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Faculty members Thomas Newpher and Minna Ng were selected the winners of  the best poster award at the 20th annual meeting of the Team-Based Learning Collaborative. Their poster abstract was titled: Class Size and Student Performance in Team-Based Learning.  Team-Based Learning (TBL) is a popular form of small-group collaborative learning. In TBL, students work together in permanent teams throughout the course term, and are motivated to learn through the use of… read more about Faculty members Minna Ng and Thomas Newpher win best poster award at 2021 TBLC conference »

by Sarah E. Gaither As a biracial person in an interracial marriage, I recognized so much of myself while watching Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah. I like to think that I have something of a cosmic connection to Meghan Markle, the former actor who married Prince Harry, of the British royal family. I too am a biracial Black-white woman who married a white man. My first child is also named Archie (well, mine is a pit bull mix, but still a coincidence), and I also sit here pregnant (expecting… read more about Many Interracial Couples Know Exactly What Meghan Markle Went Through »

The Office for Faculty Advancement has awarded seed grants to 14 faculty-led projects exploring new ideas and expanding existing initiatives to promote an equitable and inclusive academic environment at Duke. The theme for this cycle was "Confronting Racism and Bias: Fostering an Inclusive Community." Faculty Advancement Seed Grants provide a financial head start for novel faculty development initiatives within academic units. 2021-22 Faculty Advancement Seed Grants Art, Art History and Visual Studies Anti-Racist Pedagogy… read more about Seed Grants Help Faculty Lead the Way in Confronting Racism and Bias »

The Neuroscience Majors' Union (NMU) recently hosted its first art competition. Duke students were asked to submit artwork that expresses an idea, interest in, or an inspiration related to neuroscience. Three winners were selected and awarded prizes. The NMU website has archived all the works from the 2020-2021 Art Contest. See entries here. read more about Neuroscience Majors' Union Hosts Art Competition »

DURHAM, N.C. – People grow old at different rates, regardless of what the calendar says. And for those whose bodies age more quickly, the cumulative effects show up as early as midlife, when signs of dementia and physical frailty begin to emerge, according to a study led by Duke researchers. The findings, appearing Monday in the journal Nature Aging, suggest that identifying and treating the diseases of old age should begin by the time people celebrate their 45th birthday, before the problems escalate, degrade quality of… read more about Frailties of Old Age Just Hit Some People Earlier Than Others »

DURHAM, N.C. – For decades, psychologists’ study of emotional health and well-being has involved contrived laboratory experiments and self-report questionnaires to understand the emotional experiences and strategies study participants use to manage stress. But those hundreds of studies may have taken for granted a pretty big complicating factor, argues a new study from Duke University and Dartmouth College. The study, which appears March 12 in PLOS One, says the background level of anxiety a person normally experiences… read more about Lab Studies Of Emotion and Well-Being May Be Missing Real-World Anxiety  »

It is with great enthusiasm that the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience welcomes Tamar Kushnir, PhD as a new member of its faculty. In a message to the community, department chair Scott Huettell stated: "Dr. Kushnir is a leading scholar of cognitive development whose work has sparked fundamental insights in causal learning, statistical sampling, prosocial behavior, and many other topics. She is an also an accomplished mentor and an enthusiastic teacher – someone whose impact will be broadly felt… read more about Department welcomes new faculty member Tamar Kushnir »

The following interview is reprinted from Duke Business Oriented Women’s Alumni Spotlight series. Janvi Shah is a first-year student at Harvard Business School in Cambridge, MA. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she moved across the country to Duke, graduating in 2015 with a major in Neuroscience and minors in both Computer Science and Finance. At Duke, she was the Program Director for FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science) and founded StartupConnect, Duke’s first startup-… read more about Q&A with Janvi Shah ‘15, MBA Candidate, Harvard Business School »

The Duke University Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is pleased to announce that senior Nathan Liang (Psychology major, Philosophy minor) is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Jerome S. Bruner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.  Liang’s research focuses on moral psychology. He is interested in, “understanding how we think about actions and beliefs as right and wrong especially in relation to deep-seated religious and political beliefs.” Liang utilized our Undergraduate Research Grants, made possible by… read more about Senior Nathan Liang Receives 2020-2021 Jerome S. Bruner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research »

