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The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences holds diversity, equity, and inclusion as important values. We view diversity broadly, including but not limited to an individual's race, age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability status, beliefs, and culture, as well as how those identities intersect. Supporting diversity in our faculty, student body, and staff, as well as valuing and respecting diversity in our teaching, research, service, and clinical work, represent important priorities that contribute to the strength of the department. We encourage the open exchange of ideas from a variety of viewpoints in an environment of respect, collaboration, and fairness. We promote the principles of equity and inclusion within our department and beyond through recruitment and retention, graduate training, clinical work, research, service and teaching, as well as through open and productive dialogue.
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Jasmin Cloutier - Much of my research focuses on how race and status-based diversity impacts how we form impressions of others. This work stems from a theoretical framework that systematically investigate the different facets of how social status shapes the perception and evaluation of others. As socioeconomic stratification becomes increasingly prevalent and salient around the world, being able to identify when status-based biases occur and what are the consequences of these biases is vital to prevent discriminatory behavior. My other central research focuses on examining how interracial contact and motivation impacts our impressions of both outgroup and ingroup individuals. For example, my research reveals that perceivers with greater experience with racial outgroup members have differential brain responses to Black familiar faces than those with little contact, indicating a potential threat reduction. We are also investigating how interracial contact broadly shapes brain responses and mentalizing performance towards others beyond interracial interactions.
Chad Forbes - The underrepresentation of minorities in academia and women in STEM fields has deleterious ramifications on the nation’s economy, academic and corporate diversity, national productivity, innovation and quality of STEM products, services and education, and overall quality of life. My research program seeks to identify ways to increase the representation of minorities in academia and women in STEM fields; thus it stands to have broad impacts on future intervention programs, science and our nation. My research has been disseminated to many minorities and women STEM majors in public forums, which has provided an opportunity to educate these groups, as well as majority groups, about the deleterious consequences of stereotype threat on minorities’ academic and women’s STEM engagement and the dire need to promote their retention in these fields. Furthermore, dozens of students, including women and underrepresented minorities, are trained yearly in cutting-edge neuroscience methodologies and have had the opportunity to present findings at national conferences. This is in addition to contributions my research program has made to the University of Delaware’s Center for the Study of Diversity, as well as numerous McNair scholar’s that I, as a first generation college student myself, have mentored in the past.
James Jones (Professor Emeritus) - James Jones has developed the idea of diversity competency—the perspective, attitude and motivation to interact in and benefit from diverse contexts and relationships. The diversity competence model consists of five main features: diversity self-awareness, perspective taking, cultural intelligence, personal and social responsibility and knowledge application. We have developed a 15-item diversity competency scale, which has demonstrated good psychometric properties and is associated with a variety of trait level characteristics integral to prosocial behaviors. Current research explores the ways in which diversity competency is expressed in problem solving, interpersonal relationships and interactions, decision-making and academic success. The research further explores how academic curriculum and co-curricular activities contribute to the development of diversity competency.
Jennifer Kubota - The aim of my work is to identify the factors that reduce implicit and explicit social group bias to better understand how to intervene in discrimination and decision-making. My approach to diversity science underscores my deep commitment to prejudice intervention research by not only identifying how we might decrease discrimination, but also testing these interventions in real-world settings in order to more appropriately inform public policy. I also enjoy serving as a mentor and providing a voice for diverse scholars and strive to include a variety of diverse perspectives in the courses I teach. Throughout my academic career, I have made it a priority to engage fellow members of underrepresented communities with the goals of highlighting resilience and building sources of mentorship to maximize positive academic outcomes. As a multiracial first-generation scholar my personal journey, research, teaching, and service can be characterized by a strong commitment to promoting and creating diversity and multicultural competency.
Peter Mende-Siedlecki - My primary program of research focuses on group-based influences on social perception. In particular, my work examines how the malleability of social perpeption can results in real-world disparities and inequality. For example, we've shown that racial disparities in pain treatment may stem, in part, from a perceptual source. White perceivers show more conservative thresholds for recognizing pain on Black (versus White) faces, and this gap in perception is driven by disruptions in human-typical face processing. Moreover, racial bias in pain perception predicts racial bias in treatment, above and beyond the influence of explicit stereotypes and prejudice. More recently, my lab's work has been focused on how racial bias in pain care is moderated by both bottom-up stimulus features, as well as top-down information regarding gender and social status. Beyond the focus of my research, I am deeply committed to fostering diversity in psychology and neuroscience, in terms of both demographics and viewpoints. In my lab in particular, I've made it a priority to recruit members of groups underrepresented in STEM at all levels of participation in my lab (from undergraduate research assistants to my graduate trainees) and I will continue to uphold this responsibility. Women of color are particularly underrepresented in my field, and thus are strongly encouraged to apply.
