UMBC’s Psychology Training Clinic Featured in the Baltimore Sun’s April Education Section

Rebecca SchactIn its April education section, the Baltimore Sun published an article on programs that prepare students to provide effective, evidence-based care for patients. UMBC’s Psychology Training Clinic, part of the Psychology Training, Research, and Services Center at the South Campus Research and Technology Park, was featured in the article. Rebecca Schacht, a clinical assistant professor of psychology and director of the clinic, was quoted extensively in the story and discussed the new clinic, which provides low-cost therapy for people struggling with anxiety, depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Graduate-level students provide care under supervision of licensed psychologists.

“This is really the standard for training,” Schacht said. While students also train in community outpatient clinics, “you don’t get as much oversight there. It allows us to have more contact with our students to train them in evidence-based treatment.” Patients at the clinic agree to be recorded, and then the professors review the tapes with the students. “It benefits the students and the patients because there’s a lot more focus,” Schacht added. “You really think more deeply about each person.”

Students at the clinic study the latest research which benefits patients and Schacht noted the training at the clinic will provide the field with effective practitioners. “One of the biggest determinants in whether people get better is the relationship with their therapist,” she said. For more information about the clinic, click here.

Robert Provine, Psychology, in the Baltimore Sun

Robert ProvineIn response to new research from Johns Hopkins University, Psychology Research Professor and Professor Emeritus Robert Provine was interviewed for an article in the Baltimore Sun discussing his research on human social behavior and attractiveness. The Johns Hopkins study found that human perception of attractiveness may be fluid, contagious, and often influenced by what is generally considered attractive by others.

In the article, Provine said that it is fashion that is shifting constantly, rather than an evolutionary standard of beauty in culture. He noted that people don’t realize they are frequently pushed to like something new and different.

“We are not always captain of our ship,” he said. What’s constant across nearly all societies and eras is that “clear eyes, good skin and long, lustrous hair are always signs of beauty,” Provine added.

“They are reliable, honest signals because they are hard to change,” he said. “When has disease, red, runny eyes, hair that’s falling out and skin lesions been attractive? Ultimately, beauty is a matter of good health and the evolutionary product of likely reproductive success. There is nothing arbitrary about beauty.”

To read the full article titled “Beauty is in the shifting eye of the beholder,” click here.

Robert Provine, Psychology, in the Globe and Mail and New York Magazine

Robert ProvinePsychology Research Professor and Professor Emeritus Robert Provine has been in the news recently for his research on crying. In an article published in Canada’s Globe and Mail, Provine shared insight about his work.

He discussed how someone else’s crying “is appealing to you to provide caregiving, and at least sympathy,” which can be emotionally tiring, if not exhausting. “Dealing with crying people can be ‘expensive’ in the sense that they have needs that you’ll be expected to meet,” said Provine. He also discussed how the idea of crying making someone feel better is “complicated”: “Some people may report it feeling good, but the evidence about that is unclear,” he said.

In an article in New York Magazine‘s “Science of Us” section, Provine discussed how crying isn’t easy to do on command and is hard to stop, once started. “Emotional tearing is under very weak conscious control — most people can’t do it voluntarily,” Provine said.

To read both articles, click below:
Crying daily isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s an all-human super-power (Globe and Mail)
How to stop yourself from crying (New York Magazine)

Robert Provine, Psychology, on Australian National Radio

Robert ProvinePsychology Research Professor and Professor Emeritus Robert Provine was recently interviewed by Radio National (RN) in Australia about his research on yawning, sneezing, and hiccuping. Provine’s interview appeared on the RN program “The Body Sphere” and the title of the segment was “Breathing Through Pain.”

“One of the most striking things about contagious yawning is that it reminds us that we are not a conscious being with total voluntary control of our behavior. When you see someone else yawn, you don’t decide, I’m going to do what that person over there just did. We simply do it,” Provine said during the program. “When we yawn, and when we hear other people yawning, we’re synchronizing our behavior with other members of the group,” he added.

To listen to the full RN segment, click here.

Carlo DiClemente, Psychology, in the Baltimore Sun

In the wake of three hit-and-run accidents in the Baltimore region, the Baltimore Sun recently published an article addressing the question of what leads someone to flee an accident where another person may have suffered harm?

Carlo DiClemente

Psychology professor Carlo DiClemente was quoted in the article and discussed how alcohol, a factor in about 30 percent of traffic fatalities nationally, can amplify emotions of fear, shame, and guilt which overwhelm self-control.

“Rational decision-making is clearly difficult in an intoxicated state, particularly as blood-alcohol levels increase,” said DiClemente. “Fear and escape motivations kick in and, without good executive functioning, make flight more probable.”

DiClemente, who researches addictive behavior, was recently appointed to the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The council advises and makes recommendations to the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) secretary, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) director on research program and policy matters in the field of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. For more information, click here.

To read the full article in the Baltimore Sun, click here.

Robert Provine, Psychology, Responds to EDGE Annual Question

Each year, EDGE.org poses an annual question to leading scientists, philosophers, and artists to tackle some of the world’s most complex issues. The responses are featured as a collection of online essays that is later published as part of a high-profile and top-selling series of books for a general audience, and the annual event draws global news coverage.

Robert ProvineAs he has for all ten of EDGE’s events, Psychology Research Professor and Professor Emeritus Robert Provine contributed to this year’s question: “What do you think about machines that think?” In his response titled “Irrational Machines and Humans,” Provine wrote that humans should not worry about future characteristics of robots and their ability to spur a future clash with their creators.

“Humans will prevail, in part through primal, often disreputable qualities that are more associated with our downfall than salvation. Cunning, deception, revenge, suspicion, and unpredictability, befuddle less flexible and imaginative entities. Intellect isn’t everything, and the irrational is not necessarily maladaptive,” wrote Provine.

He added: “There is no indication that we will have a problem keeping our machines on a leash, even if they misbehave. We are far from building teams of swaggering, unpredictable, Machiavellian robots with an attitude problem and urge to reproduce.”

To read Provine’s complete response, along with other responses from founders of AI and robotics, Nobelists, and many others, click here. For more information on Provine’s responses to the EDGE question in previous years, click here.

On Sunday, February 1, Provine is contributing to an event at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum titled “The Human Guide to Our Creative Brain.” For more information, click here.

Carlo DiClemente, Psychology, Appointed to National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Carlo DiClementePsychology Professor Carlo DiClemente has been appointed to the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The council advises and makes recommendations to the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) secretary, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) director on research program and policy matters in the field of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

The council consists of 15 members appointed by the HHS secretary who are leaders in scientific disciplines relevant to NIAAA activities, including public health, behavioral and social sciences, public policy, law, health policy, economics, and management.

DiClemente’s research focuses on smoking cessation, motivation and stages of change for a variety of health behaviors, understanding the mechanism of change in alcohol and substance abuse, and Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) training in medical residency programs.

Last year, DiClemente received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Addictive Behaviors Special Interest Group (AB-SIG) of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). To learn more, click here.

The National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism appointment is a four-year term. To learn more about the council, click here.