News

All Babies and Children Thrive (ABC Thrive) has awarded seed grants of up to $40,000 to four interdisciplinary teams of Duke faculty. The teams will explore new interventions to support positive early childhood development ranging from tools for earlier identification of children at risk for neurodevelopmental challenges, to methods for teaching young children prosocial behaviors, to improving outcomes for black children and families through early care interventions and new teaching methods. At the end of a successful pilot… read more about Four Faculty Teams Receive ABC Thrive Seed Grants to Improve Early Childhood Outcomes »

DURHAM, N.C. -- More than three decades after they were found to have elevated blood lead levels as children, a group of middle-aged adults were found to have some small but significant changes in brain structure that corresponded to their dose of lead exposure in early life. MRI scans at age 45 revealed some small but significant changes in the brains of the people who had higher lead exposures measured at age 11. For each 5 micrograms per deciliter more lead they carried as children, the study participants lost an… read more about Childhood Lead Exposure Leads to Structural Changes in Middle-Aged Brains »

All Babies and Children Thrive (ABC Thrive) has awarded seed grants of up to $40,000 to four interdisciplinary teams of Duke faculty, two of which are teams from the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. The teams will explore new interventions to support positive early childhood development ranging from tools for earlier identification of children at risk for neurodevelopmental challenges, to methods for teaching young children prosocial behaviors, to improving outcomes for black children and families through early… read more about Two P&N faculty teams receive ABC Thrive Seed Grants to improve early childhood outcomes »

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 Makeba Wilbourn,… read more about Undergraduates Are Doing Real Research in Trinity College, And Everyone Benefits »

The 2020-2021 academic year provides a unique opportunity for Psychology & Neuroscience undergraduate students to attend virtual international conferences sponsored by the department. Each conference will be guided by a P&N faculty host who will recommend select conference sessions. The experience will also include opportunities for students to network with speakers and engage in a faculty-led, post-conference discussion session. There is a simple application process and conference attendance is… read more about Department sponsors undergraduate Guided Virtual Conferences in Psychology & Neuroscience, 2020-2021 »

On August 24, 2020, Beth Peloquin joined the department of psychology and neuroscience as its new Business Manager. Peloquin replaced long-time department Business Manager Cynthia LaMaster, who retired from Duke after 30 years of service. The hiring process took place during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Peloquin's interviews were conducted remotely via Zoom. Here, Peloquin shares a bit about her previous work experience and some of her personal interests. Can you describe your first week… read more about Department welcomes new Business Manager, Beth Peloquin  »

Sarah Gaither, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience has received the prestigious 2020 Sage Young Scholar Award.  The Sage Young Scholar Awards recognize outstanding achievements by young scholars who are early in their research careers. The awards are intended to provide these scholars with funds that can be flexibly applied in extending their work in new and exciting directions. Previous recipients of this award have gone on to positions of intellectual leadership in the field. Because… read more about Sarah Gaither receives 2020 SAGE Young Scholar Award  »

Here are recently published and forthcoming books by Duke authors, from September and October:   Marc Zvi Brettler, co-author: “The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently” Annotated Edition (HarperOne, Oct. 27, 2020) Avshalom Caspi and Terrie E. Moffitt, co-authors: “The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life” (Harvard University Press) Samuel Fury Childs Daly: “A History of the Republic of Biafra: Law, Crime, and… read more about New Great Reads from Duke Authors »

A group of P&N graduate students and post doctoral fellows Matthew Bachman, Kathryn Dickerson, Shabnam Hakimi, Rosa Li & Brenda Yang have been spotlighted by Duke Research for forming a "journal club" called SPEAK: Scientists Promoting Equity and Knowledge. The group recently authored an essay about their work in the journal Nature. Their mission is, "To promote a more inclusive and equitable environment in academia, starting with our own beliefs and actions."… read more about Department spotlight on SPEAK: Scientists Promoting Equity and Knowledge »

Aaron Reuben, fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology and member of the Moffitt and Caspi Lab, spoke at the Nicholas School’s Environmental Health and Toxicology Seminar series about the long-term implications of childhood lead exposure.  Published in the Duke Research Blog, 9/21/20: Dealing With Lead for Life by Cydney Livingston Though lead has been widely eliminated from use in products due to proven health risks, the lifelong consequences of childhood lead exposure for children… read more about Aaron Reuben addresses the long-term implications of childhood lead exposure »

