Diversity

diversity and psychology club group photo

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts is strongly committed to the support and promotion of cultural diversity within the university and surrounding community. Cultural diversity encompasses differences and similarities in race, ethnicity, social class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and age. Within the department, attention and sensitivity to diversity issues are fostered in course offerings, undergraduate programs, faculty and graduate student research, and clinical practice. A core aspect of awareness and appreciation for diversity is that it promotes respect for others. Diversity is especially valued and encouraged in the student body, faculty, and staff because it enriches both educational experiences and the translation of psychological knowledge into practice.

Diversity News

Mélise Edwards, Brooke Burrows, and Jasmine Dixon receive Wendy Helmer Graduate Student Award

We are pleased to announce that Mélise Edwards, Brooke Burrows, and Jasmine Dixon (pictured left to right) were chosen as recipients of the Wendy Helmer Graduate Student Award! The awardees' fellow graduate students recognized their important contributions in PBS and in the broader community. They have been strong advocates for racial justice, and have worked tirelessly to address inequities in our community.

Stylianos Syropoulos awarded sixth annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award

Stelios posing in office with shelves of booksStylianos Syropoulos, a third-year student in the Psychology of Peace and Violence concentration in the Social Psychology program working with Dr. Bernhard Leidner, was awarded the sixth annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. His project, titled “De-polarizing" American Society: Emphasizing Intergroup Similarities versus Differences as a Mechanism for Decreasing Political Polarization and Hostility, will study whether an emphasis on the dissemination of psychological findings with a focus on intergroup similarities, and not differences, as is the norm of the field, can promote harmony and cooperation between Republican and Democrats. The ultimate goal of the project is to highlight ways through which the dissemination of psychological research can depolarize the American electorate.

Children’s Thoughts on Race and Social Status

Tara Mandalaywala
Dr. Tara Mandalaywala

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, the psychology departments at Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women, together with the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College, hosted Dr. Tara Mandalaywala, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Amherst, Massachusetts. In her lecture, “A Kid’s Eye View of Race and Social Status,” Dr. Mandalaywala shared her research on young children’s thoughts and observations on the important issues of race and social status, work that comes out of Dr. Mandalaywala’s Cognition Across Development Laboratory at UMass Amherst, which explores the development of social cognition across human and nonhuman primates. Her research examines how young individuals make sense of and cope with the complex social world around them.

Study shows predictors of cognitive decline in midlife women varied by race

women talking in sunny office

Cognitive decline, or the weakening of our ability to think, learn, pay attention, remember, or reason, over time can be predicted by certain health risks present in later life. Hypertension, diabetes, depressive symptoms, and smoking are all known predictors. Current research has not shown how these risk factors affect cognition in midlife and if there are differing results between racial groups. A better understanding of how these risk factors influence cognition in midlife could lead to more effective and timely health interventions. 

The Power of Contact, a new report by the International Organization for Migration

cover illustration, groups of people mingling outdoors

Linda Tropp, professor of social psychology at UMass Amherst, contributed her expertise to a new report by the International Organization for Migration, The Power of Contact: Designing, Facilitating and Evaluating Social Mixing Activities to Strengthen Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion Between Migrants and Local Communities | A Review of Lessons Learned. This report highlights the value of intergroup contact to promote integration and social cohesion.

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Buju Dasgupta interviewed on the Mind & Life Institute Podcast

portrait of Buju Dasgupta

Buju Dasgupta is interviewed on the Mind & Life Institute Podcast with Wendy Hasenkamp! 
 
They cover fascinating topics, including:

  • the crucial role of social environments on implicit bias; 
  • the malleability of implicit bias by changing key characteristics of our local environments;
  • turning research into social impact;
  • changing bias against women and underrepresented groups;
  • increasing cross-disciplinary collaboration to advance research on equity through the Institute of Diversity Sciences.

​​​​​​​Nilanjana Buju Dasgupta receives Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Award

Buju DasguptaNilanjana Buju Dasgupta has received the 2021-2022 Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Award! Congratulations!

A University of Massachusetts Amherst Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship provides faculty members with a unique opportunity to focus on their research or creative activities. These Fellowships are managed by the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement and provide a one-year release from teaching and service duties in addition to a cash award. Fellows are chosen based on their record of outstanding accomplishments in research and creative activity and on their potential for continued excellence, particularly with regard to the project that will be undertaken during the Fellowship period.

Addressing Power Differences May Spur Advantaged Racial Groups to Act in Support of Racial Equality

UMass Amherst research advances understanding of interracial contact and communication about inequality

sketch of human figures in many colors

When different groups of people come into contact, what’s the key to motivating advantaged racial groups to join historically disadvantaged racial minority groups to strive for racial equality and social justice? It’s a complex conundrum studied for years by social scientists like Linda Tropp, professor of social psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dr. Abbie Goldberg Appointed to Rudd Family Visiting Professorship for Spring 2021

Abbie GoldbergDr. Goldberg is the Jan and Larry Landry University Professor of Psychology at Clark University, where she is also the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Broadly, her research focuses on how a variety of social locations (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, social class) and contexts (e.g., work, family, community) shape processes of development and mental health.

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