Ms. Tan Sze Ying, one of our clinical graduate students, featured in the news

September 22, 2014

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Ms. Tan Sze Ying, a former full-time Teaching Assistant and currently one of our graduate students in the Clinical Psychology program, was recently featured in the news for her volunteer work with the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC). Well done, Sze Ying!

To read more about this, please go to:

http://newssearch.cc/uploaded/MSF/Sep14/22Sep14/NewsPaper/20140922-STHM-Home-B07-21×33.jpg


Brown Bag Talk by Mr. Daniel Gan on 19 September

September 16, 2014

daniel_gan

Speaker: Mr. Daniel Gan

Title: Early Predictors of Social and Non-social Autistic-Like Traits in Toddlers

Date: 19 September 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)

Abstract:

Recent research has demonstrated that while Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and autistic-like traits (ALTs) share a common etiology, independent sets of etiological factors appear to underlie the different core autistic dimensions. The present study investigated whether early precursors of ASD (occurring at birth and in the first year of life) were significantly associated with and predicted later social and non-social ALTs in 18-month-old toddlers. Participants were 368 Singaporean toddlers involved in a nationwide prospective longitudinal study: GUSTO (Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes). Results showed that different infant precursors predicted social versus non-social ALTs at 18 months. The study findings resonate with earlier literature suggesting that the core autistic dimensions are each underpinned by distinct sets of etiological factors. In addition, they provide preliminary cross-cultural support for the view that the etiological contributions and neurobiological abnormalities underpinning the different core autistic dimensions are likely different.

About the Speaker:

Daniel received his B.Soc.Sci.(Hons) degree in Psychology from NUS. He is currently a M.Soc.Sci. candidate in the department. His main research seeks to identify early life predictors of autistic traits in young children.


New Psychology Texts at the Central Library

September 15, 2014

New psychology books come in every week at the Central Library. Subscribe to the Psychology Department blog to be kept informed of new arrivals!

If these books are out on loan, do place a hold on them by clicking on the orange “Request” button at the top of the page- that way, you can be the next one to read them!

To see more new Psychology books, click here.

1. Introduction to the psychology of ageing for non-specialists

(By Ian Stuart-Hamilton)

Central Library (Level 3)

BF724.8 Stu 2014

Introduction to the psychology of ageing for non-specialists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book:

A complete primer for non-specialists on the psychology of ageing, this accessible and comprehensive book explains the key issues clearly and concisely. Beginning with explanations of ageing, life expectancy and demographics, it goes on to discuss the aspects of ageing that have the most impact on people’s lives. From changes in intelligence and personality to mental health and sexuality, the author explains the psychology involved and focuses on the points that offer the most practical help to those working with the older populous. Drawing on the latest findings in the field, the book provides a comprehensive overview of the subject. (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

(2) Pretend play in childhood : foundation of adult creativity

(By Sandra W. Russ)

Central Library (Level 3)

BF717 Rus 2014

Pretend play in childhood_foundation of adult creativity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About this book:

Sandra W. Russ reviews the theory and research on pretend play and creativity, arguing that pretend play in childhood provides a foundation for adult creativity. She describes cognitive and affective processes involved in play and creativity, as well as the possible evolutionary purposes of play and its cultural variations. In particular, she highlights the importance of pretend play in helping children to access emotional memories and fantasies and presents interventions designed to encourage children s creativity (APA).

 3. Young child observation : a development in the theory and method of infant observation

(Edited by Simonetta M. G. Adamo and Margret Rustin)

Central Library (Level 3)

BF721 You 2014

Young child observation_a development in the theory and method of infant observation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book:

Observing young children at play is an everyday and often fascinating and pleasurable experience for many of us. It also has a great pedigree in the development of psychoanalysis from Freud’s observation of his grandson’s game with the cotton-reel onwards.

This book describes the practice of observing young children in home and nursery settings in a systematic and non-intrusive way in order to expand our understanding of their emotional, cognitive, and social development. It uses a psychoanalytic lens to enrich the meaning of what is seen. How do minds and personalities take shape? How can we train people to see what is most relevant in helping children to develop?

The chapters range from classic papers by famous practitioners of an older generation to observations completed in recent years in the UK, Europe, and the US. Observation of this sort has also spread to Latin America, India, Australia, Africa, and the Far East. The differences and continuities with Infant Observation are the starting point. What happens when a child starts nursery? How active a playmate should an observer be? How do we balance the close attention given to the observed child with the wider group of children in a nursery? How do we make sense of the marked cultural differences we see between families, nurseries, and indeed national cultures? How can we use observation as a baseline for early intervention and how can we research what we are doing? (Karnac Books)

(4) Psychology in your life

(By Sarah Grison)

Central Library (Level 3)

Psychology in your life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About this book:

This is a new introductory text designed to help students succeed in the course. Psychology in Your Life was created with the realities of the modern classroom in mind–the text and the media get students actively engaged with the topics, show them how psychology can be relevant to their lives, and teach them how to be critical consumers of information.