Though lead has been widely eliminated from use in products due to proven health risks, the lifelong consequences of childhood lead exposure for children born in the era of lead use in gasoline are still unknown. Aaron Reuben, fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at Duke, spoke about the long-term implications of childhood lead exposure Friday, September 18th through the Nicholas School’s Environmental Health and Toxicology Seminar series. He conducts research as a member of the Moffitt and Caspi Lab, studying… read more about Dealing With Lead for Life »

Faculty member Minna Ng has adapted to COVID-19 teaching obstacles by utilizing a Zoom Cart — one of 50 created this summer by Trinity Technology Services and Duke OIT.  Read the full article in Duke Today: Zoom Carts help keep semester rolling as well as Ng's personal account: Six things I learned about face-to-face teaching in the time of Covid-19, originally published in the Duke Learning Innovations Blog, 9/24/20 by Andrea Novicki Dr. Minna Ng is currently teaching 74 first-year… read more about Minna Ng adapts to COVID-19 teaching by utilizing a Zoom Cart, shares six take-aways from pedagogy in a pandemic »

The Duke Board of Trustees voted Saturday to rename the Sociology-Psychology Building on West Campus for Reuben-Cooke following the recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on Institutional History. By Geoffrey Mock; Originally published in Duke Today, Iconic West Campus Building Named After Duke Pioneer Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, as a Duke undergraduate Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke came to Duke in 1963 as one of the “First Five” Black undergraduates, breaking barriers and entering classroom buildings… read more about Sociology-Psychology Building renamed after Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, ’67 »

Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke came to Duke in 1963 as one of the “First Five” Black undergraduates, breaking barriers and entering classroom buildings that had previously been closed to Black students. Now, her legacy as a pioneer at Duke and as a leading lawyer, law professor, university administrator and trustee for both Duke University and The Duke Endowment, will be celebrated by the renaming of one of those classroom buildings after her. The Duke Board of Trustees voted Saturday to rename the Sociology-Psychology Building… read more about Iconic West Campus Building Named After a Duke Pioneer »

Makeba Wilbourn, associate professor of the practice of psychology and neuroscience, understands that, in addition to producing important research on the cognitive development of children, her lab’s goal is to inspire students with a healthy atmosphere. Students who work in Makeba WIlbourn's lab watch a classmates' thesis defense on Zoom, which has become an essential tool for faculty and students this fall.  Excerpt from: LESSONS FROM TEACHING IN A PANDEMIC: After adjusting approaches due… read more about Makeba Wilbourn and her lab featured for commitment to community, inclusivity, and healthy lab atmosphere amid COVID-19 »

After teaching a doctoral course for the past five years that mixes in-person learning and online class sessions, Duke Divinity School’s Curtis Freeman is an online teaching veteran. Curtis Freeman has embraced the challenge of teaching online. Photo courtesy of Duke Divinity School. But with COVID-19 limiting in-person classes this fall, and making Freeman’s class an entirely online affair, even he knew he’d need to keep evolving. “The delivery and interaction with students is different this fall,” said Freeman,… read more about Lessons From Teaching in a Pandemic »

Eight faculty members from the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience have been awarded Research Seed Grants via philanthropic support from The Charles Lafitte Foundation Program in Psychological and Neuroscience Research at Duke University. The faculty projects – all chosen by review committee – show great promise both for generating exceptional research and for providing opportunities for students. In a letter to recipients, P&N Chair Scott Huettel offered congratulations, stating, "It has been… read more about 2020-2021 Faculty Research Seed Grant recipients announced »

Sarah Gaither, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, writes about the way Kamala Harris's nomination sheds light on black female experiences. Read the article at Psychology Today. read more about Black Women: The Invisible Warriors »

Max Elliott, clinical psychology PhD student working with Ahmad Hariri and the Moffitt & Caspi lab, has received a prestigious F99/K00 Transition to Aging grant from the National Institutes of Health. The award was created with the objective to increase, retain, and diversify the pool of trainees in aging and geriatric research.  Max is interested in further understanding the structure of mental illness through investigating the interacting relationships between genes, environment and the… read more about PhD student Max Elliot receives Transition to Aging Research Award for Predoctoral Students (F99/K00) »

An August 2020 report, prepared by the P&N Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, & Climate, has been shared with the P&N Community with the following statement: "This is not a diversity statement for public display; rather, it is a road map of constructive, accountable actions that can intentionally lead to a more diverse and inclusive department, one with a climate that supports all community members' personal and professional goals." The report was composed by Task Force faculty members Makeba… read more about P&N Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, & Climate releases August 2020 report »