Mary Dozier - In our lab, we study the development of young children who experience early adversity. On the basis of our findings and the findings of others, we have developed a parenting intervention designed to enhance child outcomes. The parenting program, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC), helps parents provide nurturing, sensitive care. Through randomized clinical trials, we have been assessing the effectiveness of the ABC intervention over time. We have studied the effects among parents involved in the child welfare system, foster parents, parents adopting internationally, and parents who are dependent on opioids. With the exception of parents adopting internationally, these groups have been diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. We are disseminating the program nationally and internationally, adapting as needed to different cultures while retaining the essence of the intervention.
Julie Hubbard - My research program encompasses both basic and intervention work in the field of children's peer relations and aggressive behavior. At the level of basic research, I am particularly interested in furthering our understanding of the important role that bystanders play in children's bullying episodes, delineating the mechanisms underlying the reactive versus proactive functions of childhood aggression, and learning more about the precursors and outcomes of children's peer rejection and victimization. Over time, these topics have converged and provided the empirical foundation for an implementation and evaluation of a bullying prevention program in Delaware schools. Children and adolescents who are racial/ethnic minorities in the US are particularly likely to be involved in youth aggression as both perpetrators and victims, phenomena driven by cycles of discrimination and poverty that disproportionately affect minority youth in our society. For this reason, a critical goal of the work in my lab is to evaluate the efficacy of our school-based bullying prevention program for minority youth and the modifications that would increase its effectiveness.
Naomi Sadeh - The Personality and Dysregulation Lab conducts research that addresses issues that directly impact the lives of marginalized, disadvantaged, and minority groups, including drug addiction, traumatic stress, suicidal behavior, violence perpetration, and criminal behavior. The main focus of the lab is investigating the causes of these public health problems by studying psychological, biological, and environmental mechanisms that confer risk for impulsivity and difficulty controlling impulsive urges. For example, we are currently investigating what causes individuals with externalizing disorders (e.g., substance use disorders, antisocial personality disorder) to act impulsively in "risky" situations that evoke strong emotions and tax mental resources by looking at the contributions of brain circuitry, emotional and working memory processes, personality, and stress exposure. This research is expected to ultimately aid in the development of new treatments for mental health problems related to impulsivity by leading to a deeper understanding of the brain networks, emotional processes, and cognitive functions that support control of impulsive urges. Undergraduates who assist with research in the lab have the opportunity to directly engage with a diverse group of adults, as the majority of our research participants identify as ethnic minorities, come from communities with high rates of violent and nonviolent crime, report a history of repeated trauma exposure, and meet criteria for a range of psychiatric disorders.
Sophia Choukas-Bradley - The Teen and Young Adult Lab (TAYA Lab) conducts research focused on interpersonal and sociocultural influences on adolescent mental health. Major themes across our research projects include gender, sexuality, social media use, and body image. Much of our work focuses on understanding LGBTQ+ adolescents' identity, development, and mental health. Lab members have explored research questions related to the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in samples of racially and ethnically diverse adolescents. We use a broad range of study designs and methods, including qualitative interviews, which allow us to hear adolescents' own words and inform the development of larger-scale studies; longitudinal school-based studies, through which we can examine a broad range of behaviors over time; laboratory-based studies that integrate eye-tracking
technology; and anonymous online surveys, which allow us to reach understudied
populations. (For example, transgender adolescents who are not out to their
parents.) You can learn more about the TAYA Lab at www.sophiachoukasbradley.com. The lab is new to UD as of June 2020 (moving from the University of Pittsburgh) and we will post opportunities for UD students to get involved in the near future.
