University of Colorado Boulder

CU Psychology and Neuroscience Department News

April 2014

CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Daniel Leopold (Clinical, mentored by Erik Willcutt) was selected by the United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS) committee to receive a UGGS Top TA/GPTI (teaching assistant/graduate part-time instructor) award for 2014 for dedication to excellence in teaching at CU.


March 2014

CU Psychology and Neuroscience Distinguished Professor Linda Watkins (Behavioral Neuroscience) was in the popular press for receiving a patent through the CU Technology Transfer Office (along with campus collaborator Hubert Yin of Chemistry and Biochemistry) for novel drugs. These drugs can be useful as an independent treatment for chronic pain, and can lessen the addictive properties of current opioid narcotics. Read the CU press release about the patent.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Eliana Colunga (Cognitive) has been awarded a grant through CU-Boulder’s Innovative Seed Grant Program (IGP). For more information about this program, see the IGP website.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Irene Blair (Social) was in the news for a recent publication showing that minority patients did not receive differential treatment for hypertension, despite Doctors’ unsconscious biases in favor of whites. Read the CU-Boulder press release about the research, and/or the News Medical news item.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Dan Gustavson (Cognitive, mentored by Akira Miyake) was in the popular media for some research he and colleagues have done regarding procrastination. Dan is quoted in an article on PBS’s NewsHour website.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor (Behavioral Neuroscience) and department chair Theresa Hernández is giving a presentation at CU-Boulder Continuing Education’s “CU on the Weekend” series on Saturday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is part of a recurring series of free Saturday classes with CU-Boulder faculty sponsored by the Division of Continuing Education. Read more about this series, and check out the flyer for Professor Hernández’s presentation.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate students Jennifer Felder, Daniel Johnson, and Ashley Smith Watts (all Clinical) received matches at high-caliber clinical internship sites on the national matching day recently. They will be doing their internships at Duke University Medical School, Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital, and Alpert Medical School of Brown University, respectively.


February 2014

CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Sarah Grover (Social, co-mentors Tiffany Ito and Bernadette Park) was one of only 7 graduate students to win an award for best student poster at the recent Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) meeting in Austin, TX, for her poster entitled “Group Problem Solving in a Threatening Environment: Women’s Math Expertise is Discounted in Mixed Gender Groups.”


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Kent Hutchison (Clinical) was in the popular press commenting to Denver’s local ABC affiliate channel 7 on some research published by a different lab regarding the effects of THC on appetite. See the 7 News website article, which includes a link to the video interview.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Soo Rhee (Behavior Genetics, Clinical, and Institute for Behavioral Genetics fellow) and CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Ashley Smith Watts (Clinical) and several colleagues at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) were in the popular press for their research showing that shy toddlers who have delayed speech are not delayed in understanding. Read the CU press release for more details.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Yuko Munakata (Cognitive), was chosen to receive a Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA) Faculty Recognition Award. She was recognized for being a “productive researcher, faculty member and graduate advisor who still finds time to devote to ongoing service activities.” See a list of this academic year’s honorees.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience College Professor of Distinction Alice Healy (Cognitive) received a three-year grant from NASA to study the long-term training and retention of knowledge and skills in astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Other researchers involved in this project are CU Psychology and Neuroscience PhDs James Kole, now at the University of Northern Colorado, Vicki Schneider, Carolyn Buck-Gengler, and Immanuel Barshi, a technical officer at NASA’s Ames Research Center.


January 2014

As part of its community outreach program, CU-Boulder researchers from the Intermountain Neuroimaging Consortium, led by CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor and Director (on sabbatical this academic year) of the Institute of Cognitive Science Marie Banich (Cognitive), are speaking at the Louisville (CO) Public Library’s “CU at the Library” series on Thursday, January 23 at 7 p.m. Other speakers are CU Psychology and Neuroscience postdocs Jess Andrews-Hanna and Marina Lopez-Sola, as well as clinical area graduate student Hollis Karoly. Another presentation on Saturday, January 25 at 1 p.m. will be geared towards kids. To learn more, see the library’s calendar for these dates.


