2016 CMC Faculty Publications and Grants

Psychology

LaBelle, C. A.*, C. Jones*, M.H. Charlop, and B.R. Thomas*. “Combining the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) with Functional Communication Training (FCT) to Decrease Problem Behavior in Children with Autism.” Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology and Education Special Focus: Autism Spectrum Disorder, I, 2, 2016, 93-120.

Abstract: Ancillary decreases in the problem behavior of children with autism have been found following the implementation of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). However, no studies used functional analysis (FA) to ascertain behavioral function, nor has the PECS protocol been modified to target functions of problem behaviors other than access to tangibles, using a functional communication training (FCT) format. In the present study, a multiple baseline design across children with an additional reversal control was used to assess the effects of PECS alone and in combination with FCT upon problem behavior. Following FA baselines, each child was taught PECS, presented with FCT using PECS, then presented with reversal, and finally presented with FCT again. Results suggested that the children’s problem behavior decreased or remained level during PECS training. Further decreases in problem behavior were found during the modified PECS + FCT training. In addition, all of the children’s problem behavior increased upon FCT reversal, then decreased upon return to FCT.


External grant: Charlop, M. H. Social Skills at the Claremont Autism Center, Leon Strauss Clinic.

Social Skills is a medically prescribed, necessary treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  The Social Skills Programs at The Leon Strauss Foundation Clinic now provides three types of social skills programs: Social Skills Group for young children with autism spectrum disorder(ASD), Social Skills Group for higher functioning children with ASD, and Social Skills for moderate-lower functioning children with ASD.   These programs are the only evidence-based social skills program in the catchment area and children with ASD from 3 to 14 years of age are participating here.  We are one of only a few programs that accepts children with behavior problems, a common symptom of all levels on the autism spectrum.  Parents of children with problem behaviors such as aggression, tantrums, noncompliance, self-injurious behavior, stereotypy (e.g. making loud noises) now have a place where their children can be treated for their behavior that keeps them out of social and community settings.

Conger, J.A. (2016) "Narcissism - A Necessary But Precarious Requirement for Leading at the Top", Talent Quarterly, issue 8.

Abstract: There is strong evidence that individuals who are highly narcissistic are more likely to emerge as senior level leaders primarily because of their more profound needs for dominance, recognition and grandiosity. Their sense of superiority leads them to risk taking and bold actions characteristic of transformational leaders. In the drive to achieve a bold vision or transformational change, narcissistic leaders within large complex organizations, however, often suffer from a failure to grossly underestimate critical sources of political resources. Their sense of independence, exaggerated self-confidence and conviction in the rightness of their visions or initiatives leads them to under invest in aligning stakeholders, building coalitions of support, and comprehending the full scope of resources required for success. This article examines these liabilities and offers recommendations to address them.


Conger, J. A. and E.E. Lawler. “Human Resource Management: The Role of Boards.” The Handbook of Board Governance: A Comprehensive Guide for Public, Private and Not for Profit Board Members, edited by R. LeBlanc, Wiley, 2016, 501-513.

Abstract: Along with the intellectual and knowledge property they create, human capital has become the most important intangible asset that most corporations possess. Yet surprisingly little corporate boardroom time is spent on human capital issues. Even when boards take important strategic decisions, they rarely consider the overall workforce and talent management issues that are relevant to these decisions. In essence, boards are ‘missing in action’ when it comes to monitoring human capital. Instead research shows that boards have a narrow focus on simply two human capital topics: executive compensation and CEO succession. As a result, they overlook most of the human capital issues that drive the performance success of their organizations. These include the monitoring most of the talent in organizations, its condition and how it is managed, its level of engagement, development, and retention. Our research suggests that boards lack both the HR information and expertise to assess human capital requirements and consistently fail to get these from outside experts, their human resource systems, and HR executives. In order for most boards to be effective in dealing with critical human capital issues, major changes are needed.  This chapter examines the areas where boards need to greatly increase their information, knowledge, and focus on human capital issues to monitor the state of talent.

Costanzo, Mark, Iris Blandón-Gitlin, and Deborah Davis. "The Purpose, Content, and Effects of Expert Testimony on Interrogations and Confessions." Advances in Psychology and Law, Springer International Publishing, 2016, 141-178.

Abstract: The purpose of expert testimony is to provide an overview of the research literature in a way that helps jurors evaluate the credibility of a particular defendant’s disputed confession. We begin by discussing the admissibility of expert testimony and how judges decide whether to allow expert testimony at trial. We then review the substantial research literature on interrogations and confessions emphasizing its usefulness for helping jurors understand why a suspect might falsely admit to committing a crime. Areas covered include bases of police power, interrogation tactics and dynamics of the interrogation process, reshaping of the suspect’s decision process, vulnerability and resistance to false confession, interrogation-related regulatory decline, and suspect characteristics that raise the risk of a false confession (youth, mental impairment, mental illness, limited English proficiency, cultural differences, and being a member of a stereotyped minority group). We then examine research on juror beliefs and discuss how expert testimony educates jurors about what factors to consider when evaluating the credibility of a confession. Finally, we identify issues in need of further exploration. Although much is known about interrogation techniques and the conditions that elevate the risk of false confessions, researchers should explore issues of concern to the jurors who must evaluate a defendant’s confession.

