Faculty Research Grants
Dr. Carmen Westerberg
McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award.
Award Amount: $300,000
Project title: "Does Superior Sleep Physiology Contribute to Superior Memory Function? Implications for Counteracting Forgetting". This project investigates the contribution of sleep-dependent memory consolidation to the extraordinary memory abilities exhibited by individuals with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. Determining how sleep forestalls forgetting may enable future treatments benefitting those who are suffering memory loss.
Dr. Ty Schepis
R34 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Award Amount: $551,503
Project title: Preventing Prescription Stimulant Diversion and Medication Misuse Via a Web-Based Simulation Intervention.
Dr. Schepis is a co-investigator (the PI is at Trinity College in Hartford, CT). We are developing a web-based intervention to prevent giving away or selling (i.e., diversion) of prescription stimulant medication. Prescription stimulants are typically prescribed for ADHD and include medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. This three-year project will involve the development and initial testing of the web-based simulation in college students at three universities: Trinity College, Texas State University, and the University of Wyoming.
Dr. Jen Clegg-Petz
John Templeton Foundation Human Sciences Division Small Grant
Award Amount: $234,800
Project title: Natural and supernatural representations in nonreligious households: Examining nonreligious parents’ and children’s explicit and implicit beliefs
Brief Summary: What are the origins of religious belief? There are two competing hypotheses among those interested in the origin of beliefs in supernatural beings and causal forces: According to one—the naturalness hypothesis—such religious beliefs result from interactions between natural or predictably-developing cognitive tendencies and cultural socialization processes. According to the other—the cultural exposure hypothesis—religious beliefs are purely the result of cultural transmission. Past research has examined the implicit beliefs of adults and the early-developing beliefs of children to alternatively provide evidence for both hypotheses, but a key group whose beliefs could help to parse the separate roles of cognitive biases and cultural transmission in the acquisition of religious beliefs—children raised in nonreligious households—has been relatively understudied. Little is known about the early beliefs of children in nonreligious households or their exposure to religious beliefs and practices through their parents. A full understanding of the early beliefs of children raised in nonreligious households, however, also requires examination of their parents’ religious beliefs and practices. Thus, we have two main Aims that examine questions concerning both the nature of nonreligious parents’ explicit and implicit beliefs (Aim 1) and the extent to which these beliefs are evident in their children’s religion-relevant reasoning (Aim 2). We will develop a flexible online testing system to procure a geographically-diverse sample and provide a basis for advancing methods in parent-child research. These studies will be some of the first to examine within-subject variation in religion-relevant biases and beliefs in parents and children in order to directly assess the relative influence of natural cognitive biases versus socialization on the acquisition of explicit religious beliefs.
Dr. Natalie Ceballos & Dr. Reiko Graham
Innovative Physiological Predictors of College Binge Drinking
Award Amount: $357,591
This study will examine biomedical and behavioral factors that may be related to college students’ urges to drink alcohol and their inability to stop drinking during an alcohol binge. Results of this study will provide a better understanding of why college students engage in activities that may harm their health and may be used to develop programs to help college students establish healthier drinking practices.
Dr. Jessica Perrotte
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Health Disparities Research, Loan Repayment Program Award
Award Amount: $83,283
Project title: Alcohol use and related factors among Latina women: Addressing gaps in the literature with a multi-systems perspective. The research activities under this contract will target bridging sociocultural and cognitive motivational theories to explore alcohol use, misuse, and related problems among Latinas in the U.S.