December 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience undergraduate Megan Morgenthaler (neuroscience major) received the Chancellor’s Recognition Award at CU-Boulder’s winter graduation ceremony. One of only two students to be so honored, the award is in recognition of achieving straight As during her college career.

November 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience Professor Emeritus Lyle Bourne (Cognitive) and College Professor of Distinction Alice Healy (Cognitive) are the authors of a book entitled Train Your Mind for Peak Performance: A Science-Based Approach for Achieving Your Goals published by APA Books. Read more about this volume.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience Professor Bernadette Park (Social) received a Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA) Recognition Award. She was recognized for “being instrumental in leading the development and execution of the data collection and study effort behind the faculty-student mentor program. The program would not have had a base for further study without her efforts,” according to BFA Chair Paul Chinowsky. Check out a list of the other awardees.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience postdoctoral researcher Peter Grace was in the news for his publication showing that the use of morphine after abdominal surgery can increase the time to recover from the surgical pain two- to three-fold. The research, conducted in the Maier-Watkins lab with assistance from professional research assistant Erika Galer, examines the mechanism leading to this paradox. Read the CU press release.

CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Josh Correll (Social) was interviewed by an investigative reporter for a Houston television station about the “Shooter Effect.” Check out the online article and interview.


October 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor and Director of the Institute of Cognitive Science Marie Banich (Cognitive) has been awarded a 2013–2014 James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowship. Presented in partnership with APS, the fellowship is awarded yearly to North American university faculty committed to developing scientific research in psychology and its applications to improving human welfare. Read more about the award.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience Professor Bernadette Park (Social) was invited to be a Thomas M. Ostrom Scholar in Residence at Ohio State University this week. Check out a list of the previous recipients and read more about the honor.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience Distinguished Professor Linda Watkins (Behavioral Neuroscience) was in the popular press in an interview with Channel 7 News in Denver for her research collaboration with a local veterinarian testing a new gene therapy for addressing chronic pain in dogs. Watch the video and/or read the online article.


September 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor John Hewitt (Behavioral Genetics) was interviewed for an NPR segment because of some research published in Psychological Science. This research, authored by former Hewitt PhD student Angela Brant (now doing a postdoc at Penn State) and several other CU Psychology and Neuroscience faculty, showed that some high-IQ kids may have an extended sensitive period of learning during adolescence. Read or listen to the NPR segment, or check out the Psychological Science article.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Randy O’Reilly (Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience) and postdoctoral student Treton Kriete were in the popular press for an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research describes a biologically plausible symbol-manipulation mechanism in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia regions of the human brain. Read the Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine article, and/or read the PNAS abstract (with a link to the full article).


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Tor Wager (Cognitive) was interviewed by the CU alumni magazine the Coloradan about his research on the neurological correlates of physical and emotional pain. Clinical Psychology professor Sona Dimidjian is quoted in the article as well. Read the Coloradan Magazine article.


The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience announced that the Board of Regents has approved its proposal for a BA degree in Neuroscience, and is moving forward to rapidly implement this degree program. Read the CU press release about the Regents’ vote.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Laura Michaelson (Cognitive, mentored by Yuko Munakata) and graduate student Alejandro de la Vega (Cognitive, mentored by mentored by Marie Banich) were in the popular press for a recent publication examining the concept of delayed gratification. Cognitive faculty member Yuko Munakata and former graduate student Chris Chatham were also authors on the study. Read the CU press release about the research, or read the abstract of the article.


August 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Matt Keller (Behavioral Genetics and IBG faculty fellow), was in the news for a study published recently in the journal PLOS Genetics. The research attempts to explain the fact that taller people tend to be slightly smarter as well. To what extent is this determined by the environment, or different genes, or a single gene? To find out, read the CU press release, or read the original research article.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Don Cooper (Behavioral Genetics, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Institute for Behavioral Genetics fellow) was in the news for a technology developed in his lab to rapidly detect and track natural carcinogens. This mobile smartphone technology, funded from a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Grand Challenges Explorations Initiative, is now being tested in Africa. Read more about the technology in the CU Connections article.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Tor Wager (Cognitive) appeared in the campus news and informaton publication for faculty and staff CU Connections in their “Five questions for...” series. Read the CU Connections article.