Contents covered include the world of psychology, the role of biology in psychology, consciousness, development across the lifespan, sensation and perception, learning, memory, thinking and cognitive abilities, motivation and emotion, health and well-being, social psychology, personality, psychological disorders, psychological treatments, etc. (W.W. Norton & Co.)

(5) Child forensic psychology : victim and eyewitness memory

(Edited by Robyn H. Holliday and Tammy A. Marche)

BF371 Chi 2013

Child forensic psychology_victim and eyewitness memory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About this book:

Using real-life criminal cases to illustrate theory and practices, this is important reading for those seeking to understand children as witnesses and as victims in forensic psychology. Ideal for students and practitioners of both developmental and forensic psychology, it offers fascinating insight into the mysteries of child forensic psychology. (Palgrave Macmillan)


New Psychology Texts at the Central Library

September 9, 2014

If these books are out on loan, do place a hold on them by clicking on the orange “Request” button at the top of the page- that way, you can be the next one to read them!

To see more new Psychology books, click here.

1. Creative arts and play therapy for attachment problems

(edited by Cathy A. Malchiodi, David A. Crenshaw.)

Central Library (Level 3)

RJ507 Att.Cr 2014

attachement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book:

This book vividly shows how creative arts and play therapy can help children recover from experiences of disrupted or insecure attachment. Leading practitioners explore the impact of early relationship difficulties on children’s emotions and behavior. Rich case material brings to life a range of therapeutic approaches that utilize art, music, movement, drama, creative writing, and play. The volume covers ways to address attachment issues with individuals of different ages, as well as their caregivers. Chapters clearly explain the various techniques and present applications for specific populations, including complex trauma survivors. Subject Areas/Keywords: art therapy, attachment disorders, attachment problems, bonding, child abuse, children, creative arts therapies, creative therapies, dance, disorganized, disrupted, drama, expressive therapies, families, family, infants, insecure, interventions, movement, music, parents, play therapy, psychological trauma, psychotherapy, relationships, trauma. (Gilford Press)

2. The psychology and economics of happiness love, life and positive living

(By Lok Sang Ho)

psychology happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About this e-book:

Much attention has been given to the economics of everyday life, which typically applies economic principles to the analysis of the different choices that people face under different situations. Yet there are hardly any books on the economics of life—an economics that takes the finite lifespan as the starting point and that looks at how one can maximize the subjective value from life given the constraint of the limited lifespan.

In this volume, Lok Sang Ho suggests that the lack of progress in happiness among developed countries despite significant economic growth is due to a deficit of “mental goods”, rather than a lack of material goods. The author stresses the role of culture and mental habits in determining the efficacy of gaining mental goods which includes love, a sense of security and autonomy, contentment, self-esteem, self-acceptance, and freedom from anxiety. Drawing on empirical research, the book explores how to invest, work, and consume from a whole life perspective, arguing that every action – consumption, investment, or work – should enhance the total quality of life. This overriding concern about life itself is known as love. (Routledge)

3. Controversy in the psychology classroom : Using hot topics to foster critical thinking

(Edited by Dana S. Dunn … [et al.].)

Central Library (Level 3)

BF77 Con 2013

controversy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book:

One of the hallmarks of a quality liberal arts education is providing undergraduates the opportunity to wrestle with controversial issues. Yet many teachers feel ill-equipped when it comes to broaching disagreeable topics, managing the resulting heated debates, or helping students to separate their personal feelings from scientific evidence. This book provides frameworks for teaching controversial topics and skills for handling disruptions, so teachers can help students evaluate evidence and develop testable questions.

Specific teaching topics covered include: evolutionary psychology, childrearing, sexual orientation, animal experimentation, evil, diversity and social justice, gender and ethnicity, religion, disability and healthcare policy. (APA)

4. Anti-poverty psychology

(By Stuart C. Carr)

poverty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About this e-book:

Anti-Poverty Psychology traces the evolution of conceptualizations of poverty and its solutions, forcefully arguing for a higher level of current and future efforts. This visionary volume provides readers with a clear roadmap from goals (e.g., the Millennium Development Goals) to implementation that neither shames nor objectifies those being served. The author demonstrates how, in both research and the real world, progress is best achieved through systematic, cross-disciplinary, multi-perspective collaboration, alignment with local values, and greater accountability on the part of all involved. Coverage balances macro, meso and micro levels of analysis in such areas as:

•Constructs of personality: beyond mythmaking and pathologizing.

•Building the socially responsible organization.

•The role of community in self-empowerment.

•Harnessing the potential of markets in poverty reduction.

•Minting media social capital

•The hidden psychology of international aid.

