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College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology


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

  • Study: Officer Fatigue Raises Likelihood of Citizen Complaints

    Fatigue and sleepiness on the job significantly raise the odds of officers drawing citizen complaints during their shift, according to a newly published study by a team of sleep specialists.

    Their first-of-its-kind analysis finds that public complaints are roughly seven times more likely to occur on shifts with a traditionally high probability of officer tiredness—primarily, night shifts.

    The study was led by Samantha Riedy, a PhD candidate in experimental psychology and a graduate research assistant at the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University (WSU). Joining her were Dr. Drew Dawson, a prominent sleep investigator with Central Queensland University in Australia, and WSU’s Dr. … » More …

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  • Foley Fellows: Faculty to share research across the state

    Five Washington State University faculty will be speaking around the state about their research in a new partnership of the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service and Humanities Washington, a nonprofit that aims to foster thoughtful conversation and critical thinking.

    For the next two years, WSU’s “Foley Fellows” will be among more than 30 speakers that provide free public presentations on science, politics, music, philosophy, spiritual traditions, and more in dozens of communities throughout Washington.

    The collaboration is the brainchild of Cornell Clayton, director of the Foley Institute and himself a former member of the Humanities Washington speakers bureau.

    “It just … » More …

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  • How different cultures shape children’s personalities in different ways

    By Samuel Putnam and Masha A. Gartstein, WSU professor of psychology

    As early as the fifth century B.C., the Greek historian Thucydides contrasted the self-control and stoicism of Spartans with the more indulgent and freethinking citizens of Athens.

    Today, unique behaviors and characteristics seem ingrained in certain cultures.

    Italians wildly gesticulate when they talk. Dutch children are notably easygoing and less fussy. Russians rarely smile in public.

    As developmental psychologists, we’re fascinated by these differences, how they take shape and how they get passed along from one generation to the next.

    Our work explores the way a … » More …

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  • WSU smart home tests first elder care robot

    A robot created by Washington State University scientists could help elderly people with dementia and other limitations live independently in their own homes.

    The Robot Activity Support System uses sensors embedded in a WSU smart home to determine where its residents are, what they are doing, and when they need assistance with daily activities.

    It navigates through rooms and around obstacles to find people on its own, provides video instructions on how to do simple tasks, and can even lead its owner to objects like their medication or a snack in the kitchen.

    For the last decade, Diane Cook, Regents professor of electrical engineering and … » More …

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  • WSU in search of cannabis study subjects

    While many people would agree that it’s bad to smoke tobacco while pregnant, there are mixed perceptions about using cannabis.

    Washington State University researchers are trying to figure out why, along with studying other cannabis-related issues.

    Dr. Maria Gartstein leads the Infant Temperament lab at WSU and is co-leading two studies into marijuana use. One study will examine the thoughts and beliefs about risks or benefits of cannabis use during pregnancy and soon after giving birth. Participants will take part in an hour-long interview as part of that study.

    Find out more


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