July 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience Director of Operations Carolyn James received a 2013 CU Shared Practices award for her idea regarding Research Administrators Meetings. Read more about this innovative idea and also see a list of more of the award-winning ideas.


June 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Mark Travers, Professor Leaf Van Boven, and College Professor of Distinction Chick Judd (all Social), received some popular press in a blog in the New Yorker for their research published in the journal Political Psychology. This research demonstrated that people assign a higher value to information when told the information is secret as opposed to public. Read the New Yorker article or the original research paper. In addition, the New York Times published an opinion piece by the authors interpreting their data in light of recent events. Read the opinion piece.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience Distinguished Professor Linda Watkins (Behavioral Neuroscience) was in the popular press in an article about the research study she is conducting with a local veterinarian on the treatment of chronic pain in dogs that has been expanded to include joint disease pain (arthritis, etc.). For more details, read the Daily Camera article.


May 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Don Weatherley (Clinical) is retiring after 53 years of service to the department. Check out a few pictures from his retirement party.



CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Laura Michaelson (Cognitive, mentored by Yuko Munakata) received the Sheryl R. Young Memorial Scholarship for the 2013–2014 academic year. This competitive scholarship is awarded by the family of Sheryl, who received her PhD from our department.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Shaw Ketels (Cognitive, mentored by Alice Healy and Matt Jones) received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in STEM Education for his proposal, “A New Approach to Teaching General Psychology at CU.” Read more about the award.


April 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Jason Gwinn (Social, mentored by Chick Judd) was awarded a Summer Fellowship by the CU-Boulder Graduate School. These competitive awards help the recipient to pursue his or her dissertation research during the summer months.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Courtney Stevens (Clinical) and co-advisor Angel Bryan (Social) were in the popular press for a commentary they wrote for American Journal of Health Promotion regarding methods to encourage people to exercise more. Read the Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine article.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate students Hollis Karoly, Courtney Stevens, and Rachel Thayer (all Clinical, each co-mentored by Angela Bryan (Social) and Kent Hutchison (Clinical)) were in the news for some research they conducted demonstrating that aerobic exercise might help prevent or even reverse the damage heavy alcohol use does to the brain’s white matter. The research, originally published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, drew the notice of several media outlets. Read the LA Times article, the US News article, the Daily Camera article, or read the original research article.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Tor Wager (Cognitive) is in the news because of a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research involved the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to identify an objective measure of pain in the brain. This research generated a large amount of media interest. Read or listen to the NPR segment, read the NBC News article, or read the NEJM article.


March 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate student Jason Gwinn (Social) was in the news for a paper (co-authored with Social faculty Charles Judd and Bernadette Park) on the dehumanizing effects of social power to be published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. He was interviewed about the research on the Colorado Public Radion program “Colorado Matters.” Listen to the interview. There is also a www.colorado.edu news item about the research, or read the original article.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience graduate students Jenn Felder (Clinical, mentor Sona Dimidjian), Sarah Grover (Social, co-mentors Tiffany Ito and Bernadette Park), and Mikaela Kinnear (Clinical, mentor Erik Willcutt) received grants through the Beverly Sears Graduate Student Grants program. These competitive awards are sponsored by the Graduate School to support the research, scholarship, and creative work of graduate students from all departments. Read more about the grant program.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience Distinguished Professor Steven Maier (Behavioral Neuroscience) is giving the invited Richard L. Solomon Distinguished Lecture at the meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) in March in New York City. (Notably it has been 50 years since Solomon served as president of EPA and also was one of Professor Maier’s PhD advisors.) Check out the full schedule of the convention.

February 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor (Behavioral Neuroscience) and associate chair Theresa Hernández’s name appeared in the latest issue of Women’s Health magazine as an expert answering a question about acupressure. Read the question and answer in this excerpt from the magazine (2nd question on the page).


January 2013

CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Tor Wager (Cognitive) is the male 2013 Young Investigator Award winner given by the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. The purpose of the award “is to recognize outstanding contributions by scientists early in their careers.” Read a little more about the award on the CNS website.


CU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Sona Dimidjian (Clinical) met with the Dalai Lama while attending the Mind & Life meeting in India. Read more on the Dalai’s website.


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