Ryan Beveridge and Tim Fowles - The Center for Training, Evaluation and Community Collaboration (C-TECC) conducts research evaluating the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices in the community. The main focus of our work is to understand how evidence developed in intervention science laboratories can impact complex and diverse mental health systems of care that serve the public. We explore specific questions such as the effectiveness of laboratory-developed interventions in community settings, whether treatments can and need to be adapted to meet the needs of diverse populations, and how successful implementation efforts are in reaching underserved populations. In partnership with our community collaborators, we have assisted in training hundreds of community clinicians in evidence-based interventions, evaluated these efforts across the State of Delaware, and helped provide mental health services to thousands of individuals, most of whom identify as ethnic minorities and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Our work is informed by a fundamental drive to increase the impact and relevance of clinical psychological science to reducing the burden of mental illness on individuals and society. Community projects are ongoing, and students interested in working with us are encouraged to learn more at www.ctecc.net.
BRIDGE Visit Day: The BRIDGE Psychology network works to promote diversity and inclusion in clinical psychology graduate programs. Our department holds a BRIDGE visit day in which those interested in graduate school can visit UD and learn about our program.
Project Brainlight - An outreach program led by graduate students in our department, focused on developing interest in psychological and brain sciences to students who may not get exposure to this in the classroom. Projects include visits to local schools and Brain-STEM Day, where local middle- and high-school students come to UD to get hands-on experience with neuroscience.
Scientista Foundation: Katrina Milbocker and Melanie Matyi co-founded a graduate chapter of the Scientista Foundation on campus this September. The mission of this organization is to promote the success of female graduate students in STEM-related disciplines. They are currently working on establishing a mentorship program between their members and those of the undergraduate Scientista Foundation chapter to encourage young women at UD to continue pursuing a career in science.
Letter to the UD community: Multiple faculty, graduate students, and staff in
the PBS department signed a letter to the UD community in support of UD black,
Muslim, Jewish, LGBTQ+, Latinx, Asian and Native American communities, along
with people without papers, people with disabilities, women and girls, the impoverished,
and immigrants and refugees.
Social Justice Coffee Hour: The goal of the Social Justice Coffee Hour, organized by PBS faculty member Lisa Jaremka and various campus co-sponsors, is to allow students, staff, faculty members, and community members space and time to collectively learn about and meaningfully engage with social issues. Each coffee hour focuses on a different topic, and features 3 speakers plus extensive discussion. Thus far, the coffee hours have focused on intersectional identities, mass incarceration, talking to kids about racism, and the #metoo movement.
Demonstration of Solidarity: Dr. Lisa Jaremka, in conjunction with various campus co-sponsors including PBS, organized a demonstration of solidarity on the UD green to show support for members of under-represented groups.
Persons of Color (POC) Affinity Group
The PBS Persons of Color Affinity Group includes members of the PBS Department (grad students, staff, post-docs and faculty) who self-identify as racial or ethnic minority individuals. The primary purpose of this group is to meet and a foster safe space for connection and community, learning, advocacy, support, and self-care. The umbrella term "Persons of Color" is used intentionally for the purpose of creating a broad space for all people who identify as members of racially and/or ethnically marginalized groups. This affinity space will be realized through regularly scheduled meetings, informal gatherings, as well as community engagement events (e.g. dinners, cultual outings). If you identify as a POC in the PBS community and would like to join the group, please email J-P Laurenceau.
LGBTQ+ Affinity Group
The primary goal of the LGBTQ+ Affinity Group is to create a community of PBS grad students, staff, post-docs, and faculty who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community - in other words, who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or any other gender or sexual minority. Through monthly gatherings and other events, we aim to create a safe space for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, including those who are not out to the broader department, to come together for connection, community, support, and advocacy. For more information please contact Sophie Choukas-Bradley.
Our Psychology Department is home to an active Diversity Committee that was established to understand and address issues regarding diversity and inclusion, both within our own research and teaching and beyond. The Diversity Committee welcomes participation from anyone who is part of the Psychological and Brain Sciences community (undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff). For more information on the committee, please contact Dr. Jared Medina.
We, like many of you, are saddened and angered as we bear witness to ongoing police brutality in the treatment of Black and African-American individuals. We condemn both the recent, visible actions (e.g. Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade) as well as the slow, pernicious ways (e.g., daily hassles and intergenerational trauma) in which Black and African-American people are discriminated against and oppressed. Anti-Black racism creates and exacerbates mental and physical health risks, including disproportionate risk for poor outcomes of COVID-19.
We know that experiencing racism or watching it unfold can be quite disheartening. Our nation has struggled with racism since its inception, and the problem can often feel too overwhelming to address.
