The Teen Sleep Epidemic: Biology and School Start Times

  “It’s too expensive to start the school day later.” “Extracurriculars will suffer if we start school later.” “We shouldn’t coddle teens by pushing school start times.” These are just some of the arguments against later school start times for teens. Although the public has become increasingly aware of the sleep deprivation epidemic among teens in the US, the cost and logistic difficulties associated with addressing the problem have stymied attempts at reform. But what…

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Outreach Event: Explore Your Universe 2016!

Leah Lessard

Leah is a graduate student in the Developmental Psychology department at UCLA and is a UCLA high school diversity project graduate researcher and the outreach coordinator for Psychology in Action. She is broadly interested in the socio-cognitive and cultural bases of achievement motivation and self-beliefs, particularly how identity maintenance and socialization interact to affect educational outcomes of minority youth.

What if you saw something, but it wasn’t really there? What if a still image suddenly started moving? Or, if a yellow box was actually brown? Kids and their families were fascinated by the display of visual illusions from the Psychology in Action (PIA) outreach team at UCLA’s 8th annual Explore Your Universe (EYU) science festival last week. With exciting science demos, fun activities and interesting talks, the event brought science to life for people…

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The benefits of multilingual education

Natsuki Atagi

Natsuki is a 5th year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Gender Studies at Indiana University and her M.A. in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. Her research examines how children's language experiences affect cognitive development. Natsuki is particularly interested in understanding how experience with one versus two (or more!) languages during childhood affects learning and conceptual development.

This November, California voters will vote on Prop 58 (also called Prop 58-LEARN [Language Education, Acquisition, and Readiness Now]; Senate Bill 1174). This bill, introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), will bring back California parents’ option to choose multilingual education for their children. I will be upfront and disclose that—as a researcher of bilingual children’s language and cognitive development—I am fully in support of this bill. But my goal for writing this post is…

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Early Emotion Understanding: When do Babies Learn about Emotions?

Marissa Ogren

Marissa is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. She received her B.S. in psychology from the University of Washington. Marissa is interested in early social development. In particular, she hopes to discover more about how babies and young children learn about emotions through her research.

Latest posts by Marissa Ogren (see all)

As human beings, we are particularly adept at discerning the emotions of others. Whether it’s our angry boss, saddened family members, or happy friends, we usually succeed at identifying emotional expressions in other people. These judgments let us adjust our behavior accordingly in complex social situations. It has allowed our species to avoid people who would do us harm, embrace people who need support, provide empathy to others, and bond with one another. Overall, reading…

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On Essena O’Neill, #fitspo, and the “real-ness” of social media.

Lauren S.

Lauren Sherman is a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at UCLA and a researcher at the Children’s Digital Media Center@LA and the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center.She originally hails from Philadelphia and received her B.A. in Psychology and Music from Vassar College.Lauren studies the ways that children, teens, and emerging adults interact with digital technology and social media and the ways that these interactions influence development.She also studies functional brain development during adolescence, particularly as it relates to social development.When she is not studying the ways your children text, chat, blog, and youtube (or doing it herself!), she likes to read fiction and sing opera.

If you’ve been on social media in the past 48 hours, you may have seen one of several articles making the rounds about Essena O’Neill, the former teen Instagram model (yes, that’s a thing!) who gained popularity for her bikini-clad selfies and fitness tips. Essena made the decision to quit Instagram after growing disillusioned and unhappy with the staged nature of her social media presence. Before deleting her Instagram account, Essena recaptioned all of her…

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Parenting in the Digital Age: Q&A with Yalda Uhls

Joey Ka-Yee Essoe

Ph.D. Student Researcher at Rissman Memory Lab, UCLA
Joey is a graduate student of Behavioural Neuroscience in UCLA, minors in Cognitive psychology and Quantitative Psychology. She is trained in simultaneously EEG/fMRI, behavioural experimentation utilising virtual reality (VR), including virtual world development and logistical interfaces between VR and statistical software. She is now expanding to fMRI compatible paradigms, fMRI MVPA analyses, and advanced statistical modelling.