Duke Service Learning has introduced its Fall 2020 service-learning assistants (SLAs), among the students are two Neuroscience majors:  Pierce Hollier, Duke ‘22, Junior, Majoring in Neuroscience, Minoring in Global Health — SLA for Advanced Intermediate Spanish with Service-Learning (SPANISH 205) with Eileen Anderson Lilly Kelemen, Duke ‘23, Sophomore, Majoring in Neuroscience, Minoring in Education — SLA for Theater Studies 311S: Legal… read more about Neuroscience undergrads become fall 2020 Duke Service-Learning Assistants (SLAs) »

DURHAM, N.C. -- COVID-19 has stripped control and predictability from us. We can’t do the things we want, and we aren’t sure when this mess is going to end. So we’re anxious and depressed and overwhelmed. Many of us are trying to work and parent and keep households running. Many of us are “essential,” which means we have to work in public, putting our health at risk. It’s a lot to deal with, but there are ways to cope, help others, and shepherd our kids to the other side of all of this. Speaking to reporters Wednesday… read more about Anxious and Depressed? Experts Share Tips for Coping in Pandemic »

This fall semester, Duke Kunshan University lecturer Ashton Merck will be communicating with her students more than usual.   She plans to check in with her students early and often through WeChat messages, email, and virtual office hours. Merck hopes that by staying in contact, students will feel more connected to the course and to each other, no matter where they are in the world.    “I think that especially in this stressful time, instructors have a responsibility to open up lines of communication that students feel… read more about How Duke Faculty Prepared for the Fall Semester »

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is pleased to release its special funding 2019-2020 Impact Report, Charles Lafitte Foundation Program in Psychological Research at Duke University. The document highlights the program's achievements with feature stories, data, photographs, and student testimonials. A link to the full 15-page report can be found below.  In a statement from leadership about the special funding opportunities provided to the department, Professor and Department Chair Scott… read more about Special Funding Report 2019-2020: Charles Lafitte Foundation Program in Psychological Research at Duke University »

DURHAM, N.C. --If you’re reluctant to identify as a Democrat or Republican even though you are staunchly liberal or conservative, you’re probably also less prone to bias in other ways. In a time where political affiliations can feel like they’re leading to tribal warfare, a research team from Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences has found that the desire to be part of a group is what makes some of us more likely to discriminate against people outside our groups, even in non-political settings. “It's not… read more about Desire to Be in a Group Leads to Harsher Judgment of Others  »

After tracking the lives of thousands of people from birth to midlife, four of the world’s preeminent psychologists, including P&N faculty members Avshalom Caspi and Terrie E. Moffitt, reveal what they have learned about how humans develop in their new book, The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life, out now from Harvard University Press.  The book explores the power of longitudinal cohort studies to understand human nature and answers questions like: Does… read more about Caspi & Moffitt reveal findings on how humans develop in new book, "The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life" »

Compelled by the pandemic to approach teaching in new and creative ways, Duke faculty members — including P&N's Bridgette Hard and Sarah Gaither — share ways they've prepared for the start of the fall semester. Published in Duke Today, August 14, 2020 by Eric Ferreri This fall semester, Duke Kunshan University lecturer Ashton Merck will be communicating with her students more than usual.   She plans to check in with her students early and often through WeChat messages, email… read more about Faculty members Bridgette Hard and Sarah Gaither share teaching approaches for fall semester »

A virtual book celebration of Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods' Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity will take place via Zoom on Friday, August 21, co-sponsored by Duke University’s Departments of Psychology & Neuroscience, Evolutionary Anthropology, and Philosophy, and The Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and The Kenan Institute for Ethics. Featuring: Sarah Gaither, Elaine Guevara, Brian Hare, Ashley… read more about Virtual book celebration announced for "Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity" »

Elsa Friis, a graduate student in clinical psychology, has been awarded the Richard W. Morrell Community Commitment and Advocacy Award by Emory University - Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine for her critical work during her clinical internship. This award is periodically given to a trainee or faculty member who best demonstrates the spirit and action of commitment to community. Friis is recognized for her advocacy work including the establishment of the Atlanta Behavioral Health… read more about Graduate student Elsa Friis receives award for advocacy work, co-authors article on pandemic response behavioral health  »