Memory in the Mountains: How Cognitive Psychology Can Improve Rock Climbing

  “You can never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.” – Lito Tejada-Flores, Extreme Skiier, Climber and Author             As Lito Tejada-Flores alludes, rock climbing and mountaineering depend as much on human memory as the physical environment in which one climbs.  Rock climbing is a high-risk sport where life and death hang in the balance.  Forgetting to tie…

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Rapid Reaction – The Suicide of Robin Williams

  “This post is co-written by Michael Sun and guest writer Jordan Coello, M.A., both authors contributed equally.”       “O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of…

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E. coli, food, and mood: How toxins in food could affect not only your belly, but also your brain

It’s well-known that toxin-producing bacteria in food, such as E. coli, can affect your belly — often not for the better — but research by UCLA’s Naomi Eisenberger, Michael Irwin, and others now indicates that food toxins may influence your mood, as well. In a study in which I am glad I was not a participant, Eisenberger, Inagaki, Marshal, and Irwin (2010) used random assignment to inject 39 healthy participants with an endotoxin derived from Escherichia coli…

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Snapshot of Symposium 2014: Criminally Minded – the Psychology and Law of Culpability

Programs

Here’s a walk down memory lane for those who made it to our 2014 annual interdisciplinary symposium in May, and a taste of it for those who didn’t make it. Enjoy! If you want to know more about the topic and the speakers, check out this post!

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Awe: Why It’s Important, and How to Feel It

Have you ever gazed up at the starry sky and felt amazed by its vastness? Or have you looked over the abyss of the Grand Canyon and found your breath catch in your throat? If so, you probably felt awe, a “feeling of wonder and astonishment experienced in the presence of something novel and difficult to grasp” (Griskevicius, Shiota, & Neufeld, 2010, p. 193). The findings of several studies now indicate that awe is not merely a…

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iLoveYou, iLoveYouNot: The Psychology of Online Dating & Romantic Relationships

When I first saw the movie “You’ve Got Mail” at the ripe old age of 8, the idea of developing a relationship through online chatrooms seemed novel, unconventional and even…creepy? Fast-forward 15 years later, where one in ten people are using an online dating website, and much of the stigma associated with this activity has declined. Since 2005, the proportion of Internet users agreeing that “online dating is a good way to meet people” has increased…

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Dating on TV and the Misattribution of Arousal

Summer is synonymous with long days, warm weather and reality shows on the TV screens of many households. One of the most popular reality television series is the Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise. Every season, a man or woman tries to find love by meeting 25 members of the opposite sex, going on thrilling, romantic dates and eventually whittling down the competition to one lucky finalist. As you can probably imagine, the show has a fairly…

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Understanding Bullying: Facts vs. Fiction

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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Weighing in on Weight Stigma: Obesity Stigma Symposium at UCLA

The prevalence of adult obesity in the United States has nearly doubled since 1980, and over two-thirds of American adults are currently overweight or obese. Weight bias (stereotyping or discrimination directed at an individual related to his/her weight) is prevalent in modern American society, and overweight individuals experience weight bias from a range of sources, including family members, classmates, educators, co-workers, employers, and health-care professionals. Findings presented last month at UCLA at a symposium titled,…

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Women in science: Yes we can!

The cover of my statistics text book features a diagram depicting the relation among sex, time since obtaining a doctorate degree, number of publications, and citations on salary. I haven’t formally learned about structural equation modeling just yet, but nonetheless found it rather discouraging for women. In hopes of being potentially proven wrong, I read the chapter on causal models. The example that Cohen, Cohen, West & Aiken, 2003 give as a working frame to…

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Outreach Event: Mindfulness Meditation!

If you were asked to do nothing for a minute, could you do it? What about being asked to smell a Hershey’s chocolate kiss but wait to eat it? Well, after this quarter’s Psychology in Action’s Outreach Program event children and teenagers from the LA community may just outshine you at mindfulness practices like these! Outreach coordinators Jenna Cummings and Nicco Reggente arranged for UCLA psychology graduate students to present to youth at an after-school program hosted by the…

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New Research: Learning from Paper versus Learning from Screens

When I speak to parents, I often hear that they are scared that this generation of students is losing out, because they are learning so much more on screens. These fears are echoed in the press.  For example, the Washington Post wrote about how reading is taking a hit from online scanning and skimming.  In the class I now teach to college seniors, the students themselves echoed this fear, telling me that they believe that…

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