Miscenko, D., and D.V. Day. “Identity and identification at work.” Organizational Psychology Review, 6, 2016, 215-247.

Abstract: Work identity and identification have generated a great deal of interest in the fields of organizational psychology and organizational behavior. Given several theoretical perspectives available to study work identity, the field has developed in somewhat haphazard fashion with independent streams of research investigating the same or highly similar phenomena. In the present review, we provide a broad overview of theoretical approaches and topics in work identity literature to inform and guide future integration. We review over 600 published articles and organize the literature along two dimensions: level of identity inclusiveness (i.e., individual, interpersonal, and collective) and static/dynamic approaches to identity change. Within each review category, a brief summary of extant research is provided, along with suggestions for future research.

Corriveau, K., G. Min*, J. Chin*, and S.N. Doan. “Do as I do, not as I say: Actions speak louder than words in preschoolers learning from others.” Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 143, 2016, 179-187.

Abstract: To date, no research has examined children’s imitative abilities in the context of learning self-regulatory strategies from adults—especially when there is a conflict between communicative intent and later behavior. A sample of 84 4- and 5-year-olds performed a delay-of-gratification task after observing an adult perform the same task. Across four between-participants conditions, the model either did or did not state her intention to complete the task (positive vs. negative communication), modeled self-regulatory strategies, and then either did or did not complete the task successfully (positive vs. negative outcome). Children in the positive outcome conditions were more likely to imitate the novel strategies and successfully wait in both familiar and unfamiliar self-regulation tasks irrespective of the model’s communicated intent. We discuss implications for practice and interventions.


Curtis, D., T. Fuller-Rowell, S.N. Doan, A. Zgierska, and C. Ryff. “Racial and socioeconomic disparities in body mass index among college students: Understanding the role of early life adversity.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 2016, 866-875.

Abstract: The role of early life adversity (ELA) in the development of health disparities has not received adequate attention. The current study examined differential exposure and differential vulnerability to ELA as explanations for socioeconomic and racial disparities in body mass index (BMI). Data were derived from a sample of 150 college students (Mage = 18.8, SD = 1.0; 45 % African American; 55 % European American) who reported on parents’ education and income as well as on exposure to 21 early adverse experiences. Body measurements were directly assessed to determine BMI. In adjusted models, African American students had higher BMI than European Americans. Similarly, background socioeconomic status was inversely associated with BMI. Significant mediation of group disparities through the pathway of ELA was detected, attenuating disparities by approximately 40 %. Furthermore, ELA was more strongly associated with BMI for African Americans than for European Americans. Efforts to achieve health equity may need to more fully consider early adversity.


Doan, S.N., N. Dich*, and G.W. Evans. “Stress of stoicism: High persistence in the context of low emotionality leads to higher allostatic load.” Applied Developmental Science, 20, 2016, 310-317.

Abstract: The present longitudinal study examined the combined effects of task persistence and negative emotionality (NE) on allostatic load (AL), a physiological indicator of chronic stress. In line with John Henryism theory, we hypothesized that high persistence combined with low NE may be indicative of a high-effort coping style, leading to high arousal of the nervous system and, as a consequence, increased AL. Mothers reported on children’s NE (N = 158, 72 females) at age 9. Persistence was measured at age 9 using a behavioral measure assessing persistence on an impossible task. AL was measured at ages 9 and 17. The AL measure captured hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, sympathetic adrenal medullary system, cardiovascular, and metabolic activity. Consistent with previous research, persistence protected against high AL in the context of high NE. However, combined with low NE, high behavioral persistence was associated with higher physiological stress. Our results have implications for both clinical and intervention contexts.


Hofmann, S., S.N. Doan, M. Sprung, A. Wilson, C. Ebesutani, et al. “Training children’s theory of mind: A meta-analysis of controlled studies.” Cognition, 150, 2016, 200-212.

Abstract: Theory-of-mind (ToM) refers to knowledge and awareness of mental states in oneself and others. Various training programs have been developed to improve ToM in children. In the present study, we conducted a quantitative review of ToM training programs that have been tested in controlled studies. A literature search was conducted using PubMed, PsycInfo, the Cochrane Library, and manual searches.

