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Psychological Sciences

Imaging the Brain

An interview with John Kerns, Assistant Professor, Psychology

In an animated style, John Kerns explains what scholars know about basic brain functioning, much of which has until recently remained relatively speculative – simply because we can’t penetrate the inner regions of the brain. An assistant professor of psychology, Kerns describes how he hopes to someday remedy that problem by using brain-imaging technology, which has been around for only about ten years but could eventually prove to be one of “the most important technological developments” in the area of brain science.

Through the Eyes of an Infant

An interview with Yuyan Luo, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

How much do infants know about the world in which they live? At what age do humans begin to develop an understanding of object permanence and of the reality that people act in response to different things around them? These are the kinds of questions Yuyan Luo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, seeks to answer. In addition to teaching cognition development courses—from infancy to toddler—she runs the Infant Cognition Lab, which tests psychological and biological knowledge development through a series of lab experiments. Now in its second year of operation, the lab conducts experiments with participants as young as two and one-half months old.

This is Your Brain on Camera

An interview with Shawn Christ, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

A rainbow of feathers floats upward like a psychedelic butterfly. Fingers of color, violet and lime green, seem to flow outward from the tips of the wings. If you didn’t know better, you might assume it is a work of art. Beyond their beauty, for Shawn Christ these images taken at MU’s new Brain Imaging Center reveal the brain’s activity and connections. In his role as Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of MU’s Clinical Neuropsychology Laboratory, Christ studies how the relationship between the brain and behavior changes as we develop. Christ chose a career in psychology because it would combine two passions— working with kids and solving puzzles.

Alcohol and Racial Bias

An interview with Bruce Bartholow, Associate Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

Ask Bruce Bartholow about his current research projects, and the associate professor of psychology at MU will likely direct your attention to the large whiteboard mounted on his office wall. Crowded with names of collaborators and topics ranging from alcohol and race bias to video games and aggression, this board reveals the breadth of Bartholow’s research.

Comparing Candy and Cocaine

An interview with Matt Will, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences

Few people see much in common between candy and cocaine, aside from their identical first letters. Not so for Matt Will, Assistant Professor of Psychology. Will’s current research equates our cravings for fatty, high calorie foods with serious drug abuse.

What Babies Can Teach Us About Math

An interview with Kristy vanMarle, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences

Dr. Kristy vanMarle studies the mathematical abilities of infants and toddlers, seeking new insights into how the human brain develops, formats, and represents concepts of quantity. Basic cognitive quantifying abilities progress into ideas of number, time, and space, and are crucial to the everyday tasks that our adult brains perform. “Babies,” Dr. vanMarle tells SyndicateMizzou, “give you a window into what kind of initial, foundational core [mathematical] capacities are there, how they get elaborated, and what kinds of experiences are necessary for different capacities to come online.”

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