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College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology

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What’s behind baby’s smile?

 

Baby in a blue hoodie

Study of U.S. and Dutch infants finds cultural norms influence temperament.

Read more in the Arts & Sciences newsletter CAS Connect

Psychology News

  • WSU Tri-Cities: Future of WSU Tri-Cities includes housing, expanded educational offerings and growing world-class research

    Washington State University Tri-Cities realized an average enrollment growth of 12 percent annually throughout the last four years. As that upward trend continues, so does our expansion of on-campus housing, program development, world-class faculty and specialization in research.

    Among the many WSU Tri-Cities faculty accomplishments this year:

    Paul Strand, professor of psychology, is one of a team of WSU faculty leading the online implementation of a k-12 truancy prevention program that benefits schools statewide. WSULearning and Performance Research Center houses the online implementation of the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students.

    Peter Christenson, assistant professor of fine arts and digital technology and … » More …

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  • WSU researchers see gene influencing performance of sleep-deprived people

    Washington State University researchers have discovered a genetic variation that predicts how well people perform certain mental tasks when they are sleep-deprived.

    Their research shows that individuals with a particular variation of the DRD2 gene are resilient to the effects of sleep deprivation when completing tasks that require cognitive flexibility, the ability to make appropriate decisions based on changing information.

    “Our work shows that there are people who are resilient to the effects of sleep deprivation when it comes to cognitive flexibility. Surprisingly these same people are just as affected as everyone else on other tasks that require different cognitive abilities, such as maintaining focus,” … » More …

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  • Running marathons is hard—breaking up with your running group is harder

    Leaving a group can mirror the experience of breaking up with a partner.

    “Both involve brain regions that are also associated with physical pain,” says Dr. David Marcus, a faculty member of Washington State University’s psychology department. People experience a type of social pain when they are rejected or shunned by a group, similar to the pain experienced when a couple breaks up, whether it’s being kicked out of a high-school clique, or falling out with your family. This is compounded by the fact that a group can become part of a person’s self in much the same way as a romantic partner can, Marcus … » More …

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  • Exploding Head Syndrome

    The unusual name will certainly get your attention, but fortunately Exploding Head Syndrome is not life-threatening or physically harmful. In a recent study more than 10 percent of people experienced the syndrome, a sleep disorder in which crashing or exploding sounds make it difficult to fall and stay asleep.

    Dr. Brian Sharpless, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Washington State University and author of Sleep Paralysis, explains that instead of the auditory neurons in the brain shutting down in the process of going to sleep, they all fire at once causing the loud noises.

    Find out more

    Radio Health Journal

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  • Long-term cannabis use linked to muted stress response WSU study shows

    A new study by Washington State University psychology researchers reveals a dampened physiological response to stress in chronic cannabis users.

    Using a nationally recognized procedure designed to provoke elevated levels of stress, Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology, Ryan McLaughlin, assistant professor of integrative physiology and neuroscience, and colleagues in the WSU Department of Psychology examined levels of the stress hormone cortisol in both chronic cannabis users and non-users.

    “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effects of acute stress on salivary cortisol levels in chronic cannabis users compared to non-users,” Cuttler said.

    Find out … » More …

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