Category: Psychology

Kaitlyn Roose Discusses The Psychology of Esports in APA Podcast

Russell Shilling, PhD, guest host for Speaking of Psychology and chief scientific officer for the American Psychological Association, sat down at APA2019 to talk with Shawn Doherty, PhD, and Kaitlyn Roose, MS, to discuss the psychology of esports, the benefits of gaming on higher level cognition and the culture of video games.

If you would like to listen to the full podcast, click here.  The link also provides a full transcript and video of the interview.


ACSHF Students Present Research at Society for Neuroscience Convention

Dr. Kevin Trewartha, Director of the Aging, Cognition, and Action Lab, accompanied by two of his current PhD candidates, Bridget Durocher and Isaac Flint, attended the Society for Neuroscience convention to present their research. This year represented the 50th annual convention, and it was held in Chicago, IL. This convention is one of the largest international conventions for the study of neuroscience with speakers and exhibitors from all around the world. Opportunities to meet Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 Eric Kandel for his work on signal transduction in the nervous system, global industry leaders in neuroscience technology, and leaders on the forefront of brain research were all part of this year’s experience.

Bridget Durocher presented preliminary findings of her research investigating whether acquisition, and short- and long-term retention measures of motor learning can distinguish between amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzehimer’s disease (AD), and healthy aging. The ultimate goal of this work is to potentially supplement existing neuropsychological measures for diagnosing AD. The need for additional or new techniques to diagnose AD in its earliest stages is essential in extending the quality of life for our future generations. The current standard testing procedures often miss the early onset phase of the disease process, leading many years of missed opportunities to manage the disease effectively. In the current project we are investigating whether the early stages of motor learning are affected by MCI and early AD, and whether those patients exhibit additional impairments in short-term (i.e., within session) and long-term (after a 24-hour delay) retention of a newly acquired motor skill. Initial results are encouraging, and support our hypothesis, but it should be stressed that these data are very preliminary.

Isaac Flint presented findings from work investigating whether younger and older adults differ in the ability to make optimal corrective actions for collision avoidance during reaching movements. This work showed that when making motor corrections in response to visual feedback perturbations, both older and younger adults are equally able to make optimal decisions when correcting their movements to avoid collisions with obstacles. However, older adults make less efficient movements indicated by longer movement times, exhibit increased rates of collision, and delayed electrophysiological responses to the visual feedback perturbations. The efficiency with which older adults made corrective actions was also correlated with cognitive measures of executive control, and processing speed. 

In addition to attending the conference Bridget and Isaac took some time to explore the city, learning to navigate Chicago’s public transportation, and visiting various spots including the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library, Little Italy, Millennium Park, downtown shops, and the lakefront. Having a diverse population to network with along with the unique cultural opportunities Chicago has to offer made this convention an excellent opportunity to explore both cognitive neuroscience and human factors. 


Psychology Undergraduate Honored as Departmental Scholar

At the end of each academic year, each department nominates one student to represent them as their Departmental Scholar. The Provost’s Award for Scholarship is given to a senior who best represents student scholarship at Michigan Tech. This outstanding student is considered excellent not only by academic standards, but also for participation in research scholarship activity, levels of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and communication skills.

This year, the Departmental Scholar award was given to psychology undergraduate student Hannah Kariniemi. Hannah may only be finishing her second year but has already accomplished a lot. She has achieved Junior status with an impressive GPA of 3.64 overall and 3.7 in the Major. Dr. Veinott who has Hannah in the Research Methods II course says “Hannah is motivated and diligent to chase down problems and figure them out”. She is also interning at the 97th Regional Treatment court and doing research with Dr. Amato-Henderson. Dr. Amato-Henderson says she hopes to guide Hannah through writing a manuscript to be submitted for publication. Hannah has also recently been inducted into Psi Chi (the International Honor Society in Psychology) and is also active in the Association for Psychology Students (APS). It is amazing how quickly Hannah is advancing here and she plans to continue in graduate school where she will continue working toward clinical psychology with an emphasis on judicial corrections and community health. Congratulations Hannah!


