Nicole Else-Quest, assistant professor of psychology, is in the news for a forthcoming paper in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly. The study shows that male and female students earn similar grades in math and science, while Asian American students of both genders outperform all other races. The study also found that male students of all ethnicities reported a greater perception of their abilities in math, while female students associated greater value to science-related courses.
The findings have been covered in an April 4 story in “Voices of America” entitled “Asian-American Students Outpace Other Groups in Math, Science,” a March 29 story in “Medical Daily” with the headline “Asian Students Better at Math and Science; Girls Equal to Boys in STEM Career Potential,” a March 29 story in “Council and Heal” entitled “Despite Stereotypes, Girls and Boys Do Equally Well in Math and Science,” a March 31 story in “The Indian Express” titled “Asian-American students outperform other ethnic groups,” and a April 9 story in “Asian Scientist” with the headline “Asian Americans Outperform Peers In Science & Math Study.”
Else-Quest told “Voices of America” that she doesn’t want the data to further the “model minority” perception about Asian-Americans.
“I think that stereotype is harmful for everyone, whether benevolent or not,” she said. “They put us in boxes or restrict us in some way. When we talk about Asian-Americans, we have to recognize it’s a tremendously diverse population with a variety of cultures and varying levels of status and language proficiency.”
Shawn Bediako, associate professor of psychology, will speak at the 4th Annual Roland B. Scott Memorial Symposium. The topic of the symposium is “Pain in Sickle Cell Disease: Pain: Myths, Facts, and Stigma.”
The symposium will take place on May 7 at the Howard University Hospital. For more information, see the flyer below.
Robert Provine, professor of psychology, is a contributor to the recent “Body Issue” of New Scientist magazine.
Provine’s piece, “It’s Only Natural,” discusses the curious behaviors of our bodies. “It’s your body, and you like to think you’ve got it under control. But underneath the calm exterior lurk unruly instincts and urges that are struggling to escape, putting you at risk of embarrassment or ridicule. These disreputable behaviours – the likes of the fart, hiccup, itch and yawn – are familiar to us all, yet they are also decidedly curious. Although they have been the source of folklore and puzzlement since antiquity, they have largely been overlooked by scientists. After all, where is the scientific grandeur in such ignoble acts? I take a different view. Where others see forbidden areas, I find unexplored territory and new frontiers of research. So I have made a point of studying our curious behaviours. What I have found sheds new light on our body, our mind and our evolution as a social animal,” Provine begins, before discussing yawning, itching, hiccupping, vomiting, tickling, and farting.
The magazine was published on March 16.
On Tuesday, March 12, Robert Provine, professor of psychology, talked to WYPR’s “Midday with Dan Rodricks” about his new book, “Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccuping, and Beyond.”
Rodricks asked Provine why he chose to research mundane – and even occasionally embarrassing – behaviors such as yawning, belching and farting.
“It’s fun to do, and it’s something that can get junior science students involved right away. It also has a lot of rewards for the serious scientist, which is what got me interested in it in the first place,” he said. “By looking at elemental behaviors, such as the instincts of yawning, laughing, coughing, sneezing, belching, and so on, this provides us with a molecular approach to human behavior. The opportunity to look at these exciting and important acts is only available because we’ve overlooked them. I believe that they will lead to important insights.”
The full interview can be heard here.
At 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5, Robert Provine, professor of psychology, will discuss “Curious Behavior” and his concept of “small science” at the Goddard Space Flight Center. This talk, part of the Goddard Scientific Colloquium series, will be Provine’s 4th colloquium at Goddard.
The talk will be held in the Building 3 (Goett) auditorium. Access to the Goddard Space Flight Center is limited to those holding Goddard badges or official visitors; if you would like to attend, contact Scientific Colloquium at (301) 286-0660 or by e-mail more than 48 hours beforehand.
Robert Provine, professor of psychology, will lead a discussion at the DC Science Café on May 21. The DC Science Café, which is sponsored by the DC Science Writers Association, aims to give the general public an opportunity to participate in lively and important discussions about the consequential scientific discoveries and issues of our times.
The discussion will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Busboys and Poets’ 5th and K St., NW location. Provine’s discussion will focus on “Curious Behavior,” the subject of his book “Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond.”
A flyer for the event is below.
Robert Provine, professor of psychology, was a keynote speaker and judge at the U.S. finals of the Fifth Annual International Brain Bee on March 2 and 3. This is the second time that Provine has spoken at and judged this event. The topic of his talk was “Curious Behavior,” and was based on his book “Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond.”
The International Brain Bee is an annual competition about knowledge of neuroscience for high school students sponsored by the Society for Neuroscience. Thousands of students from around the world participate. Forty-seven US regional finalists, from as far as California and Alaska competed; one regional finalist will be attending UMBC.
The U.S. finalist won a $3,000 and the opportunity to compete at the international championship in Vienna, Austria.
Robert Provine, professor of psychology, is featured in a Globe and Mail story entitled “Why do Oscar Winners Cry Tears of Joy?”
Provine pointed out that it is important to distinguish between two kinds of crying – vocal crying, typical of a newborn demanding to be fed, which is an ancient behaviour shared with other animals, and emotional crying, the tears of happiness or sadness, which is a recent evolutionary development exclusive to humans.
“Only humans shed emotional tears,” he said.
The story appeared online on February 22.
Robert Provine, psychology, has an essay in a newly published book entitled “This Explains Everything,” a collection of answers to Edge.org’s annual question for 2012. This year’s question was “What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?” In Provine’s response, “Observers Observing,” he writes that “observation is the link between all empirical sciences, and the reason why physicists were among the founders of experimental psychology. The difference between psychology and physics is one of emphasis; both involve the process of observers observing. Physics stresses the observed, psychology the observer.”
Provine has also answered the annual question for 2013, “What should we be worried about?,” the answers to which are posted on the website. Provine writes in “The Gift of Worry” that “too much worry strands us in an agitated state of despair, anxiety and paranoia; too little leaves us without motivation and direction. Worry contributes life’s “to do” list, but its relentless prompts are unpleasant and we work to diminish them by crossing items off the list. The list is constantly fine-tuned and updated. As life’s problems are solved, topics of worry are extinguished, or if a dreaded event does not occur or becomes obsolete, we substitute new, more adaptive topics of concern. The bottom line? Stop worrying about worry. It’s good for you.”