We identified 32 papers with 45 studies or experiments that included 1529 children with an average age of 63 months (SD = 28.7). ToM training procedures were more effective than control procedures and their aggregate effect size was moderately strong (Hedges’ g = 0.75, CI = 0.60–0.89, p < .001). Moderator analyses revealed that although ToM training programs were generally effective, ToM skill-related outcomes increased with length of training sessions and were significantly higher in active control studies. ToM training procedures can effectively enhance ToM in children.


Liu, C.H., R. Giallo, S.N. Doan, L.J. Seidman, and E. Tronick. “Racial and ethnic differences in prenatal life stress and postpartum depression symptoms.” Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 30, 2016, 7-12.

Abstract: This study determined the risk of core depression symptoms based on life stress domains during pregnancy and whether stressors varied by race/ethnicity. The sample consisted of 2,344 White, African American, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander (API) Massachusetts women who recently gave birth. African Americans and Hispanics who endorsed high relational and high financial stress were more likely to report high depressed mood and loss of interest; high physical stress was associated with high depressed mood among API. Screening based on life stress domains may be informative in determining risk for core depression symptoms during the postpartum period especially for minority groups.


Otto, Michael W., Abraham Eastman, Stephen Lo, Bridget A. Hearon, Warren K. Bickel, Michael Zvolensky, Jasper A.J. Smits, and Stacey N. Doan. "Anxiety sensitivity and working memory capacity: Risk factors and targets for health behavior promotion." Clinical Psychology Review 49, 2016, 67-78.

Abstract: Understanding the nature and influence of specific risk profiles is increasingly important for health behavior promotion. The purpose of this article is to document the value of two factors—anxiety sensitivity (AS) and working memory capacity (WMC)—for enhancing risk for the initiation and/or maintenance of a range of negative health behaviors. AS is a distress-related risk factor that potentiates avoidance/coping motivations for negative health behaviors. Stress provides the conditions for negative somatic and affective states, and AS amplifies the aversiveness of these experiences and correspondingly hinders adaptive functioning. In contrast, low WMC is hypothesized to exert its effect by decreasing the capacity to filter out current temptations, attenuating a focus on longer-term goals and impairing the application of relevant coping skills at times of stress. In this review, we provide conceptual models for the separate roles of high AS and low WMC in negative health behaviors, review the influence of these factors on specific health behavior exemplars (eating behaviors/obesity, physical activity, smoking, alcohol use, and sleep promotion), provide preliminary evidence for their value as independent treatment targets for health-behavior promotion, and encourage specific research directions in relation to these variables.


External grant: NIH: National Institute of Drug Abuse. “Rescuing affective and cognitive processes to influence smoking prevention.” 2016-2018. Role: Co-Principal Investigator Total costs: $458,928.

The current proposal provides innovation interventions capitalizing on improving working memory, and emotion regulation abilities in low income minority youth, with the goal of improving health behaviors.

Harris, A. and S.L. Lim. “Temporal dynamics of sensorimotor networks in effort-based cost-benefit valuation: Early emergence and late net value integration.” Journal of Neuroscience. 36(27), 2016, 7167-7183.

Abstract: Although physical effort can impose significant costs on decision-making, when and how effort cost information is incorporated into choice remains contested, reflecting a larger debate over the role of sensorimotor networks in specifying behavior. Serial information processing models, in which motor circuits simply implement the output of cognitive systems, hypothesize that effort cost factors into decisions relatively late, via integration with stimulus values into net (combined) value signals in dorsomedial frontal cortex (dmFC). In contrast, ethology-inspired approaches suggest a more active role for the dorsal sensorimotor stream, with effort cost signals emerging rapidly after stimulus onset. Here we investigated the time course of effort cost integration using event-related potentials in hungry human subjects while they made decisions about expending physical effort for appetitive foods. Consistent with the ethological perspective, we found that effort cost was represented from as early as 100 –250 ms after stimulus onset, localized to dorsal sensorimotor regions including middle cingulate, somatosensory, and motor/premotor cortices. However, examining the same data time-locked to motor output revealed net value signals combining stimulus value and effort cost approximately ~400 ms before response, originating from sensorimotor areas including dmFC, precuneus, and posterior parietal cortex. Granger causal connectivity analysis of the motor effector signal in the time leading to response showed interactions between these sensorimotor regions and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, a structure associated with adjusting behavior–response mappings. These results suggest that rapid activation of sensorimotor regions interacts with cognitive valuation systems, producing a net value signal reflecting both physical effort and reward contingencies.


Harris A, D.B. Vyas*, and C.L. Reed. “Holistic processing for bodies and body parts: New evidence from stereoscopic depth manipulations.” Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 23(5), 2016, 1513-1519.

Abstract: Although holistic processing has been documented extensively for upright faces, it is unclear whether it occurs for other visual categories with more extensive substructure, such as body postures. Like faces, body postures have high social relevance, but they differ in having fine-grain organization not only of basic parts (e.g., arm) but also subparts (e.g., elbow, wrist, hand). To compare holistic processing for whole bodies and body parts, we employed a novel stereoscopic depth manipulation that creates either the percept of a whole body occluded by a set of bars, or of segments of a body floating in front of a background. Despite sharing low-level visual properties, only the stimulus perceived as being behind bars should be holistically "filled in" via amodal completion. In two experiments, we tested for better identification of individual body parts within the context of a body versus in isolation. Consistent with previous findings, recognition of body parts was better in the context of a whole body when the body was amodally completed behind occluders. However, when the same bodies were perceived as floating in strips, performance was significantly worse, and not significantly different, from that for amodally completed parts, supporting holistic processing of body postures. Intriguingly, performance was worst for parts in the frontal depth condition, suggesting that these effects may extend from gross body organization to a more local level. These results provide suggestive evidence that holistic representations may not be "all-or-none," but rather also operate on body regions of more limited spatial extent.

Hwang, W.  “Culturally adapting evidence-based practices for ethnic minority and immigrant families.” Evidence-based psychological practice with ethnic minorities: culturally informed research and clinical strategies, edited by N. Zane, G. Bernal, and F. Leong, American Psychological Association Press, 2016, 289-308.

Abstract: Historically, psychotherapy was developed from a primarily Western and European perspective. Because great diversity exists internationally as well as within the United States, finding a way to culturally adapt psychotherapy to improve treatment engagement and outcomes is of critical importance. Research demonstrates that ethnic minorities are less likely to receive quality health services and evidence worse treatment outcomes when compared with European Americans. Moreover, relatively little is known about the efficacy of evidence-based psychological practices for ethnic minorities and immigrants, as opposed to European Americans, regarding whom considerable progress has been made in establishing and defining effective and possibly efficacious treatments. Unfortunately, few models have been developed to help clinical researchers and practitioners systematically adapt psychological treatments for immigrants and other diverse clientele. The field needs to make a shift from what Resnicow, Baranowski, Ahluwalia, and Braithwaite (1999) called surface structure adaptations (e.g., providing ethnically matched therapists, conducting therapy in a client’s native language, designing clinics to be culturally aesthetic, locating clinics in neighborhoods that are easily accessible) to deep structure adaptations (e.g., incorporating the ideas, beliefs, and values of the culture into the treatment). Deep structure adaptations are much more difficult to understand, conceptualize, and implement. Nevertheless, deep structure adaptations have more potential for improving outcomes and tailoring treatment to match the client’s background. Currently, few frameworks that guide deep structural adaptations exist. One of the first approaches was developed by Bernal, Bonilla, and Bellido (1995) and focused on eight dimensions in which adaptation can take place: language, persons, metaphors, content, file concepts, goals, methods, and context. More recently, Hwang (2006b) developed the top-down and theory-driven psychotherapy adaptation and modification framework (PAMF) and later integrated it with the community-based and bottom-up formative method for adapting psychotherapy The purpose of this chapter is to discuss how the integrative PAMF and FMAP approaches can be used to culturally adapt psychotherapy for diverse populations.


Hwang, W. Culturally adapting psychotherapy for Asian heritage populations: An evidence-based approach. Academic Press (an imprint of Elsevier press), 2016.

Abstract: This book is about culturally adapting psychotherapy and learning how to individualize therapy for diverse populations. In covering this topic, a primary focus of this book is placed on developing a broad and comprehensive understanding of how to culturally adapt psychotherapy for diverse populations, immigrants, and ethnic minorities. Many of the models, frameworks, and principles that I will discuss will be broad enough that they can be readily applied and will have general clinical utility with many different groups. However, the central focus of this book will be on developing a deep structural understanding of how to culturally adapt psychotherapy for Asian heritage populations. The goals are to help practitioners, researchers, and scientist-practitioners alike develop an intuitive understanding of cultural adaptations both broadly and deeply. There are many books out there that discuss culturally competent treatment for diverse populations, and that provide separate chapters covering different racial or ethnocultural groups. Although this can be advantageous because it allows for breadth of understanding, they often leave readers with a superficial or stereotyped understanding of how to work with specific populations. Practitioners who want and need cultural competency are often left wondering what to actually do and what to say when they are working with diverse populations in the therapy room. They are often unsure of how to utilize the general or stereotyped information provided in a concrete and specific manner. This book is different because the central focus is on providing practical, concrete, and clinically useful strategies that will help practitioners improve their clinical-cultural skills. The book’s emphasis is on culturally adapting psychotherapy for Asian heritage populations, a racial group consisting of many different ethnicities and national origins. It is important to note that there are many similarities across Asian groups, as well as many differences. A lesser focus is placed on understanding each and every one of these different Asian groups, while a greater focus is placed on understanding some of the similarities that cut across Asian heritage populations. A culturally competent therapist is a person who not only possesses concrete and specific knowledge about different cultural groups, but also understands how to think critically about the complex interplay of cultural and clinical issues. Specifically, they are able to take generic or stereotyped information, understand the broader context, while still being able to individualize therapy for the client. A culturally competent therapist is also able to process information and utilize a flexible mind set and framework to improve their ability to engage clients, improve therapeutic relationships, and be clinically effective. They are also cognizant to their own cultural biases, and possess a certain level of cultural self-awareness.


External grant: Hwang, W.  (Co-PI, 2015-2016).  Bin Xie (Co-PI) and Yawen Li (Co-PI) ($25,000 direct costs).  Culturally Appropriate Strategies for Chinese Americans with Diabetes (CASCADe) project.  AHMC Healthcare Inc.

Asian Americans (AAs) are the fastest growing racial group in the United States (U.S.), with Chinese Americans (CAs) representing the largest ethnic group. California houses the most AAs in the U.S., and eight out of 10 cities with the highest proportion of CAs are located in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley. CAs have higher odds of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to non-Hispanic Whites despite having lower age- and sex-adjusted body mass index. Moreover CAs also has a higher prevalence rate of undiagnosed diabetes (11.4%) compared to the national average (3.8%). Although culturally adapted intervention programs have been developed and demonstrated significant effects on glycemic control and diabetes self-care in Hispanic and African American populations, very limited efforts on cultural adaptations of evidence-based diabetes interventions have been made for Chinese Americans, leading to uniformed and scientifically untested assumptions that existing diabetes programs will be as effective for Chinese Americans as for other groups. Culturally adapted programs are especially important for AAs because Eastern and Western culture differs greatly on health beliefs and practice, dietary and physical activity preferences. In addition, traditional methods of delivering these programs have been less successful due to high dropout rate, poor adherence to treatment and lack of sustained self-monitoring of behaviors. Short text and multimedia messages through mobile phone renders a convenient and effective means to deliver health education messages and has shown promising effects in encouraging self-monitoring and promoting healthy behaviors.  In response to the Call for Proposals of the AHMC Health Foundation to enhance the health and wellbeing of our Communities, we request seed money to implement and evaluate a diabetes self-management program for Chinese American Patients with Type 2 Diabetes with particular emphasis on cultural appropriateness and delivery innovation. Three specific aims for this proposal are:

(Aim 1) Develop and pilot test smart phone based text-messaging delivery system.

(Aim 2) Develop a culturally adapted behavioral intervention program that emphasizes on systematic cultural adaptation and family and peer-based support system.

(Aim 3) Conduct a small-scaled randomized control trial with repeated assessments (pre and post test) to evaluate the implementation process and the efficacy of the culturally tailored diabetes behavioral education program among 60 Chinese diabetes patients.

Kanaya, Tomoe. "Discussing the Flynn Effect: From Causes and Interpretation to Implications." Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives 14.2, 2016, 67-69.


Abstract: Clark, Lawlor-Savage and Goghari (in press) outline several of the current theories surrounding the Flynn effect, a systematic rise in IQ seen since World War I.  Through their analysis, they point out the difficulties in determining the cause of the rise, and to be "appropriately disillusioned" when interpreting them. While the cause and interpretation of the Flynn effect may continue to be inconclusive, it is clear that it has many real-world implications in the United States and potentially throughout the world.     

Krauss, D., and E. Landis. “[Vignette 2a & 10c]: Commentary on ethical vignette.” The ethical practice of forensic psychology: A casebook, edited by G. Pirelli, R. Beattey,  and P. Zapf, Oxford University Press, 55-56, 333-334.


Lieberman, J., D. Krauss, M. Sakiyama, and M. Heen. “The good, the bad, and the ugly: Professional perceptions of ideal, acceptable, and unacceptable jury decision making research.” Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 34, 2016, 495-514.

Abstract: This article reports results from a survey measuring the acceptability of jury decision-making research practices. Historically, there has been wide variability in the methodology used to conduct experimental jury decision-making research. Samples can be drawn from different populations, the format of stimulus materials can vary, key elements of a trial, including jury instructions and deliberation, can be omitted, and different types of dependent measures can be used to assess decisions. The acceptability of evaluating different approaches for conducting research ultimately becomes a subjective process. The present study sought to identify professional standards regarding acceptable and unacceptable research practices by assessing the perceptions of individuals involved in conducting, reviewing, and publishing jury research. Overall, respondents (N = 74) placed greater weight on internal rather than ecological validity, and rated the utilization of theory to guide research as the most important factor. The inclusion of jury instructions was rated as the most important specific trial element, while deliberations received the least support. The findings present a guide for researchers designing materials, provide a framework for objective evaluation of manuscripts based on professional standards, offer guidance to courts seeking to determine the general acceptance of jury decision making research methodologies, and create a foundation for the development of more standardized practices in the field.