Art Therapy

As the semester is winding down, stress is ramping up. The Association for Psychology Students (APS) and the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences hosted an “art therapy” session in the Makerspace on Monday, April 22. Everyone had a great time getting to know each other, creating art, and making a mess. It was the perfect way to de-stress before finals.


New Inductees into the National Honor Society in Psychology

The Department of the Cognitive and Learning Sciences inducted five new members into Psi Chi, the international Honor Society in Psychology: Hannah Kariniemi, Lavanya Rajesh Kumar, Rose Hildebrandt, Shurti Amre, and Via Ouellette Ballas. The Induction ceremony took place at the Harold Meese Center on Tuesday, April 16. The Michigan Tech Chapter of Psi Chi is led by Abby Kuehne (President) and Caden Sumner (Treasurer) and advised by Dr. Kelly Steelman. For more information on Psi Chi, visit: https://www.psichi.org/default.aspx


In the News

Rylee Price

Michigan Tech Senior Mathematics and Psychology major, Rylee Price, joined the Huskies women’s volleyball club team in the spring of 2016. As featured in the Daily Mining Gazette April 12th article, Price states “The main objective of our club is to provide a fun yet competitive environment where people can just come and play volleyball, because it’s a really fun sport that people can play for a really long time”.  High school athletes looking to continue playing volleyball without playing at the varsity level can join and be a part of a club like Michigan Tech’s, since there is a more flexible schedule for students on the team. Players have time to complete their homework and practice when needed. Price mentions “We practice about three to four times a week, but our only mandatory practices are right before we travel, just to get a higher level of play going.”

The team recently competed in the WVC Tournament, where they went undefeated in the pool play. Price has learned a lot from adjusting from player to player and has become a good leader by helping her teammates improve their overall game. Price is in her final month with the team and she wants to let those considering the club know that you do not need to be the best athlete- you only need to love the game.


Honoring Darnishia Slade as this Week’s Teaching Showcase Member

Darnishia Slade, manager of Global Engagement Programs and ACSHF graduate student, has been selected by Lorelle Meadows, the Dean of Pavlis Honors college (PHC), to be this week’s showcase member!

Slade is a great role model for students. She brings encouragement and an engaging learning experiences to students in the classroom. Slade has been a part of the Honors college for sometime. she teaches the first Honors Seminar and the Capstone courses for students in the Global Leadership Pathway for students pursuing their Leadership minor. She continuously explores ways to improve the classroom experience and her excellence sense of student experience likely comes from her previous work in the academic and student affairs departments of the University. Meadows states “Darnishia Slade brings creativity and compassion into her teaching. She has influenced students both inside and outside the classroom, and uses these experiences and insights to affect change in our programs.”

Slade will be recognized at the end-of-term luncheon and is eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer.


CLS Congratulates PhD Candidate Lavanya Rajesh Kumar

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences would like to congratulate PhD student Lavanya Rajesh Kumar for her acceptance into Yale University’s Innovation to Impact Program!
Lavanya was selected for the prestigious program that is focused on entrepreneurship training in substance abuse research. Innovation to Impact at Yale was developed as a national program to provide education, mentorship, and seed funding to innovators. The program is open to scholars interested in both exploring what it takes to bring a product to market and applying creative solutions to combat substance abuse through the use of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, biomedical devices, app development, behavioral interventions, and public policy. The goal of the program is to help participants translate innovations from the lab to the real world.
Lavanya is currently attending the week long training program to work on her idea to develop an addiction prevention based product.
Click here to learn more about the Innovation to Impact program.

CLS Student Honored at 2019 Graduate Research Colloquium

Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences Student Catherine (Kay) Tislar was honored at the 11th annual Graduate Research Colloquium put on by the Graduate Student Government. Kay was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award for excellence in supporting graduate education.

The Graduate Research Colloquium offers graduate students from all departments an opportunity to present their research as well as to receive recognition for their accomplishments. 85 students representing 17 different academic schools participated in this year’s event.

Congratulations to Kay and the rest of the 2019 graduate student award recipients for their outstanding accomplishments.

A full list of those honored at the research colloquium can be found here.