She grew up in Hong Kong under English rule (please do pardon her spelling), then spent half her life living and loving San Francisco. Now in Los Angeles, she is a member of University Bible Church and the Rissman Memory Laboratory.

Joey served as Blog Master of Psychology in Action since January 2013, and has served as her President since 2014.

http://www.jessoe.com

About this Q&A Interview We are proud to secure an exclusive interview with Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD — a child psychologist researcher and leading expert in how media affects children. She is a former Psychology in Action president and our most prolific blogger. Yalda continues to research with UCLA while serving as as director of Creative Community Partnerships at Common Sense Media, a national non-profit. Most importantly, Yalda is a mom of two digital teens (a boy and a girl), which is also the topic of…

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Bewonderment: Awe and other stupefying things

“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.” -Neil DeGrasse Tyson I distrust wonder…

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Outreach Event: Thought Suppression vs. Mindfulness!

Jenna Cummings

Jenna is a doctoral student in the Health Psychology department at UCLA. Her program of research crosses work on eating and alcohol use while exploring topics like reward, reinforcement, genetics, social relationships, and stress.

Infinity, pizza, spiders, shoes, pizza, iPhones, sleep, pizza, code names, iPads, games, pizza… When we asked elementary students to think about anything these were the responses. However, when we asked elementary students to think about anything but a yellow jeep, the kids told us they thought of the yellow jeep about 100 times in a minute. One child even thought of yellow pizza. Why? Well, as we explained this past Friday at the PIA Outreach Event…

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Theory of Mind: the Movie Magic in You

Tawny Tsang

Tawny Tsang

Tawny is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Music at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). Her research interests include understanding visual social attention and its relation to social and cognitive development in typically developing infants and those at-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Tawny Tsang

Latest posts by Tawny Tsang (see all)

Film stands out as a particularly effective medium in conveying psychology to the public. This year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture provide numerous examples of psychological phenomenon—PTSD in American Sniper, adolescent development in Boyhood, and psychological control in Whiplash.  These films will make you laugh (The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman), make you cry (The Imitation Game; Selma; The Theory of Everything), all while temporarily pulling you into the respective world each film creates. Although…

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Getting your Zzz’s as a baby: How you learn to sleep depends on your culture

Natsuki Atagi

Natsuki is a 5th year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Gender Studies at Indiana University and her M.A. in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. Her research examines how children's language experiences affect cognitive development. Natsuki is particularly interested in understanding how experience with one versus two (or more!) languages during childhood affects learning and conceptual development.

The topic of how to get babies to sleep can be a touchy and stressful subject for many parents. There’s been a lot of popular articles written on the topic, and these articles have been published in unsurprising places like Parents Magazine and HuffPost Parents, as well as some less expected places like The Washington Post and Forbes. Articles like these are often filled with information about the pros and cons of every imaginable sleep arrangement…

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A New Direction in Autism Research: Google Cloud

Tawny Tsang

Tawny Tsang

Tawny is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Music at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). Her research interests include understanding visual social attention and its relation to social and cognitive development in typically developing infants and those at-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Tawny Tsang

Latest posts by Tawny Tsang (see all)

Autism is everywhere and it is great! I’m not referring to the recent CDC estimate that 1 in 68 children in the U. S. are diagnosed with the disorder. Instead, I’m talking about its presence in the news. Most recently, I’ve read that the Vatican is holding an inaugural conference on autism, “The Person with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Animating Hope” this week. This is part of Pope Francis’ initiative to rethink social issues and the…

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New research: From Screen to Green: What happens to kids social skills when they go cold turkey on all media?