Members of the Yin Lab including supervisor Dr. Henry Yin, former post-doctoral associate Dr. Glenn Watson, and current Ph.D. candidate in the Systems and Integrative Neuroscience program Ryan Hughes, have discovered a new functional pathway in the brain going from the parafascicular nucleus of the thalamus to the subthalamic nucleus, naming it the ‘super-direct’ pathway. In a recently published paper in AAAS, the team found that by selectively stimulating this pathway, movement and natural behavior were restored in… read more about Yin Lab discovers new ‘super-direct’ functional pathway in the brain »

DURHAM, N.C. -- A new pair of studies from a Duke research team’s long-term work in New Zealand make the case that mental health struggles in early life can lead to poorer physical health and advanced aging in adulthood. But because mental health problems peak early in life and can be identified, the researchers say that more investment in prompt mental health care could be used to prevent later diseases and lower societal healthcare costs. “The same people who experience psychiatric conditions when they are young go on to… read more about Growing Evidence That Mentally Ill Youths Become Less Healthy Adults »

Professor Kevin LaBar has accepted the invitation to serve as Associate Chair of the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2021. He will serve alongside Professor Elizabeth Marsh who will concurrently begin her term as Department Chair. In a letter to colleagues, Dean Ashby shared: "We are grateful to Kevin for agreeing to take on this leadership role." Dr. LaBar comes to the role of associate chair having served as the Associate Director of the Center for… read more about Kevin LaBar to serve as Associate Chair of the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience »

Professor Terrie Moffitt has been named the next chair of the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Services (BBCSS).  When Moffitt agreed to take on the role of BBCSS chair, a three-year term commitment, she thought it was a  great opportunity to learn something new. "What an underestimate," she now reflects, having served in the role since early January 2021. "I’m learning alright! [BBCSS] Board members work together on neuroscience, vision, auditory cognition, decision-making, infant development,… read more about Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Services (BBCSS) welcomes Terrie Moffitt as new chair »

The Graduate School has announced eight recipients for the 2021 Dean’s Awards, recognizing outstanding efforts in mentoring and teaching. The recipients will be honored at a virtual ceremony on March 31. More details about each recipient will be posted closer to the event. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Each faculty award winner receives a $3,000 prize, while each student recipient gets $2,000. Faculty Makeba Wilbourn, Associate Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience Marcos A. Rangel,… read more about 8 Graduate Students, Faculty Receive 2021 Dean’s Awards »

When you run scientific studies that include infants, something will always go wrong. Families will be late or sick. The babies won’t behave. Or maybe, as happened at the Wilbourn Infant Laboratory at Duke (WILD), you’ll have to make a last-minute run to the store to buy a big pack of toothbrushes. In an interactive study, 20-month-old infants played with a variety of objects—things like a fake cookie and a toy apple, all of which the researchers had ensured were safe for infants. “We had it down,” said … read more about Wilbourn Lab (WILD) prioritizes undergraduate research opportunities »

Jane Leer, doctoral student in Psychology and member of the Duke Identity and Diversity Lab, has received a Promise Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Special Topic Workshop: Addressing and Reducing Inequality through Developmental Science. Leer's project proposal is titled Youths’ Perceptions of Economic Inequality from Gentrifying Neighborhoods to Rural Contexts.  As an interdisciplinary researcher in psychology and public policy (joint … read more about Doctoral student Jane Leer receives SRCD Promise Award »

DURHAM, N.C. -- When their manhood is threatened, some men respond aggressively, but not all. New research from Duke University suggests who may be most triggered by such threats – younger men whose sense of masculinity depends heavily on other people’s opinions. “Our results suggest that the more social pressure a man feels to be masculine, the more aggressive he may be,” said Adam Stanaland, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology and public policy at Duke University and the study’s lead author. “When those men feel they are… read more about 'Be a Man': Why Some Men Respond Aggressively to Threats to Manhood »

