A Summer Bounty

Nine School of Psychology faculty receive research grants

September 4, 2019

When it rains, it pours. That’s how it felt last month when email after email from School of Psychology Acting Chair Mark Wheeler arrived in various inboxes, sharing the joyful news of a new award.

The announcement of a $334,000 grant to Dobromir Rahnev in May has been succeeded in August by seven other research awards to eight faculty members.

“I think the recent success is due to several factors," Wheeler says. “School faculty have been submitting more proposals. And notably, persistence is key: Some proposals were funded because the principal investigators persisted. Whatever the reasons, the research is exciting and timely.”

Following are the awards announced in May through August.

Dobromir Rahnev, assistant professor; Uncovering the Architecture of Metacognition

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH); $333,881 (5/3/19-4/30/20)
  • The project will study how the presence of noise in sensory signals and metacognitive processing affects decision making. The research is relevant to disorders in which metacognition is impaired, such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse.

Thackery Brown, assistant professor, and Scott Moffat, associate professor; Neurobiological Mechanisms of Aging and Stress on Prospective Navigation

  • NIH; $426,012 (4/15/19-3/31/21)
  • The project aims to advance understanding of the neural mechanisms of prospective thought in an ecologically valid setting in an aged cohort; elucidate the mechanisms that underlie deficits in effective planning under stress; and evaluate the interaction between endogenous navigational strategy and stress effects on spatial cognition, revealing how age-related differences contribute to both.

Kimberly French, assistant professor; Collaborative Research: Uncovering and Utilizing the Dynamic Interplay between Work Recovery and Resilience

  • NSF; $115,018 (9/1/19-8/31/22)
  • The project uses experience sampling studies to model the daily interplay between peoples' recovery experiences outside of work and their psychological and physiological resilience to challenges faced in the workplace.

Jamie Gorman, associate professor; Polycentric Control and Team Resilience: A Dynamic Systems Approach

  • U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences; $99,863 (4/22/19-4/21/20)
  • The short-term goal is to understand and model how high-functioning teams and organizations achieve stable solutions that balance higher-order constraints (i.e., shared intentions and values), while maintaining a capacity to flexibly adapt to local changes and disturbances. The long-range goal is to set a foundation for making training and design decisions that enhance human-technology teaming and system performance.

Phillip Ackerman, professor; Trait Complexes and New Ability Assessments

  • U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences; $299,628 (8/15/19-2/14/21)
  • The project represents an expansion of the construct space for selection to include new measures of adult intellectual abilities in the areas of perceptual and cognitive abilities and to capitalize on the common variance among key non-ability traits (e.g., personality, interests, self-concept, and motivational traits) to improve prediction of individual differences in criterion measures of real-world performance.

Audrey Duarte, associate professor; Individual Differences in Habitual Sleep Quality and Episodic Memory Network Activity across the Adult Lifespan

  • NSF; $449,958 (9/1/19-8/31/22)
  • The research aims to elucidate the extent to which individual differences in a major lifestyle factor – sleep quality – underlie those in neural activity that, in turn, contribute to episodic memory success across the normal adult lifespan.

Audrey Duarte, associate professor; Imperceptible At-Home Monitoring of Sleep Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

  • Alzheimer’s Association; $149,843 (9/1/19-8/31/22)
  • In collaboration with W. Hong Yeo, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, the project aims to develop technology to study sleep quality as a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease using a small wearable device to monitor the brain’s electrical activity during sleep, at home.

Christopher Hertzog, professor, and Ann Pearman, senior research scientist; Enhancing Older Adults’ Everyday Memory Function

  • National Institute of Aging, NIH; $433,950 (9/1/19-6/30/21)
  • The work will develop new approaches to help train and improve daily memory function in older adults by learning techniques to support memory and forming new “habits of mind” to promote self-regulation.

For More Information Contact

A. Maureen Rouhi, Ph.D.
Director of Communications
College of Sciences