SPUR 2018 Projects: Social & Behavioral Science

Psychology | College of Social & Behavioral Science


Baby Study
Elisabeth Conradt, Assistant Professor

We study why some children exposed to early life stress develop problems with self-regulation while others do not. We are starting to tackle this problem by studying women who have mood disorders, like depression or anxiety, while pregnant. We collect physiological and behavioral measures from them, their placenta once they have given birth, and then we evaluate their newborn's behavior. The goal is to better understand how prenatal exposure to maternal mood disorder can impact newborn neurobehavior at multiple levels of analysis: physiologically, behaviorally, and at the level of the genome. We are then following up with our participants to get a better sense of how their infants self-regulate at 7 and 18 months of age. This research will advance our understanding of which children are particularly susceptible to early life experiences, and why.

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Psychology | College of Social & Behavioral Science


Electrophysiological correlates of efficient visual search
Trafton Drew, Assistant Professor

There are many instances where the ability to find a target can have important societal consequences. There is a great value in identifying individuals who are good at detecting cancer on radiological scans or baggage screening situations. The current projects aims to identify the electrophysiological correlates that differentiate good searchers from poor searchers. Identifying these correlates may help us:

  1. identify what aspects of processing information are critical in determining success during visual search
  2. identify individuals who may be more likely to excel at tasks that require excellent visual search performance.

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Sociology | College of Social & Behavioral Science


Health promotion and education for uninsured free clinic patients and refugees resettled in the US
Akiko Kamimura, Assistant Professor

This proposed project will focus on community health - health promotion and education for uninsured free clinic patients and refugees resettled in the US. I have developed projects to improve health of free clinic patients with the Maliheh Free Clinic and of refugees resettled in Utah in the past five years, and have established the following steps for each sub-project (Note: Each sub-project usually completes in one semester to accommodate with student schedule. There are multiple sub-projects each semester.):

  • Step 1: Need assessment
  • Step 2: Research
  • Step 3: Outreach and implementations
  • Step 4: Re-evaluation
  • Step 5: Dissemination

This proposed project aims at integrating and expanding the projects from previous semesters to better provide health education programs to these underserved populations. The main focus topic will be healthy lifestyle. My community health research projects are based upon the community-based participatory research (CBPR) model. The main characteristics of the CBPR model include "participatory", "cooperative, engaging community members and researchers in a joint process in which both contribute equally", "co-learning process", "systems development and local community capacity building", "empowering process," and "a balance between research and action" (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008). This proposed project is important because it combines scientific research with action (practice implications) and contributes both to scholarship and practice. Additionally, this project will contribute to individuals, society and the community by improving health of underserved populations in Utah and beyond.

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