APS members and other psychological scientists will conduct a National Academy of Sciences study to explore the development of behavioral ontologies that can help spur new research. In cosponsorship with APS, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) is initiating a consensus study on developing a shared ontology for behavioral science research. This month, NASEM has named a slate of 16 individuals who will serve on the committee overseeing the study; eminent psychological scientists are members… read more about Professor Tim Strauman selected as member of prestigious NASEM committee »

Jaelyn Nixon, first-year student in the joint Public Policy and Psychology PhD program, and member of the Duke Identity & Diversity Lab has been awarded the 2020-2021 Dean's Graduate Fellowship. Broadly, Nixon's research aspirations are motivated by the desire to reduce social injustices. She is particularly interested in the covert ways that discriminatory practices evolve and produce consequences (in terms of incarceration, education, health, & wealth inequalities) for minorities. Nixon's master’s… read more about Jaelyn Nixon, first-year Ph.D. student, awarded Dean's Graduate Fellowship »

The Summer Training in Academic Research (STAR) Program, led by Pediatrics faculty members Drs. Kanecia Zimmerman and Danny Benjamin has for many years offered summer research experiences for local high school and undergraduate students. Former participants have been deeply engaged in biomedical research at Duke and nearly all have become co-authors on scientific papers.  This year, through generous support from the Biogen Foundation, P&N faculty members Drs.… read more about Neuroscience extension to Duke STAR program funded by Biogen Foundation »

Last year, a dozen Duke University doctoral students used Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) to acquire new skills, knowledge or experiences that will enhance their original research. In these excerpts from their reports, students reflect on what they learned. Jacqueline Allain, Ph.D. in History Birthing Imperial Citizens I used my GSTEG grant to attend the Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA) Summer School. During this week-long program, I attended seminars led by important scholars of critical… read more about Doctoral Students Gain New Perspectives on Their Research »

We know personality comes from the brain, but does that mean the brain’s shape and composition affect personality as well? Previous studies have attempted to find links between brain structure and personality types, but new data indicates otherwise. A new study, the largest of its kind, suggests these links may not be so strong after all. In fact, they may not even exist. Recently Duke researchers, led by Reut Avinun Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate at Professor Ahmad Hariri’s lab, analyzed the MRI scans of over a thousand… read more about Brain Structure May Not Influence Personality After All »

DURHAM, N.C. -- Self-control, the ability to contain one’s own thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and to work toward goals with a plan, is one of the personality traits that makes a child ready for school. And, it turns out, ready for life as well. In a large study that has tracked a thousand people from birth through age 45 in New Zealand, researchers have determined that people who had higher levels of self-control as children were aging more slowly than their peers at age 45. Their bodies and brains were healthier and… read more about Self-Controlled Children Tend to be Healthier Middle-Aged Adults »

This fall, Bass Connections hosted a virtual event to share stories of the program’s impact with our supporters. Three Duke students described their experiences as team members on projects exploring the global financial crisis, youth concussions and sustainable farming. Leadership Opportunities Maria Paz Rios ’21, History and Mathematics Duke senior Maria Paz Rios is a member of the American Predatory Lending and the Global Financial Crisis team. The team aims to draw from local, state and national perspectives in… read more about What We’re Getting Out of Our Bass Connections Teams »

From the anger and grief following the killings of several unarmed Black citizens to difficult conversations with younger family members about how the world will see them when they grow up, Zaire McPhearson had many moments this year when she saw in stark terms how far society has left to go before it truly confronts its racism. “The last couple of months have been extremely difficult, especially being a Black woman living in the American climate that we’re in,” said McPhearson, who graduated from Duke’s… read more about Desire for Change Drives Racial Justice Art Contest Winner »

Sarah Gaither, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Michele Alexander Early Career Award.  All applications were reviewed by a panel of scholars, both senior and junior, with a wide range of interests and areas of expertise.  Gaither's record of scholarship, teaching, and service was described by the committee as the embodiment of this honor, and the congratulatory letter from the award committee, stated: "Your record is impressive and much… read more about Assistant professor Sarah Gaither awarded the 2020 Michele Alexander Early Career Award »