The Overview Effect

Stacy Shaw

Stacy Shaw

Stacy is a second-year graduate student in the developmental area with interests in mathematics and science learning, as well as creativity and divergent thinking. A former competitive public speaker and volunteer ambassador for the Chabot Space and Science Center, Stacy is also interested in scientific communication and open science. She received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, East Bay in human development, with minors in psychology and statistics.
Stacy Shaw

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“It’s hard to explain how amazing and magical this experience is. First of all, there’s the astounding beauty and diversity of the planet itself, scrolling across your view at what appears to be a smooth, stately pace… I’m happy to report that no amount of prior study or training can fully prepare anybody for the awe and wonder this inspires.” ~Kathryn D, NASA Astronaut (cited in Robinson et al., 2013, p.81) “If somebody’d said before…

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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.

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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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Emotions and Health: Not Just a “First-World Problem”

Mona Moieni

Mona Moieni

Mona is currently a PhD student in UCLA's psychology program, working primarily with Dr. Naomi Eisenberger. Her research focuses on understanding interactions between biological and social psychological processes, as well as how these relationships may be relevant to health and aging. When she's not working (and sometimes even when she is), Mona can be found reading the NY Times, re-watching TV shows and movies she loves, indulging her sweet tooth, and drinking a lot of Earl Grey tea.
Mona Moieni

French writer and philosopher Voltaire said something along the lines of “I have decided to be happy because it is good for my health.” Is this just a vague philosophical aphorism or does it have any basis in science? In fact, decades of research point to the idea that emotions are indeed related to health in many ways. Negative emotions, such as feeling depressed, are related to numerous negative health outcomes (e.g., pain, disease, mortality).…

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Ideal Affect: How What You Want to Feel Can Impact Your Choices

Mona Moieni

Mona Moieni

Mona is currently a PhD student in UCLA's psychology program, working primarily with Dr. Naomi Eisenberger. Her research focuses on understanding interactions between biological and social psychological processes, as well as how these relationships may be relevant to health and aging. When she's not working (and sometimes even when she is), Mona can be found reading the NY Times, re-watching TV shows and movies she loves, indulging her sweet tooth, and drinking a lot of Earl Grey tea.
Mona Moieni

Think about how you feel right now. Nervous because of an upcoming deadline? Content because you spent the afternoon reading a satisfying book? Sad because you ran out of episodes of your favorite TV show? Whatever the answer may be, researchers who study emotion would call this your actual affect, or how you actually feel. Now think about how you want to feel. Do you wish you felt more happy? More excited? More relaxed? Your…

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Jumping for joy on four paws: Neurological evidence of emotion in dogs

Brianna Goodale

Brianna Goodale

Doctoral Student at University of California, Los Angeles
Brianna is a third-year doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.She currently studies how group norms can exacerbate or ameliorate stereotype threat among women in science, technology, engineering and math.An avid outdoor enthusiast, her interest in stereotypes of women in fields dominated by men was spurred by her own experiences in math classes and mountaineering.When not designing studies or analyzing data, Bri enjoys strong lattes and bouldering on the beach.
Brianna Goodale

Running with Rainey is simultaneously the best thing and the worst thing.  As a joint new year’s resolution to get in better shape, we’ve been trying to run together several times a week.  Yesterday, as we started out in the warm afternoon sunshine, my iPod jamming away to White Panda’s mashup of pop music from 5 years ago, she got so excited she jumped for joy.  Let me repeat: my dog jumped for joy. Download…

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

Britt Ahlstrom

Britt Ahlstrom is a graduate student in UCLA's PhD Health Psychology program. Britt researches the impact of severe and long-duration stressors on eating behavior and the use of novel techniques to increase interest and ability in the sciences. Britt is particularly interested in integrating health psychology with other fields, such as aerospace medicine and education. More info at http://brittahlstrom.weebly.com

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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Psychology Classics: James Pennebaker’s Expressive Writing Paradigm

alyssa

Alyssa is a graduate student in Health Psychology, studying how positive psychosocial resources like religious practices and spirituality affect mental and physical health. She received her BA in biology and psychology from Luther College in Decorah, IA and her Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She is happy to be in California with sunshine and good hiking, but sad to be far from Wisconsin Cheese and the Green Bay Packers.

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This post is part of our ongoing series exploring classic experiments and theories in the history of psychological research. While research first conducted in the late 1980s may not seem like a “classic,” James Pennebaker’s writing paradigm was an important contribution to the young field of health psychology at the time and continues to be used today to explore connections between disclosure and physical and mental health and to generate hypotheses about other psychological phenomena. Pennebaker began…

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Do Animals Suffer Like People?

Ariel

Ariel is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at UCLA. Raised in
New Jersey, she double majored in Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology (NBB) and Psychology at Emory University. Her research focuses on the developmental trajectories of structural and functional changes in the brain relevant for working memory and social-affective processing. In particular, she is interested in investigating these areas in typically developing children and adolescents, those at risk for psychosis, and those with adolescent-onset psychosis. Ariel joined Psych in Action to help bring awareness of important scientific findings to broader audiences.

Imagine walking into a room filled with people crying. They are all wearing black; makeup running; tissues clutched hard in their hands. Instinctively, you too are overcome by the grief that is flowing through the room, knowing the cause of their misery and empathizing with their suffering. Download article as PDF

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The Psychology of Radiation Panic

Mariana A. Preciado

Mariana Preciado is a 4th year Ph.D. student in social psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She did her undergraduate degree at Yale University where she became interested in deconstructionism, the self, and the nature of “truth.” At UCLA, she does research on the aspects of our social environment that impact the way we interpret our experiences and think about ourselves. Currently, she is doing research on the factors other than actual sexual experience that impact the way people think about their sexuality. Mariana is writing for Psychology in Action because she loves science, and she wants everyone in the world to know how to appreciate and love science, too.
For more information about Mariana’s research go to http://ucla.academia.edu/MarianaPreciado

A recent McClatchy-Marist poll found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans think a nuclear disaster similar to what happened in March of this year in Japan could happen here. Why do so many people suddenly think that nuclear disaster is likely? Recent research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General might shed some light on the issue.  Download article as PDF

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Emotional Control: Strategies we use for regulating our emotions

Emotions are a central component of the human experience.  They facilitate social interactions, allow us to both appreciate and create powerful works in arts and literature, and guide us in achieving personal goals.  These are only a few of the myriad ways that demonstrate the important role emotions play in our lives.  In a letter to his brother Theodore, Vincent Van Gogh (1889) advised him not to forget that “emotions are the captains of our…

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