Katie Edwards Named APA Contributing Editor of the Year

November 18, 2015

Katie Edwards

Assistant Professor of Psychology Katie Edwards has been named the Contributing Editor of the Year 2015 by the American Psychological Association (APA) for the journal “Psychology of Violence.” The honor recognizes outstanding contributions by an ad-hoc reviewer based on the quality, quantity and timeliness of reviews.

“Psychology of Violence” is a multidisciplinary research journal devoted to violence and extreme aggression, including identifying the causes of violence from a psychological framework, finding ways to prevent or reduce violence, and developing practical interventions and treatments.

Edwards’s research focuses on predictors and correlates of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization, perpetration, and bystander intervention among adolescents and young adults; leaving processes in relationships characterized by IPV; disclosure of IPV experiences and social reactions to these disclosures; and ethics of IPV research.

Recent Books by Psychology Faculty

November 16, 2015

Faculty members in the Department of Psychology have published books this year that together exemplify the wide range of subject-matter that UNH psychologists cover in their research, from the history of psychology to brain and cognition to social psychology.

book coverToward the Next Generation of Bystander Prevention of Sexual and Relationship Violence: Action Coils to Engage Communities

by Victoria L. Banyard
Springer Briefs in Criminology

This brief integrates and synthesizes an array of research about who helps others and under what conditions and discusses the implications of this research for a bystander intervention focused prevention agenda to reduce sexual and relationship violence in schools and communities. It combines an examination of bystander helping behavior in the specific context of sexual and relationship violence with social psychological research on bystander behavior outside that context in order to inform prevention efforts. This brief is designed for researchers, practitioners, and students concerned about violence prevention and who are interesting in bystander intervention as a promising prevention strategy. Connections between research and practice are the foundation of this brief.

Available from the publisher and major online retailers.

book coverInferences During Reading

edited by Edward J. O’Brien, Anne E. Cook, and Robert F. Lorch Jr.
Cambridge University Press

Inferencing is defined as ‘the act of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true’, and it is one of the most important processes necessary for successful comprehension during reading. This volume features contributions by distinguished researchers in cognitive psychology, educational psychology, and neuroscience on topics central to our understanding of the inferential process during reading. The chapters cover aspects of inferencing that range from the fundamental bottom up processes that form the basis for an inference to occur, to the more strategic processes that transpire when a reader is engaged in literary understanding of a text. Basic activation mechanisms, word-level inferencing, methodological considerations, inference validation, causal inferencing, emotion, development of inferences processes as a skill, embodiment, contributions from neuroscience, and applications to naturalistic text are all covered as well as expository text, online learning materials, and literary immersion.

Available from the publisher and major online retailers.

book coverHermann Lotze: An Intellectual Biography

by William R. Woodward
Cambridge University Press

As a philosopher, psychologist, and physician, the German thinker Hermann Lotze (1817–81) defies classification. Working in the mid-nineteenth-century era of programmatic realism, he critically reviewed and rearranged theories and concepts in books on pathology, physiology, medical psychology, anthropology, history, aesthetics, metaphysics, logic, and religion. Leading anatomists and physiologists reworked his hypotheses about the central and autonomic nervous systems. Dozens of fin-de-siècle philosophical contemporaries emulated him, yet often without acknowledgment, precisely because he had made conjecture and refutation into a method. In spite of Lotze’s status as a pivotal figure in nineteenth-century intellectual thought, no complete treatment of his work exists, and certainly no effort to take account of the feminist secondary literature. Hermann Lotze: An Intellectual Biography is the first full-length historical study of Lotze’s intellectual origins, scientific community, institutional context, and worldwide reception.

Available from the publisher and major online retailers.

UNH Receives Grant to Examine How Communities Build Capacity to Prevent Violence

September 23, 2015

Researchers at the Prevention Innovations Research Center at UNH will study how people in communities work together to address violence thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers will evaluate prevention strategies developed by GreenDot, Etc, an organization that provides training and resources necessary to support individuals, institutions and communities in reducing power-based personal violence.

