Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Psychology

Author Tracy Cutchlow ’97 and her daughter.
Spring 2015

Bringing up babies

If only babies came with instruction manuals.

A simple set of operating guidelines might help new parents navigate the necessity of naps, manage mealtimes, and teach a toddler to share.

While there are thousands of books and guides and websites, the situation is far from simple. Well-meaning childhood experts, doctors, and parents have blanketed early childhood with good, bad, and often conflicting advice. “The problem is, no one has time to read all that’s out there,” says Tracy Cutchlow ’97, a journalist, book editor, and (fairly) new mother.

Raising a baby can be confusing, confounding, and complicated, Cutchlow admits one afternoon over coffee in Seattle. … » More …

Chinese cannabis text
Summer 2014

Sex, drugs, and differences

After decades of researching gender differences in the effects of drugs, Rebecca Craft has found that females using marijuana are likelier than men to become dependent on the drug and suffer more severe withdrawals.

At the same time, females seem to be more sensitive to the drug’s pain-relieving qualities.

Craft, a Washington State University psychology professor who studies the effects of psychoactive drugs on rats, has reported these findings most recently in journals such as Life Sciences and Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Her work, funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, focuses on the medical side of cannabinoids, the class of drugs … » More …

Psychologist Craig Parks
Spring 2014

The calculus of caring and cooperation

Shortly after the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, the American Red Cross had to wrestle with an odd sort of philanthropic success. So many people donated blood, there was far more than what was needed for the entire nation, let alone the attacks’ survivors. Many people donated money, more than $500 million. And, after covering its immediate costs, the charity diverted most of it to other Red Cross needs.

Feeling they were misled, donors and families of the 9/11 victims were not happy. The head of the Red Cross resigned, but not before being called to account to Congress.

And … » More …

Fall 2013

If You Don’t Snooze, You Lose

About an hour before sunrise on August 27, 2006, Comair Flight 5191 was approaching 120 miles per hour on its takeoff from the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, when co-pilot James Polehinke noticed something strange about the runway.

“That is weird,” he said in a conversation captured by the flight recorder. “No lights.”

“Yeah,” said Capt. Jeffrey Clay.

Sixteen seconds later, their 50-seat commuter jet ran out of runway. Polehinke just managed to get airborne but not enough. The plane hit an earthen berm, clipped a fence and a clump of trees, and went down in a ball of flames.

The pilots had gone … » More …

Fall 2013

Booze, Sex, and Reality Check

Last August, before starting classes, before even really getting to explore campus, the 4,000-some members of the freshman class were required to take an hour-long clinic designed to improve their behaviors.

The Booze, Sex, and Reality Checks program came during the Week of Welcome. Amidst the moving in, concerts, picnics, and open houses, WSU’s new students ducked into cool classrooms for versions of a seminar on drinking and sex.

“We don’t normally have firsthand interaction with students,” says Leah Hyman, a human development graduate student who broke form to assist a WSU drug and alcohol counselor in the workshops. In a field rife with … » More …

Winter 2011

Five ways to focus your attention

If attention were a coin, it would be slipping through our fingers countless times a day. Here are a few simple tips to help you keep a grip.

Do one thing at a time. Such advice is easy to ignore when you just want to check your phone while someone is talking to you. But it’s nearly impossible to pay attention to two things at once. “Even with pretty easy tasks” says Lisa Fournier, an associate professor of psychology at Washington State University whose research focuses on selective attention, it can still be hard to successfully divide your mental faculties. And before you brag about … » More …