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.

Tammy Rahhal awarded 2020 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Tammy Rahhal

Tamara (Tammy) Rahhal, senior lecturer II, associate chair of teaching, chief undergraduate advisor in the department of psychological and brain sciences (PBS), is one of five University of Massachusetts faculty awarded the 2020 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching for their exemplary dedication to students and the university. The faculty members—one from each UMass campus—will receive $10,000 awards in recognition of their commitment to academic excellence. Rahhal is also a TIDE (Teaching for Inclusiveness, Diversity & Equity) Ambassador.

We must stand together to end racism

figures join hands

We are heartbroken and outraged by the recent killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, and the numerous deaths and acts of violence repeatedly endured by the Black community. These horrific events, along with the inequalities brought to light through the pandemic, highlight just how unacceptably far we are from achieving a society in which each of us has the opportunity to fully and safely reach our aspirations.