“The study will help us better understand how to assist broader communities, not just schools or campuses, to work together to address complicated problems like interpersonal violence. We know much more about changing people individually than about what moves communities forward as a whole,” said Vicki Banyard, professor of psychology and principal investigator on the grant.

Research on violence prevention has often looked at the impact of classroom or workshop-based strategies. There are a number of programs that show promise in changing the attitudes and behaviors of groups of students using these approaches. But research is also clear that characteristics of communities where those individuals live and work and study are also related to how people think about problems like violence. “We know from research that feeling close to and mattering to people in one’s community is related to lower rates of violence. It is exciting to be translating this research into community-based practice and action,” says Katie Edwards, assistant professor of psychology and women’s studies and an investigator on the grant. “We know that interpersonal violence is a complex problem that will take more than one tool to solve,” says Banyard. “It is time to take prevention to the next level and add community work to our toolkit.”

Read full story.

UNH Psychology Professor Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

September 21, 2015

photo of Ben Harris
Benjamin Harris
, professor of psychology at UNH, has been awarded the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the History of Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association. The award recognizes individuals who have made sustained, outstanding, and unusual contributions to the history of psychology over the course of a career.

“Benjamin Harris has published groundbreaking historical studies on topics in the history of psychology and psychiatry over the past 35 years,” said Henderikus Stam, president of the Society. “His important and original articles, chapters, and edited works have pushed psychologists not just to reconsider events and players in their history, but have shown the importance of critical historiographies to understanding the present. Furthermore, his commitment to mentoring students and his many leadership roles in organizations that represent historians of psychology has been exemplary.”

Harris has taught courses on the history of psychology and psychiatry at UNH since 2001. He has written widely on the history of behaviorism, psychology in the mass media, and on the politics of psychiatry. His chapter on work therapy for mental patients in the U.S. will soon appear in an edited history of patient labor around the world (Manchester University Press, January 2016). He is also an affiliate professor in the UNH Department of History.

The Society for the History of Psychology is an international organization of scholars, co-founded by UNH professor Robert Watson, who served as its first president in 1966. Watson was instrumental in developing UNH’s doctoral program in psychology.

UNH Study Finds Bystanders Support Victims of Harassment and Bullying More Often Than Commonly Thought

September 8, 2015

A national study by UNH’s Crimes against Children Research Center found that in contrast to previous studies, youth victims of in-person and online harassment and bullying report that in most cases, bystanders tried to help them.

Bystanders are present for the majority of harassment incidents (80 percent). In about 70 percent of these cases, victims report that a bystander tried to make them feel better. Negative bystander reactions, though considerably less frequent, still occurred in nearly a quarter of incidents and were associated with a significantly higher negative impact on the victim.

Lisa Jones, research associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study, noted that “While it is good news that most of the time kids are trying to help victims, it isn’t clear what kinds of support helps them most.  Unfortunately, our data show that it is negative behaviors by bystanders such as joining in or laughing that has the biggest impact and really makes things feel worse for victims.”

The research results are reported in the article, “Victim Reports of Bystander Reactions to In-Person and Online Peer Harassment: A National Survey of Adolescents,” in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. In addition to Jones, the article is authored by UNH researchers Kimberly Mitchell and Heather Turner.

Read full release by UNH Media Relations.

UNH Psychology Professor Wins Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award

August 27, 2015

photo of Edward O'Brien
Professor of psychology Edward J. O’Brien has won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Text and Discourse, an honor shared with Jerome L. Myers of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In choosing the recipients, the Society noted that the two scholars have made a singularly important contribution to the field of text processing through their Resonance Model, which the Society calls theoretically elegant as well as meticulously researched.