•Mobilizing human talent locally

•Developing research advocacy and its component skills.

(Springer)

5. The psychology of music in multimedia

(By Siu-Lan Tan, Annabel J. Cohen, Scott D. Lipscomb, and Roger A. Kendall.)

Psychology music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About this e-book:

The Psychology of Music in Multimedia presents a wide range of scientific research on the psychological processes involved in the integration of sound and image when engaging with film, television, video, interactive games, and computer interfaces. Collectively, the rich chapters in this edited volume represent a comprehensive treatment of the existing research on the multimedia experience, with the aim of disseminating the current knowledge base and inspiring future scholarship. The focus on empirical research and the strong psychological framework make this book an exceptional and distinctive contribution to the field. The international collection of contributors represents eight countries and a broad range of disciplines including psychology, musicology, neuroscience, media studies, film, and communications. Each chapter includes a comprehensive review of the topic and, where appropriate, identifies models that can be empirically tested. (Oxford)


Brown Bag Talk by A/P Stuart Derbyshire on 12 September

September 8, 2014

Stuart

Speaker: A/P Stuart Derbyshire

Title: Determining the neural determinants of pain

Date: 12 September 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)

Abstract:

The results of functional imaging studies have demonstrated that there is a characteristic ‘neuromatrix’ for pain involving the thalamus, primary and secondary somatosensory cortices and prefrontal, anterior cingulate and insular cortices. This finding has been replicated in many studies and complements the psychological understanding of pain as a multidimensional experience involving sensory, affective and cognitive processes. For all its apparent sophistication, however, it is arguable whether functional imaging has provided anything more than a highly sophisticated description of pain. Any mechanism that might explain or determine the experience of pain remains elusive. One approach to this problem is to move away from static descriptions of brain function and explore the underlying connectivity of functional  brain regions. Chronic functional pain, for example, might be understood as a failure of connectivity from brain stem structures to cortical regions that typically dampen pain experience. Preliminary attempts to demonstrate such failed connectivity in fibromyalgia patients will be presented. Another approach to the problem of descriptive functional studies is to accept that pain is fundamentally subjective and so cannot be reduced to neural networks, no matter how sophisticated the modeling might be. Trying to develop a theory of pain via functional imaging might be like trying to develop a theory of carpets via physics.

About the Speaker:

Stuart is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at NUS and A*STAR-NUS Clinical Imaging Research Centre (CIRC). He obtained his PhD at the University of London in 1995 and shortly after left for Pittsburgh and then UCLA. After a return to the UK and the University of Birmingham, he arrived at NUS last year. Stuart’s main research area is the relationship between objectivity (such as the wavelength of light) and perceptual experience (such as the colour blue). With brain imaging he tracks the neural basis for sensation and, apart from having fun doing cool things, the aim is to understand disturbing and painful disorders of perception

 


A/P Leher Singh’s research finds advantages for bilingual infants

September 3, 2014

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A/P Leher Singh was the lead author on a recent paper in Child Development that shows that six-month-old infants exposed to two languages show better learning and memory than infants exposed to only one language. To read more about this groundbreaking work, go to the links below:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-study-finds/1341274.html

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/babies-bilingual-homes-show-better-learning-memory-skills-study

http://www.a-star.edu.sg/Media/News/Press-Releases/ID/3300/Singaporean-Birth-Cohort-Study-Finds-Benefits-for-Babies-Exposed-to-Two-Languages.aspx


Brown Bag Talk by A/P Christopher L. Asplund on 5 September

September 1, 2014

Chris-Asplund

 

Speaker: A/P Christopher L. Asplund

Title: Don’t be surprised: Unexpected events reveal much about the control of attention

Date: 5 September 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)

Abstract:

Attention is the process by which we select and enhance some information for further cognitive processing. Although attention is often under our control (voluntary), it can also be powerfully captured by unexpected events in the environment. Yet for coherent behavior to emerge, the control of attention has to be coordinated. In this talk, I will explore what we have learned about attentional control from the Surprise-induced Blindness paradigm, in which the presentation of a novel, unexpected, and task-irrelevant stimulus virtually abolishes conscious detection of a target presented within half a second after the ‘Surprise’ stimulus. The neural correlates of the effect suggest that the lateral prefrontal cortex underlies the coordination of attention, whereas numerous behavioral studies have allowed us to better understand the factors influencing the trade-off between staying on task and attending to what is new. These factors include instruction, experience, and individual differences in related attentional limitations.

About the Speaker:

Chris Asplund is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Social Sciences at Yale-NUS College. He earned his AB in Cognitive Psychology from Princeton University in 2003, having spent part of his undergraduate career at University College London and Ohio State. His interest in the neural basis of cognition then led him to René Marois’ lab at Vanderbilt University, where he studied the limits of human attention, working memory, and reasoning using both behavioral measures and functional neuroimaging (fMRI). Soon after receiving his PhD in 2010, he moved to Singapore, where he was a Research Fellow working with Michael Chee at Duke-NUS. He joined Yale-NUS in May 2013.


