Children use race and gender to form beliefs about social status, research finds

kids with arms around each other

The age when children begin to think about stereotypes and possibly shape them into individual beliefs is a crucial moment in their social development.

New research at UMass Amherst is trying to uncover at what point stereotypical beliefs may emerge, and how they can evolve into prejudicial attitudes.

As children learn about the world around them, they are paying attention to constructs of society like wealth, power, and access to resources. In a recent study, researchers have gained more insight into whether children consider race and gender when deciding how to rank the social status of an individual or group.

Preference for alcohol is encoded in reward-centered brain region

people drinking at wine bar

The likelihood of becoming addicted to alcohol varies widely from person to person, even when comparing people with similar health history. New research at UMass Amherst has uncovered a brain region that plays a role in determining how much alcohol a person is inclined to drink. This knowledge furthers our understanding of the brain mechanisms behind alcoholism, which could help to design future treatments.

Motherhood on the brain

mother holds baby at the beach

Scientists find that motherhood causes changes in the brain to make the mother prioritize her baby above all, including drugs 

New research from a team of scientists, including Mariana Pereira of psychological and brain sciences, suggests that having a baby causes a mother's brain to change to make the child her top priority. For mothers with drug addictions, this change in the brain can make them prioritize their baby over drugs. This research paves the way for future studies on postnatal mental health and substance abuse.

​Brien Goodwin awarded the 2020 Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy Student Diversity Award

Brien GoodwinBrien Goodwin has been awarded the 2020 Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (APA Division 29) Student Diversity Award for his published paper "Extending the context-responsive psychotherapy integration framework to cultural processes in psychotherapy." 

Alice E. Coyne receives grant to research facilitative interpersonal skill in psychotherapy

Alice CoyneAlice E. Coyne has been awarded a $5,000 research grant from the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (APA Division 29)! Her project, "Uncovering Trainable Therapist-Level Pathways to Improve Patient Outcomes" will examine why some psychotherapists have consistently better treatment outcomes than others. A therapist's level of facilitative interpersonal skill (FIS) may have an impact.

Linda Tropp serves on virtual panel 'Social psychological perspectives on the racism pandemic'


Linda Tropp, social psychologist, recently served on a virtual panel sponsored by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, entitled "Social psychological perspectives on the racism pandemic." Full video 

Also, in an episode of Mass Appeal, Tropp discussed the motivation behind recent protests calling for racial justice and an end to police violence against Black Americans.
Full video 

UMass Amherst and Partners Launch Summer Leadership Academy for Diverse Students in Technology and Engineering

person reading book in front of blackboard with math equations

Top tech and engineering firms join as sponsors in career development effort

A new leadership academy for students of color and women who are interested in careers in technology and engineering was launched today by the Institute of Diversity Sciences (IDS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Napping helps preschoolers unlock their full potential for learning

children sharing and playing with toys

Napping reboots the preschool brain and clears the deck for learning

For many parents of young children, the highlight of their day is nap time – not for them, but for their little ones. Especially now, with most preschools closed, getting a child to nap is the golden ticket. Not only can it mean uninterrupted work or self-care time for parents, but their unrecognizable tyrants often wake as happy campers after a nap.

More than skin deep — the psychological tolls of acne

woman looks out over balcony at city lights

Psychologist’s research finds that acne is linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety 

Danielle Samuels, and other researchers conducted a data analysis on the link between acne and anxiety and depression. This is the first study definitively connecting acne and mental health problems. The authors of the study hope their research helps clinicians treat the psychological effects of acne in their patients.