The combined research from 30 years of lab work by O’Brien and Myers has focused on the extent to which passive activation processes (i.e., resonance) in the brain play a role in comprehending text. In order for comprehension to be successful, says O’Brien, readers must have quick and easy access to large amounts of information to both interpret the author’s intended meaning and to fill in information not explicitly stated in the text. Two major components of the comprehension process are those involved in the activation of the knowledge necessary for comprehension and those involved in the integration of that information. O’Brien and Myers’s research focuses on the former.

In the Resonance Model, the notion that an individual actively or consciously searches memory for relevant information during reading is rejected, explains O’Brien. Instead, as a reader encodes information, that information sends a signal to all of memory, much like hitting a tuning fork sends out vibrations in all directions. The process is passive and outside the awareness of the reader. Any information in memory that is related to the signal has the potential to become active in memory and part of the comprehension process, whether the activated information facilitates or hinders comprehension.

O’Brien and Myers’s research on passive activation has been highly influential. Most current models of reading incorporate their findings.

“Ed and Jerry’s development of the Resonance Model ushered in an era in which the role of memory-based text processing is now a fundamental assumption,” wrote the Society in their award announcement, also noting that “at least as important have been the generations of researchers who learned how to think scientifically and to conduct rigorous research from these two prolific mentors.”

The Society for Text and Discourse is an international society of researchers who investigate all aspects of discourse processing and text analysis.

Cyberbullying Less Emotionally Harmful To Kids Than In-Person Harassment, Study Finds

June 10, 2015

Contrary to popular belief, cyberbullying that starts and stays online is no more emotionally harmful to youngsters than harassment that only occurs in-person and may actually be less disturbing because it’s likelier to be of shorter duration and not involve significant power imbalances, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire analyzed data from the Technology Harassment Victimization Study, funded by the National Institute of Justice. They focused on telephone interviews conducted in 2013-2014 with 791 American youth ages 10-20 (49 percent male). Of these, 34 percent reported 311 harassment incidents in the prior year. Among the harassment incidents, 54 percent were in-person only; 15 percent involved technology only; and 31 percent involved a combination of the two.

Although technology-only incidents were more likely to involve large numbers of witnesses, they were least likely to involve multiple perpetrators, the study found. Also, while technology-only incidents were more likely to involve strangers or anonymous perpetrators, this appeared to be less distressing to youth than harassment by schoolmates and other known acquaintances.

“Technology-only incidents were less likely than in-person only incidents to result in injury, involve a social power differential and to have happened a series of times,” said lead researcher Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD, assistant research professor of psychology with the Crimes against Children Research Center. “Mixed episodes, those that involved both in-person and technology elements, were more likely than technology-only episodes to involve perpetrators who knew embarrassing things about the victim, happen a series of times, last for one month or longer, involve physical injury and start out as joking before becoming more serious. It is these mixed episodes that appear to be the most distressing to youth.”

Many researchers and advocates have assumed that technology-based bullying would be particularly damaging to victims because online harassers can post pictures or videos, anonymously and to large audiences, and because the aggression can reach the targets any time of the day or night. However, the new findings suggest that technology by itself does not necessarily increase the seriousness and level of distress associated with peer harassment. “Instead, data from this study indicated that factors such as duration, power imbalance, injury, sexual content, involvement of multiple perpetrators, and hate/bias comments are some of the key factors that increase youth distress,” said co-author Heather Turner, professor of sociology.

The researchers said the survey was designed in a way that allowed them to gather extensive details about separate harassment incidents and to examine new technology as one aspect of many possible aggravating incident features. Research on cyberbullying to date has mostly been conducted separate from or parallel to research about in-person bullying, they said.

“We believe that focusing on harassment incidents that involve both in-person and technology elements should be a priority for educators and prevention experts who are trying to identify and prevent the most serious and harmful bullying,” Mitchell said.

The study is published in APA’s journal Psychology of Violence®.

source: press release from the American Psychological Association

%d bloggers like this: