph.D.; (3) a minimum of one publication in a refereed journal. Nominations are solicited annually from members of the Society, and members then vote among the nominees to select a winner. The winner of the Cattell Early Career Research Award is invited to the annual SMEP meeting to present an address and is also given an honorarium. https://smep.org/awards/cattell
A Problem, a Method, and a Dataset: Addressing Selection Bias in Social Science Research Using Sibling Control Methods with the NLSY Data
Joe Rodgers, Department of Psychology and Human Development
Do small families create smart children, or do smart parents make small families? Do mothers smoking during pregnancy cause problem behaviors in their children, or would the children of mothers who smoke have problem behaviors anyway? Do smart teens delay age at first intercourse because of their intelligence, or do other background factors cause smart teens and delayed AFI to co-occur? Does putting a child in day care cause child problems, or are mothers who have children likely to have those problems more likely to use day care?
Challenges to internal validity, the validity of causal inference, abound in the social and behavioral science literature especially in quasi-experimental design settings. Tenuous causal directionality is often confidently asserted by methodologically sophisticated researchers, and in many cases without apparent awareness of the threats to validity that exist. Perhaps the most pernicious process contributing to this problem is the challenge of selection bias.
Methods to handle selection bias in quasi-experimental research settings are in their ascendancy, and include using covariates, instrumental variable approaches, and propensity score methods. In this presentation, I'll discuss a powerful design methodology that can be used to help address selection bias, the discordant sibling design. A data source with flexible longitudinal, within-family, and cross-generational data patterns is the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which has three separate data sources the original NLSY79 sample, the NLSY-Children/Young Adult Sample, and the NLSY97 replication sample.
Using maternal sibling pairs from the NLSY79 sample, and their biological offspring from the NLSY-C/YA sample, we can control for most background sources of unobserved heterogeneity. I describe the dataset, and the design, and then describe findings from a number of published and ongoing studies using this methodology to address selection bias (and other threats to internal validity). To anticipate several findings, suggested above: Small families do not create smart children, and smart parents do make small families. Maternal smoking does not cause problem behaviors in children. Intelligence is not what causes smart teens to delay first intercourse. And putting a child in day care does not have a causal influence on problem behaviors.
Duje Tadin Ph.D., Brain & Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester
Wilson Hall, Room 316
Visual processing as a window into mechanisms of schizophrenia, autism and cognitive aging
There is growing evidence that visual processing is atypical in a number of special populations, including schizophrenia, autism and cognitive aging (both in healthy aging and in MCI). This is significant because a broad impairment of the brain’s main input processes (i.e., our sensory systems) will have cascading consequences on other brain functions.
I will cover a series of studies that demonstrate such abnormalities, including cases of better-than-normal performance. The emphasis will be on insights into underlying mechanisms and possible interventions.
Geoff Woodman, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University
12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall, Room 112
Eric Wilkey, Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt University
12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall 316
Neuroanatomical Correlates of Math Competence
Mathematical and numerical competence is a critical foundation for individual success in modern society, yet the neurobiological sources of individual differences in math competence are poorly understood. Previous studies investigating the neuroanatomical correlates of math competence have focused on differences between typically developing populations and those with math learning disabilities. I will present two recent experiments from the lab that investigate differences in regional grey matter volume associated with individual differences in math competence in typically developing children using both standardized math measures and scores from the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP).
Timothy J Hohman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology, Vanderbilt memory & Alzheimer's Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall 316
“Beyond Neuropathology: Defining Resilience to Alzheimer’s Disease”
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neurodegeneration. However, certain individuals are able to endure all the neuropathological features of Alzheimer’s disease without showing marked cognitive impairment. This talk will provide an overview of this phenomenon called asymptomatic Alzheimer’s disease. I will then demonstrate how neuroimaging, fluid biomarkers, and neuropsychological testing can be used to identify and track asymptomatic individuals in vivo. Finally, I will describe ongoing efforts to characterize the genomic and proteomic drivers of resilience as potential targets for future clinical intervention.
Isabel Gauthier, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University
12:10 p.m. Wilson Hall, Room 112