Polyvagal Theory Part 1: The Wandering Nerve

Danny Rahal

Danny is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. He received his B.S. in psychology and chemistry (biochemistry track) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Danny is interested in the social factors that influence adolescent health and stress responses, especially among minority and low-income youth.

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The polyvagal theory is a neurobiological theory relating social engagement, physiology, and developmental outcomes. When I was first learning the theory, I struggled to understand some of the theory’s basic terms and could not find a resource that simplified it. Therefore, this three–part series of articles is intended to serve as an introduction to the theory. In this article I will introduce the physiology behind stress. In the second I’ll discuss specific stress responses, and…

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Can I become more inspired?

Keela Thomson

Keela Thomson

Keela Thomson is a graduate student in Cognitive Psychology. She studies the truly bewildering process of how other people make decisions. She is interested in decision-making in part because she often requires 15 minutes of hard deliberation to choose a latte flavor. She has a degree in Psychology and Economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and spent two years at a think tank researching startups and business incubators before coming to UCLA to get her PhD. On the occasions when she breaks out of her office, she likes running, hot yoga, and mixing new cocktails.
Keela Thomson

  “Do one thing every day that scares you.” —Eleanor Roosevelt     Happy new year! (It still counts as the new year, right?) How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like a lot of people, you might be beginning to lose sight of them. Research has found that a little over a third of us fail at our resolutions within a month.1 Luckily it is not too late to hit…

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May the Force be with you–while you wait

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

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It has been a long year since the teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII was first released and the opening showing of the film prior to the film’s wide release has finally arrived. But the wait does not end there! Here is a picture of a group of moviegoers queuing to enter the theatre. Some enthusiastic fans have waited in line for over 5 hours to claim a good seat in the theatre. While…

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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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Presenting Psychology: 10 Ways to Polish Up Your Research Presentation

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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Gone are the days in which promising scholars could conduct brilliant scientific work, write compelling and cogent articles and books, and be forgiven by all for having no clarity or articulation when attempting to talk about it in person! …If those days existed at all. Scientific communication takes many forms, but virtually all graduate students, faculty, and other related roles must present about their research at some time. Psychological research (or any research for that matter!)…

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Me, Myselfie, and I: The Psychological Impact of Social Media Activity

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

Not too long ago, I relentlessly teased my 21-year-old sister when she revealed her strategies for achieving maximal positive feedback on Facebook photos. There were timing basics—don’t post on Friday or Saturday nights because no one is checking. She also recommended sensitivity to time zones so as to avoid an entire coast being asleep when your picture is posted. There was even attention to Facebook’s sharing algorithms. Rather than posting and tagging other people in…

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Highlights of “Building Minds”

Carolyn Bufford

Carolyn Bufford

As a grad student in Cognitive Psychology, Carolyn enjoys studying intersections of perception, learning, and technology in vision and music. She earned her B.S. in Cognitive Science from UCLA. She enjoys choral singing and dabbling in photography.
Carolyn Bufford

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  For those who missed “Building Minds: Microchips & Molecules”, here is a taste Download article as PDF

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My Graduate School Survival Guide

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

Disclaimer: Technically, I have not yet ‘survived’ grad school. But, with three out of five years under my belt, I like to think I’ve acquired some useful wisdom. Although there is no one-size-fits-all model for successfully navigating grad school, here I’ll outline some strategies that I find particularly effective for maximizing efficiency and maintaining solid work-life balance. Stay organized (and give your brain a break) Although I pride myself on having strong memory skills, grad…

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Signal Detection: Decision Making in Uncertainty

Carolyn Bufford

Carolyn Bufford

As a grad student in Cognitive Psychology, Carolyn enjoys studying intersections of perception, learning, and technology in vision and music. She earned her B.S. in Cognitive Science from UCLA. She enjoys choral singing and dabbling in photography.
Carolyn Bufford

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We all experience uncertainty: How did I do on that test? What do they think of me? Where did I leave my keys? Is my phone ringing? In these and other uncertain situations, Download article as PDF

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Love Me Tinder: A Psychological Perspective on Swiping

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

Several months ago, I wrote a post about how online dating has shifted the way people search for and establish romantic relationships in the modern era. Notably absent from that article was any mention of what has become the fastest growing, and arguably the most popular, dating app of the past several years: Tinder. Why didn’t Tinder make it into my discussion of the potential benefits and drawbacks of online dating? To put it simply,…

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How to Take Good Notes: Go Low-Tech

Carolyn Bufford

Carolyn Bufford

As a grad student in Cognitive Psychology, Carolyn enjoys studying intersections of perception, learning, and technology in vision and music. She earned her B.S. in Cognitive Science from UCLA. She enjoys choral singing and dabbling in photography.
Carolyn Bufford

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More and more students are opting to take notes on laptops to save trees and – they assume – take better notes. But is this assumption correct? Download article as PDF

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How do we see so many colors on a digital screen?

Carolyn Bufford

Carolyn Bufford

As a grad student in Cognitive Psychology, Carolyn enjoys studying intersections of perception, learning, and technology in vision and music. She earned her B.S. in Cognitive Science from UCLA. She enjoys choral singing and dabbling in photography.
Carolyn Bufford

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  How can we possibly perceive a world of colors from just red, green, and blue, the colors of lights in TV, computer, and phone screens? Download article as PDF

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The Top 5 Differences Between Undergraduate and Graduate School

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

When deciding whether or not to attend graduate school, a lot of prospective students ask how it is different that undergrad. Is it more difficult? Less fun? Stressful? Whether you are thinking of applying to grad school, have a friend/sibling/daughter/son/niece/nephew/etc. in grad school and still don’t quite understand what it means, or are a graduate student yourself, here you can read about (my opinion on) some of the ways in which these two experiences differ…

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Outwit, Outplay, Outlast: The Psychology of Survivor

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

I have been watching Survivor for more than half of my life.  In 7th grade, I decorated my 3-ring binder with a stalkerish collage of “Boston” Rob Mariano pictures, and several years later my parents indulged me with my first Survivor buff for Christmas. I still own two of my favorite seasons on DVD, as well as my precious Survivor hat and t-shirt. Some would call me a dedicated fan; others, insane.   I love Survivor. And…

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Surrendering to Creativity: The Psychology of Remembering to Breathe (Part 3 of 3)

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

Up until graduate school, I often indulged the myth that good writing was a sacred thing to be done under the most precise conditions.  Akin to knowing without a timer when the soufflee has finished (sorry, I have holidays sweets on the mind), the creativity dedicated to a well-written piece had to be carefully cultured and perfected.  My patterns were always the same, although the specific details evolved with time.  In high school I had…

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