Educational app levels the playing field for preschoolers

school children use tablets in classroom

Scientists find Khan Academy app can help bridge the education achievement gap for at-risk children, an important finding during coronavirus-induced remote learning 

As millions of families struggle to keep their children learning while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, preliminary results of a randomized, controlled study led by David Arnold, psychological and brain sciences, show that 4- and 5-year-olds from low income families who used a Khan Academy Kids App for three months at home achieved “substantial gains in their pre-literacy skills that brought them nearly to the national average.” 

Directors of UMass Amherst Public Engagement Project Explain How Scholars Can Better Share Research with Non-Academic Audiences

Global coronavirus pandemic creates critical need for researchers to engage with journalists, policymakers, practitioners and advocates

from left, Amy Schalet, Linda Tropp and Lisa Troy
From left: Amy Schalet, Linda Tropp, and Lisa Troy

With the United States and the world facing an unprecedented health and financial crisis due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and with universities scrambling with budget shortfalls, the past and present directors of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Public Engagement Project say that there has never been a more pressing moment for researchers to demonstrate their tangible value to communities and the public at large.

Tweet Blitz: Undergraduate Theses

student works with child on IPadDoes sleep microarchitecture in preschoolers differ across levels of nap habituality? It appears so! We found that habitual nappers (5+/wk) have more slow wave activity over their occipital lobes when compared to occasional or non-habitual nappers. —Noah Miranda

enkephalin neurons
enkephalin neurons (in green)

What does addiction look like in the brain? Fluorescently labeling subtypes of neurons that communicate between specific brain regions that regulate stress, reward, and motivation allows researchers to identify pharmacological targets for treating the behaviors underlying addiction. —Anthony Ferranti

2020 Psychology Major Senior Awards

Student Award Faculty/Grad Mentor
Elizabeth Alwan Overall Outstanding Senior Martins-Klein
Noah Miranda Overall Outstanding Senior Spencer
Deanna Ferrante Overall Outstanding Senior Woodman
Andrea Schlesinger Overall Outstanding Senior Rahhal
Sophie Jackson Outstanding Thesis Moorman
Sirisha Nouduri Outstanding Thesis Richardson
Kathleen Codair Outstanding Thesis Perry-Jenkins
Angela Mirisola Outstanding Thesis Grabell
Mary Kate Deighan Outstanding Thesis Spencer
Alessandra Chicos Outstanding Internship Woodman
Kate Schacterle RA Appreciation Grabell
Fiona Sleight RA Appreciation Isbell
Adrelys Mateo Santana RA Appreciation Grabell
Serene Elbach RA Appreciation Staub
Sarena Santos RA Appreciation Spencer
Olivia Comeau RA Appreciation Zaleznik
Casey Phillips TA Appreciation Metevier
Cassidy Chapman TA Appreciation Astheimer
Yashika Issrani TA Appreciation Burrows

Alumni Profile: Courtney Keeton ‘05PhD, Clinical Psychologist

Finding balance and new potential

Courtney Pierce-KeetonAs a clinical psychologist and researcher, Courtney Keeton ‘05PhD has made it her mission to better understand and treat anxiety in children and adolescents. With great passion for her clinical work, she guides families through interventions—empowering children with anxiety to overcome their fears and live fuller lives. She has also contributed to many significant research studies that helped to create an evidence-base for widely-used treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Investigating how estrogens in the brain affect auditory learning

Matheus Macedo-Lima
Matheus Macedo-Lima ‘20PhD

Gaining a deeper understanding of how the human brain processes language is key to treating and preventing problems that affect our brain, body, and quality of life. Matheus Macedo-Lima ‘20PhD and faculty member Luke Remage-Healey have reported in a recent issue of Hormones and Behavior that estradiol (an estrogen) production in the auditory brain region of the adult male zebra finch is essential for the learning of new sounds.

Video Messages of Support to PBS Students

professors play guitar, pet a dog, and go hiking

Hi Psychology Majors,

First of all, we hope you are doing well, wherever you are. The faculty and staff of PBS miss you! Know that we are here for you. Here is a little something we put together to hopefully make you smile and to let you know that we are in this together!

The PBS Faculty and Staff