However, we have hope for the future. As your teachers and mentors, the opportunity to teach so many talented, curious, caring young individuals is inspiring. We see how many of you are actively fighting against racism. Seeing this fills us with pride, and provides us with hope that we are moving towards a more just community.
To our Black students: We recognize that the steady drumbeat of continued crimes against Black people over the past 400 years has taken a deep and traumatic toll. We know that the fight to end racism has been ongoing for many years, with Black people frequently at the forefront of this fight. We also recognize that many of you are tired and frustrated by unresponsive or ineffective leadership on this issue. We can and should do more as a department to address these issues, and we are committed to making positive strides in the future. We intend to use our departmental diversity report to guide our actions over the next several years. For example, we are keenly aware that our student body and faculty lack diversity. We are working towards increasing Black students and faculty in our classrooms and labs, including taking advantage of programs offered by government funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health to enhance workforce diversity. As faculty, we want you to know that we are reevaluating our own teaching to make sure that it more effectively addresses the problem of racism. This letter is a public promise that we will take concrete action in the coming months and years to improve racial dynamics in our department. This statement is only one step in that process.
To all of our students: The PBS faculty includes individuals with a variety of viewpoints , but we are united in our opposition to racism and taking action as a community to address it. As PBS faculty, we've taught you the importance of critical thinking and intellectual rigor. As budding psychologists and potentially future scientists, we encourage you to use these skills to more fully understand racism, in its historical context; in its contemporary forms, and in its pernicious impacts on mental and physical health outcomes.
To our students who are against racial injustice, but aren't quite sure what to do: As people interested in psychology, we know that many of you were attracted to this field to understand how the mind works, why people make the decisions they do, and to help people. The issues facing our nation right now, such as racism, intergroup conflict, and biased decision making, are areas that psychologists have been studying for decades.
As a department, we acknowledge that words alone will not end racism. We also know that many of you want to know more about racism, and know what you can do to make our world more just. Regardless of our research area, we want you to know that we as faculty members are here for you, and want to be resources to you. Furthermore, many faculty are interested in these topics, and study the psychology of race. Accordingly, we offer a series of concrete action items to help you get started in understanding the psychology of race, and in getting involved in seeking social justice for Black people.
Read scholarly research about racism and racial inequality. Critically evaluate the evidence supporting an author’s argument and consider how a reading might inform your own actions. There is a huge literature on these topics from many disciplines. Below are a few examples:
Report from the APA Presidential Task Force on Preventing Discrimination and Promoting Diversity
Diversity science: Why and how makes a difference
The color-blind racial approach: Does race really matter?
Toward a social psychology of race and race relations for the twenty-first century
Complete this evidence-based diversity training from Purdue University or explore some of the race-related resources available from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Talk to your kids and younger siblings, about racism and encourage people you know with kids to do so as well. The American Psychological Association has a great list of resources on this topic.
Consider the ways you might integrate social justice principles into your career plans. For example, graduate students can think about their research, mentorship, teaching, and/or clinical work. Undergraduate students can think about becoming a research assistant for a lab that studies issues that disproportionately impact racial minorities or economically disadvantaged children and adults (e.g., labs for Dr. Beveridge, Dr. Cloutier, Dr. Dozier, Dr. Forbes, Dr. Hubbard, Dr. Kubota, Dr. Mende-Siedlecki, Dr. Quinn & Dr. Sadeh). They can also think about their long-term career goals and make sure they ensure their training and eventual job aligns with their social justice values.
Consider volunteering or lending support to Black-led organizations or initiatives that promote racial justice. You could focus on Black-led organizations that are geared towards your local community (a quick search online should lead you to some possibilities). You could also support national organizations who have been doing this type of work for years, like the NAACP.
Support and amplify the diversity of voices among Black scholars. For example, teachers should ensure diverse perspectives from Black scholars are represented on their class reading lists. Students, faculty, and staff can follow Black scholars on social media to re-share and bolster their messages.
This letter was focused on anti-black racism, due to grievous instances of police brutality toward Black individuals, and our long painful history of racist beliefs and policies stemming from slavery. That being said, we want to acknowledge that Black people are only one of many groups who have experienced discrimination and oppression in this country. We are committed to improving the climate in our department for all marginalized groups.
The Psychological & Brain Sciences Faculty