Yalda T. Uhls

Yalda T. Uhls

Yalda T. Uhls, a former President of Psychology in Action, received her PhD in developmental psychology from UCLA. Today, she works as a senior researcher at the Children’s Digital Media Center@LA, UCLA campus, as well as the Regional Director of Common Sense Media, a national non-profit that focuses on helping children, families and educators navigate the digital world. Yalda’s research focuses on how older and newer media impacts the social behavior of preadolescents.In addition to her peer-reviewed published research, Yalda writes on her own blog (ParentingInTheDigitalAge.com), as well as on the Huff Post. Awards include UCLA’s Psychology in Action Award, for excellence in communicating psychological research to audiences beyond academia, as well as honorable mention for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Student Research Fellowship.Prior to her academic career, Yalda spent over fifteen years as an entertainment executive and producer. Notable positions include Senior VP at MGM as well as consultant to Google, Santa Monica.Yalda has two amazing children, and was able to apply what she learned in developmental psychology to parenting (the ultimate project based learning!).
Psychology in Action allows Yalda to combine her two passions, science and storytelling, and to communicate incredible psychological research to people who want to learn a little bit more about human behavior but don't have the time or the statistical training to read a journal article.
Yalda T. Uhls

The fact is we all stare at screens more than we would like and many of us rely on these tools to communicate with others, even during times when we should be spending quality time with our families and friends. So does all this time staring at screens, which may take time away from looking at faces, change the nature of what we learn about the social world? Our study, at the Children’s Digital Media…

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Understanding Bullying: Facts vs. Fiction

Hannah Schacter

Hannah Schacter

Hannah is a Ph.D. student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. She earned her M.A. in Psychology at UCLA and received her B.A. in Psychology from Hamilton College. She is broadly interested in the risk factors and consequences of peer victimization among early adolescents, and how these experiences vary across different contexts (e.g., at school, online). In her free time, Hannah enjoys playing basketball and softball, eating cheese, and watching Survivor (not necessarily at the same time).
Hannah Schacter

At 10:00 P.M. every night, I receive an email update from Google Alerts listing all the news articles from the day containing the word “bully”. Some of these are inspiring stories of victims who have spoken up and made a difference, others are heartbreaking accounts of bully-related suicides. What strikes me about many of these news stories is that they oftentimes perpetuate certain myths of bullying. Although some components of bullying may seem easily explained…

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Light it up!

Tawny Tsang

Tawny Tsang

Tawny is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Music at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). Her research interests include understanding visual social attention and its relation to social and cognitive development in typically developing infants and those at-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Tawny Tsang

Latest posts by Tawny Tsang (see all)

From Empire State Building to the Sydney Opera House, iconic landmarks around the world are shining blue at night in honor of the sixth annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day. “Light It Up Blue” is a global-initiative lead by Autism Speaks and spans throughout April as part of Autism Awareness Month. There is no doubt that the general public is aware of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The topic of autism has been covered in…

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There is a green% chance you will read this post.

Recently The Onion posted this tongue-in-cheek article regarding synesthesia. For those of you who may not know, synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which people experience cross-sensory perceptions. Fellow PIA blogger Emma Geller has written a fabulous primer to the world of synesthesia, located here, but the quick-and-dirty version is that synesthetes have associations between senses that are unique to each person, involuntary and automatic, and consistent over time. For example, grapheme-color synesthetes associate colors with…

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Interview Tips for Students Applying to PhD Programs in Psychology

Timothy Williamson

Timothy Williamson

Timothy is a PhD student in Clinical Health Psychology, studying how psychosocial factors help and hinder adjustment to chronic medical stressors. He received his BA in psychology from Pitzer College and his Master of Public Health degree from Claremont Graduate University. In his spare time, Timothy can be found hiking the canyons of Malibu and baking delicious treats for his classmates.
Timothy Williamson

Preparing for interviews for a PhD program in psychology can be very stressful as well as very exciting. This is likely the first time that you will be interacting face to face with multiple professors and graduate students from the program you are applying for, and it is important to make a good impression. It can be difficult to find the ideal balance between self-praise and humility; you want to sell yourself as a dedicated…

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