Brown Bag Talk by A/P Konstadina Griva on 29 August

August 25, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Speaker: A/P Konstadina Griva

Title: HED SMART – the hemodialysis self management randomized trial. A brief low intensity intervention to improve outcomes in hemodialysis patients

Date: 29 August 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)

Abstract:

Introduction and Aims: Adherence to treatment recommendations on diet, fluid and medication is important to maximize good clinical outcomes in Hemodialysis yet it remains suboptimal and not well-understood. This trial set out to examine the effect of the HED- SMART intervention, a four-session, group-delivered self-management intervention on treatment adherence indicators.

Methods: Eligible HD patients were randomized to either usual care (N= 133) or HED-SMART intervention (n=102). Measures of self-report adherence, self-management skills and biochemical markers were collected at baseline, immediately and at 3 and 9 months post-intervention. The intervention was facilitated by renal healthcare professionals and involved problemsolving and goal-setting for fluid control, diet and medication. 

Results: A total of 235 participants were enrolled [mean age ± 53.46 (±10.41) years]. The study was completed by 74.8%. Significant differences between groups were found in change in interdialytic weight gains, potassium and phosphate levels during the intervention phase and the 3-month follow-up indicating improved dietary/fluid control and medication intake for the intervention participants (all p <.01). The Improvements in weight gains were maintained by 9 months yet the change in phosphate and potassium levels at 9 months was small and not significant (p = 0.08). Significant differences between groups were found in secondary outcomes across all time points: self-reported adherence, self-management skills and self- efficacy. There were no adverse effects.

Conclusions: These analyses indicate the efficacy of the HED-SMART program with significant post-intervention improvements in both clinical markers and self-report adherence. These observed improvements, if supported and maintained at the longer follow-up (18 months), could significantly reduce ESRD-related complications in the longer term. Given the feasibility of this kind of program, it has strong potential for providing effective support to many hemodialysis patients in the future.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Konstadina Griva is an Associate Professor in Psychology at NUS. She received her MSC Health Psych (1997) and PhD (2004) from University College London UK where she worked as a Senior Research Fellow until 2008. A/P Konstadina Griva joined NUS in 2008.


Brown Bag Talk by Mr. Syaheed Jabar on 22 August

August 18, 2014

Syaheed_BrownBag

Speaker: Mr. Syaheed Jabar

Title: Orienting to probable stimuli increases speed, precision, and kurtosis. A study in perceptual estimation

Date: 22 August 2014, 1-2pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)

Abstract:

Stimulus probabilities affect detection performance. Rare targets, even in security or medical screenings, are missed more often than frequent ones. To minimize such probability-related costs, there is a need to understand how probability effects relate to perceptual processes. A previous experiment demonstrated that smaller errors were made when estimating orientations of exogenously-cued spatial Gabors. Exogenous cues might be biasing perceptual processing towards the features in the cued location, and enhancing the perceptual representations of the target. Here, the same “attentional” effects were replicated without the use of explicit cues. Instead, different location-orientation conjunctions occurred with different probabilities. Across different probability distributions, it was consistently observed that participants rapidly developed faster and more precise estimations for higher-probability tilts. This occurred despite participants not being instructed on the underlying probability distributions, despite participants not being able to indicate confidence differences, despite the probability distribution being complex, and despite probability differences being fine-grained. High-probability tilts were also consistently associated with a distribution of angular errors that were more kurtotic than for low-probability tilts. Mixture model analyses suggested that these kurtosis differences reflect a mix of ‘precise’ and ‘coarse’ estimations, with high-probability tilts being associated with more of the former. Additionally, near-vertical orientations were associated with an increased kurtosis, particularly when vertical tilts were probable. A neurobiological simulation further suggests that these observed perceptual effects are mathematically consistent with stimulus probability affecting the width and mixture of V1 population tuning functions. Similar to mechanisms underlying perceptual biases, these findings suggest that acquired information might be affecting neural sensitivity to result in better-encoded perceptual representations for high-probability tilts.

About the Speaker:

Syaheed received his B.Soc.Sci. (Hons.) degree majoring in Psychology from the National University of Singapore in 2013, where he was also in the University Scholars Programme. He is currently in the psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience) PhD program at the University of Waterloo, supervised by Dr. Britt Anderson. He is particularly interested in studying, and computationally modelling, perceptual and attentional effects. He prefers writing code to writing papers.


Dr. Michelle See on “Talking Point”

August 12, 2014

Dr. Michelle See recently participated in a Talking Point episode which discussed kind and gracious behaviors in Singapore.

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To watch this, go to

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/tv/tvshows/tp/episodes/how-to-lose-the-ugly/1289006.html