Scurich, N., J. Gongola, and D. Krauss. “The biasing effect of the ‘Sexually Violent Predator’ label on legal decisions.” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 47, 2016, 109-114.

Abstract: Public fear has driven legislation designed to identify and exclude sexual offenders from society, culminating in sexually violent predator (SVP) statutes, in which a sex offender who has served his prison sentence is hospitalized indefinitely if a jury determines that he is likely to reoffend as a result of a mental disorder. Jurors rarely vote not to commit a previously-convicted sex offender as an SVP. This study tests whether the mere label of “sexually violent predator” affects these legal decisions. Venire jurors (n=161) were asked to decide whether an individual who had been incarcerated for 16 years should be released on parole. The individual was either labeled as a.) a sexually violent predator or b.) a convicted felon, and all other information was identical between the conditions. Jurors were over twice as likely to deny parole to the SVP compared to the felon, even though they did not consider him anymore dangerous or anymore likely to reoffend. Demographic variables did not moderate this finding. However, jurors' desire to ‘get revenge’ and to ‘make the offender pay’, as measured by Gerber and Jackson's (2013) Just Deserts Scale, did significantly relate to decisions to deny parole. These findings suggest that jurors' decisions in SVP hearings are driven by legally impermissible considerations, and that the mere label of “sexually violent predator” induces bias into the decision making process.

Levin, S., N. Kteily, F. Pratto, J. Sidanius, and M. Matthews. “Muslims’ emotions toward Americans predict support for Hezbollah and Al Qaeda for threat-specific reasons.” Motivation and Emotion, 40, 2016, 162-177.

Abstract: Using a random sample of 243 Muslims in Lebanon and Syria, we examined whether support for Hezbollah or for Al Qaeda is predicted by functionally-relevant emotional responses to specific threats perceived to be posed by Americans.  In line with the sociofunctional approach, perceived resource domination threat from Americans elicited anger, and perceived value contamination threat elicited disgust/contempt toward Americans. Importantly, these intergroup emotions in turn differentially predicted support for Hezbollah and Al Qaeda through desires for the organizations to accomplish different goals to address the threat perceptions. Specifically, anger toward Americans predicted support for Hezbollah through desires for the organization to restore threatened symbolic resources by bringing pride and respect to Arabs.  In contrast, disgust/contempt toward Americans predicted support for Al Qaeda through desires for the organization to protect threatened ingroup values by de-contaminating Islam from Western cultural influence. Theoretical explanations and implications for addressing and mitigating hostilities between the groups are discussed.


Sidanius, J., N. Kteily, S. Levin, F. Pratto, and M. Obaidi. “Support for asymmetric violence among Arab populations: The clash of cultures, social identity, or counterdominance?” Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 19(3), 2016, 343-359.

Abstract: Using a random sample of 383 Muslims and Christians in Lebanon and Syria, we explored the degree of public support for two distinct kinds of asymmetric violence—'fundamentalist violence' and 'resistance violence'—against the United States as a function of three explanatory narratives: a clash of cultures narrative, social identity/self-categorization theory, and a counterdominance perspective. Multiple regression analyses showed that the factors most closely associated with support of asymmetric violence among Arab populations was very much dependent upon the type of asymmetric violence. Among both Christians and Muslims, the results showed that perceived incompatibility between Arab and American cultures was the best predictor of support for fundamentalist violence, while perceived American domination of the Arab world was the distinctly strongest predictor of support for resistance violence. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Harris, A., D. Vyas, and C.L. Reed. “Holistic processing of body postures and parts.” Psychological Bulletin and Review, 3, 2016, 1513–1519.

Abstract: Although holistic processing has been documented extensively for upright faces, it is unclear whether it occurs for other visual categories with more extensive substructure, such as body postures. Like faces, body postures have high social relevance, but they differ in having fine-grain organization not only of basic parts (e.g., arm) but also subparts (e.g., elbow, wrist, hand). To compare holistic processing for whole bodies and body parts, we employed a novel stereoscopic depth manipulation that creates either the percept of a whole body occluded by a set of bars, or of segments of a body floating in front of a background. Despite sharing low-level visual properties, only the stimulus perceived as being behind bars should be holistically “filled in” via amodal completion. In two experiments, we tested for better identification of individual body parts within the context of a body versus in isolation. Consistent with previous findings, recognition of body parts was better in the context of a whole body when the body was amodally completed behind occluders. However, when the same bodies were perceived as floating in strips, performance was significantly worse, and not significantly different, from that for amodally completed parts, supporting holistic processing of body postures. Intriguingly, performance was worst for parts in the frontal depth condition, suggesting that these effects may extend from gross body organization to a more local level. These results provide suggestive evidence that holistic representations may not be “all-or-none,” but rather also operate on body regions of more limited spatial extent.


