Elaine Wethington is elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. Dr. Wethington is recognized for distinguished contributions to medical sociology.
Corinna Loeckenhoff says that shifting stereotypes is no simple feat. People develop their views on aging when they are toddlers, but they also change based on experience. Unfortunately, negative beliefs are often built on inaccurate impressions.
Research has found that loneliness is a known risk factor for cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, disability and depression. Anthony Ong urges addressing the direct, indirect, and moderated effects of social isolation and loneliness on health.
Since its launch in September 2016, the Cornell Race and Empathy Projecthas recorded, archived and shared the everyday stories of Cornellians that evoke racial empathy. To continue fostering the ability to identify and understand the feelings of someone of a different background, the project has evolved into an online presence.
John Eckenrode and Karl Pillemer discuss the origins of translational research, and how it differs from "basic" and "applied" research. There are some examples of translational research projects and throughout the conversation they touch on why this research method is so effective and more and more in-demand by funders, policymakers and practitioners.
Charles Brainerd, professor of human development and human neuroscience, will receive the American Psychological Association’s G. Stanley Hall award for distinguished contributions to developmental science at the APA’s August 2019 meeting in San Francisco.
Adam Anderson and Eve De Rosa recently studied why it is hard for people to save money. They found that when people were given the choice, over 90% of the time they chose earning money to saving it. They discuss how our brains may be hard-wired for earning and that saving requires more conscious effort.
Felix Thoemmes uses math models to better understand why high school students who are old for their grade are more likely to enroll in college than students who are young. The article discusses how the age at which one starts school has implications for each student as well as for the class as a whole.
Robert Sternberg was interviewed on October 9, 2018 for the podcast, What Makes Us Human?from Cornell University's College of Arts & Sciences. This is the podcast's third season, "What Do We Know About Love?" and Dr. Sternberg discusses his "Triangular Theory of Love."
Reprinted from cnbc.com, "Why you'll still have a hard time saving money, even if you get a raise" by Darla Mercado.
Adam Anderson and Eve De Rosa
If you were hoping a raise would help you pad your emergency fund, prepare to be disappointed.
That's because your brain has learned to prioritize earning more money over saving it, according to a recent study from a team of neuroscientists at Cornell University.
"There's this implicit blame that people aren't working hard enough and that the lack of savings is a reflection of work ethic," said Adam K. Anderson, associate professor at Cornell University's College of Human Ecology and co-author of the report. "But the data suggest that while people work a lot and work hard, saving is a problem," he said. Indeed, roughly 55 million people have nothing saved for an emergency, according to Bankrate.com. That's no surprise considering that wage growth has been tepid. Further, workers are grappling with an array of competing priorities, including repaying their student loans and saving for retirement.
Here's how your brain is also keeping you from putting money away.
The neuroscientists studied 78 men with a mean age of 21 and were told to associate one color with "earning," which would have them gain 30 cents, and another color with "saving," avoiding the loss of 30 cents. Participants were given a timing perception task, which would measure how quickly they responded to the colors and chose to either save or earn. In one experiment, nearly 90 percent of the participants earned more than they saved. Three out of four also reported that they saw the color associated with earning on the screen first, when in reality they were seeing the color that corresponded with saving. "You're performing the same job, and you're earning or saving for an equal amount of work," said Anderson of Cornell. "But at the end of that, it seemed easier to perform the task associated with earning," he said. "They responded more quickly and made more money."
Changing your mentality
The scientists surmised that the preference for earning money over saving is a learned behavior. "It's rational from the brain's perspective: You must earn before you can save," said Anderson. "It could partly be cultural," he said. "We brag about work ethic and earnings, but we don't talk about coming up with a cool savings plan." In order to change up your behavior, practice being mindful of squirreling away cash.
1. Acknowledge the problem: It's no secret that a variety of priorities and expenses are competing for your hard-earned dollars, but be aware that merely making more money won't necessarily solve your problems. That's especially the case if you're blowing your raise instead of pocketing it. "For the majority of people, if you make more money, the savings won't match it," said Anderson.
2. Make the choice to save: Having a slice of your paycheck automatically go toward an emergency savings account can help you build your cash reserves without thinking about it. But if you want to change your mentality on saving versus earning, you should also make the active choice to put away a dollar a day, said Eve De Rosa, associate professor at Cornell University's College of Human Ecology, and co-author of the report. "Saving a dollar a day isn't going to accumulate into a fantastic abundance of savings, but this daily practice of attending to saving makes you mindful," said De Rosa.
3. Think ahead: We prioritize the present and attach less importance to the future, which may factor into why people prefer to earn instead of save. "It helps to think about the future us and what we can do for that person," said Anderson. "You can imagine that people default to 'I should earn more,' but the idea is that you want to save for that person in the future," he said.
Charles Brainerd was elected to the National Academy of Education (NAEd) for his scholarly contributions in the field of education research. Brainerd’s research has had a deep impact on educational, developmental and cognitive psychology.
Robert J. Sternberg, professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology, has been selected to receive the 2017 William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science. The award honors members for their lifetime of outstanding intellectual contributions to psychology.
Jane Mendle was awarded the Stephen H. Weiss Junior Fellowship which has a term of five years. She was recommended by the selection committee for her passion for her subject and for teaching, her interactive lectures and creative assignments.
In a new study by Anthony Ong, one of the first to link daily racial slights and insults to quality of sleep. The more instances of subtle racial discrimination the participants experienced, the worse the effect on how long and how well they slept.
A study by Wendy Williams of college and university administrators has found that female department chairs, deans, and provosts have different attitudes and beliefs than their male counterparts about hiring women professors in STEM fields - women administrators emphasize policies that attract and retain women.