External grant: 2016-2019 Primary Investigator, IUSE NSF “Collaborative Proposal: Preparing Undergraduates for Research in STEM-related fields Using Electrophysiology (PURSUE),” $600,000.

Project Summary: Overview. Dissemination and implementation of best practices is a key challenge facing STEM undergraduate education.  This is particularly true for the field of Cognitive Neuroscience, for which few courses that engage undergraduates in authentic research experience exist.  This paucity is likely due to the difficulty of adapting existing graduate-level materials for an undergraduate audience and the relative isolation of faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs).  An additional challenge is that cognitive neuroscience methodologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and cognitive electrophysiology  require understanding of both complex conceptual knowledge and technical skills, and current undergraduate training opportunities emphasize primarily technical skills over conceptual learning outcomes. Preparing Undergraduates for Research in Stem-related fields using Electrophysiology (PURSUE) is an initiative with goals to disseminate and implement best practices in Cognitive Electrophysiology education for undergraduates with the aim of increasing the quality and number of training opportunities for undergraduates, and increasing research outcomes at primarily undergraduate institutions that involve undergraduate co-authors. Specific Aims. To meet these goals, the PURSUE team will 1) Design an open-access lab-based course that integrates both conceptual knowledge and technical skills. This course will implement evidence-based practices based on a framework in which student learning is knowledge-centered, learner-centered, community centered and assessment-centered.1 2) Create an open-access database of results from 6 classic ERP experiments that have been optimized in terms of best practices in experimental design and produce highly reliable results. These data will form the basis of lab activities and will include a variety of individual difference measures that can also be used for student-generated hypothesis testing. 3) Establish a learning community of faculty at 6 different PUIs to create, implement and revise course materials in an iterative fashion and to establish a supportive environment to facilitate shared discussions of pedagogy and research involving undergraduates 4) Host a yearly reception at a major conference that will be open to interested faculty and students to discuss issues related to training undergraduates in Cognitive Electrophysiology in both class and lab and to encourage faculty to implement the best practices in their teaching and research. 5) Create a website to disseminate the course materials and to facilitate peer-support for teaching undergraduates cognitive electrophysiology.  Intellectual Merit. This project’s products will fill a major gap in the needs of faculty desiring to provide students with skills relevant for lab research. PUIs often attract top students who go on to R1 graduate schools and careers in science, and the small faculty-student ratio at PUIs is ideal for intensive hands-on research training. Cognitive electrophysiology involves comparatively inexpensive and accessible methodologies for investigating the neural correlates of human cognition. Because the basis of EEG/ERP experimental design and analysis transfers directly to other neuroimaging methods (e.g., fMRI), exposure to these techniques provides a much-needed foundation for cognitive neuroscience research in general. Broader Impacts. Our products will provide PUI faculty the opportunity to train students with research-relevant skills even if they do not have an EEG lab available to them. Students will gain transferable skills to STEM-related jobs and graduate programs. Access to these resources may also enhance faculty retention by improving the quality of their teaching, student training, and research publications with student authors. Further, PURSUE will create a student-centered, nation-wide collaborative learning community that uses flexible cognitive neuroscience teaching materials and electrophysiological data for integration into courses in a variety of psychology and neuroscience sub-disciplines.

Riggio, R.E. “Charisma.” Encyclopedia of Mental Health (2nd ed.), edited by H.S. Friedman, New York: Elsevier, 2016: 229-234.


Riggio, R.E. “Leadership.” Encyclopedia of Mental Health (2nd ed.), edited by H.S. Friedman, New York: Elsevier, 2016, 1-4.


Riggio, R.E. and A. Darioly. “Measuring nonverbal sensitivity.” APA Handbook of Nonverbal Communication, edited by D. Matsumoto, H.C. Hwang, and M.G. Frank, American Psychological Association, 2016.

Abstract: This chapter reviews the various means that nonverbal communication researchers have used to assess nonverbal sensitivity, which involves abilities to read and decode nonverbal cues in others. The review of methods will be divided into several parts.  The first will focus on performance-based measures of nonverbal sensitivity.  The second type of nonverbal sensitivity measures reviewed will be self-report methods.  We will also review research methods designed to assess nonverbal cues of personality and attitudes, as well as the construct of empathic accuracy.  We will discuss the strengths and limitations of each methodology and briefly review key research findings.  Finally, we will discuss the core issues in assessing nonverbal sensitivity and discuss future directions for this line of research, including the use of automated decoding systems.


External Grant: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Fullerton Longitudinal Study (FLS), “Early Life Predictors of Adult Success,” Ronald Riggio, $50,000.