Adam Anderson, in Human Development's Human Neuroscience Institute, has received a grant from the Irlen Syndrome Foundation for an fMRI project being conducted at the Cornell MRI Facility on the relationship between color processing and other cognitive processes in the brain.
Students surreptitiously texting from the back of the classroom – while half-paying attention to the lecture – probably think professors don't know what's going through their minds.
Eve De Rosa, associate professor of human development and an expert in the neurochemistry of cognition, knows precisely what's coursing through those multitasking brains: the neurochemical acetylcholine.
As De Rosa explains: "Acetylcholine is best known for its role in Alzheimer's disease, but we're learning more about its contributions to cognition in people of all ages."
"The guiding hypothesis for the work I do," she adds, "is asking whether something like Alzheimer's, generally thought to be a memory disorder, is actually an encoding disorder, with information not getting 'packaged' and not reaching memory centers of the brain in the first place."
One task for the rats in De Rosa's lab is to use their noses to choose particular symbols on a touch screen. They learn this trick quickly and efficiently – unless their brains are short on acetylcholine.
De Rosa came to Cornell in 2013 and says that from the start, she could detect a certain "collaborative energy" in the air.
"I'd been at University of Toronto for a decade when I guest lectured about my rat work to researchers in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior," she recalls. "After the talk, people asked about acetylcholine in human cognition, so I continued to speak about my work with children and the elderly. A few weeks later, faculty from human development contacted me and said, 'Have you ever thought of moving?'"
Happily ensconced at Toronto, De Rosa was reluctant to accept the invitation – until she recalled her interactions with Cornellians. "There was so much palpable, collaborative energy and creativity here," De Rosa says, "and that's what attracted me to Cornell."
De Rosa's teaching responsibilities include pre-med courses, like Neurochemistry of Human Behavior, where undergraduates learn about the Nobel Prize-worthy discovery, in 1915, of acetylcholine. The phenomenon of nerves using chemicals to communicate was deduced from acetylcholine's action on the heart. Among her collaborators is spouse Adam Anderson, also an associate professor of human development and a neuroscientist specializing in the role of emotion in human faculties.
Their research project? How the heart and mind are connected through chemistry – which has led to further collaboration, with electrical and computer engineering's Bruce Land.
Adam Anderson and Eve De Rosa from the Affect and Cognition Lab at Cornell share state of the art research methods about psychological and neural foundations of emotion and cognition. From animal models to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the public will get an idea of how scientists attempt to understand the nature of affection. Furthermore, Ursula Hess will draw from her research on the communication of emotions to discuss whether emotions are universally understood or culturally dependent.
Joachim Muller-Jung, Head of Science at F.A.Z.
Adam Anderson, Assoc. Prof., Affective Neuroscience, Cornell University
Eve De Rosa, Assoc. Prof. of Human Ecology, Cornell University
Ursual Hess, Prof. of Psychology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
In faculty research labs, in communities across the state, and at jobs and internships around the globe, Human Ecology undergrads are making a powerful impact this summer as they apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.
Brian LaGrant ’17, a human development major from New Hartford, N.Y., discusses his research on factors surrounding imitation among children and adults:
What are you working on this summer?
I’m working on social learning in children and adults. I’m in the Affect and Cognition Lab. We work primarily on neuroscience research, but we’re also doing another project on social learning.
We have this apparatus like a puzzle box, and it’s supposed to simulate something that you haven’t seen before. People can watch somebody else see how to open it and then they can have their turn trying to open it. So that’s what we’re using to measure imitation.
When you copy somebody, they can have different characteristics, like they might be smart or they’re not sure how to open the box. They might be a very prestigious individual or a very well-respected individual or not so much. We want to see how those two factors—knowledge and prestige—can affect how much that model is imitated by children and adults.
How does this work relate to your coursework?
I’ve done a lot of neuroscience research, and this is a little different from what I’m used to, but I really like it because it ties into human culture and how we have evolved over many generations. Social learning is a very important aspect of development, especially a concept called the “ratchet effect,” which is how we innovate new technology over time. I haven’t really focused on social learning throughout my undergraduate years, but it’s a nice complement to the other kind of education I’ve been focusing on.
Who are your Human Ecology mentors?
I’ve formed a few close relationships within the College of Human Ecology as a whole, and specifically human development. Professor Marianella Casasola has been there with me since day one. When I lived in Donlon Hall, she was a faculty-in-residence and from there we formed a close relationship, and I was able to do some research with her, and she’s taught some of my classes over time. Professor Eve De Rosa, one of the principal investigators in my lab, has been a great help, and she’s so nice and so welcoming to any ideas that I have. They’ve both been very important to my development at Cornell.
What excites you about your research?
What excites me the most is that this is my first time having more of an independent role in the research where I can design the experiments and start running them on my own. Having that authority and independence is really, really exciting, and it makes me want to perform research in the future.
What societal impacts does your work have?
One thing I’ve been looking at recently is how autistic children might act differently at these tasks, and that’s something I could study in the future. For the area of research I’m focusing on, social learning, this kind of research hasn’t been done before. I think it’s important because looking at two or three different conflicting factors like I am is a better simulation of what the real world is like. Previous research has only looked at one factor, but there are so many different factors at play—whether a person is knowledgeable, prestigious, and things like that. I think my research is delving more into that area.
Brian’s summer project, The Influences of Model Social Status and Knowledge State on Imitation in Children and Adults, is funded by a College of Human Ecology summer research stipend, which provides undergraduate students will funding for full-time research with a faculty member.
By Tyler Alicea ’16, MPS ’17; photo by Mark Vorreuter.