Abstract: A study begun in 1979—the Fullerton Longitudinal Study (FLS)—will explore the relationship between early life experiences and success as an adult. Funded with a $50,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the now 38-year-old participants, who entered the study as infants at age one, will participate in a detailed assessment of their adult lives. The FLS participants, who, along with their parents, were assessed every year of their childhood, and again at ages 17, 24, and 29, which yielded thousands of measurements of their education, family life, extracurricular experiences, and assessments of temperament and personality. The goal of the research is to study the impact of early life experiences on adult lives, with a focus on how early experiences affect educational attainment, career choice and trajectory, attainment of positions as leaders at work and in the community, family life, and perceptions of happiness, life satisfaction and success in life. Prior research on the FLS participants has found that motivation is a critical factor in pursuing higher education and in the attainment of positions of leadership. In addition, the study has found that the roots of adult leadership can be traced back to very early childhood temperament and experiences. This new research will continue to explore the role that early development plays in successful outcomes and lives as adults. The expectation is that this research will lead to early childhood development programs that will foster healthy and successful adult lives.

Umanath, S. “Age differences in suggestibility following contradictions to demonstrated knowledge: The influence of prior knowledge.” Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 23, 2016, 744-767.

Abstract: People maintain intact general knowledge into very old age and use it to support remembering. Interestingly, when older and younger adults encounter errors that contradict general knowledge,older adults suffer fewer memorial consequences: Older adults use fewer recently-encountered errors as answers for later knowledge questions. Why do older adults show this reduced suggestibility, and what role does their intact knowledge play? In three experiments, I examined suggestibility following exposure to errors in fictional stories that contradict general knowledge. Older adults consistently demonstrated more prior knowledge than younger adults but also gained access to even more across time. Additionally, they did not show a reduction in new learning from the stories, indicating lesser involvement of episodic memory failures. Critically, when knowledge was stably accessible, older adults relied more heavily on that knowledge compared to younger adults, resulting in reduced suggestibility.Implications for the broader role of knowledge in aging are discussed.


Umanath, S., J. Toglia, and M.A. McDaniel. “Training prospective memory for transfer.” Cognitive Training: An Overview of Features and Applications, edited by T. Strobach and J. Karbach, Springer International Publishing, 2016, 81-91.

Abstract: Prospective memory (PM) involves remembering to perform intended actions in the future. PM failures are especially problematic for older adults, both in terms of frequency of occurrence and severity of consequences.  As such, we tackle the challenge of developing a cognitive training program for PM specifically geared towards older adults. Departing from other popular cognitive training, our focus has been and continues to be on teaching effective and efficient strategies with the intention of promoting transfer to real world PM challenges.  We discuss several considerations in cognitive training including matching the type of PM task (focal or non-focal) with effective strategies, variability and characteristics of training materials, and differences in methods used to train strategies. For example, training can involve explicit direct instruction or guided instruction aimed at helping a person self-generate and self-evaluate strategy effectiveness. Existing data and ongoing work aimed at identifying the key intervention components that enhance successful outcomes are presented. A pilot metacognitive strategy intervention that guides participants in analysis of task demands and self-generation of strategies is described, along with future directions for research.

Valdesolo, Piercarlo & Jesse Graham, eds. Social Psychology of Political Polarization. Psychology Press, 2016.


Valdesolo, P., J. Park*, and S. Gottlieb, “Awe and Scientific Explanation,” Emotion. Vol 16(7), 2016, 937-940.

Abstract: Past research has established a relationship between awe and explanatory frameworks, such as religion.

We extend this work, showing (a) the effects of awe on a separate source of explanation: attitudes toward science, and (b) how the effects of awe on attitudes toward scientific explanations depend on individual differences in theism. Across 3 studies, we find consistent support that awe decreases the perceived explanatory power of science for the theistic (Study 1 and 2) and mixed support that awe affects attitudes toward scientific explanations for the nontheistic (Study 3).


Valdesolo, Piercarlo, Andrew Shtulman, and Andrew S. Baron. "Science is awe-some: The emotional antecedents of science learning." Emotion Review, 2016.


Wu, J.*, E. Paeng*, K. Linder, J.C. Boerkoel J.C., and P. Valdesolo. “Trust and Cooperation in Human-Robot Decision Making. Proceedings from Artificial Intelligence for Human-Robot Interaction, Arlington, VA, 2016.

Abstract: Trust plays a key role in social interactions, particularly when the decisions we make depend on the people we face. In this paper, we use game theory to explore whether a person’s decisions are influenced by the type of agent they interact with: human or robot. By adopting a coin entrustment game, we quantitatively measure trust and cooperation to see if such phenomena emerge differently when a person believes they are playing a robot rather than another human. We found that while people cooperate with other humans and robots at a similar rate, they grow to trust robots more completely than humans. As a possible explanation for these differences, our survey results suggest that participants perceive humans as having faculty for feelings and sympathy, whereas they perceive robots as being more precise and reliable.