Even before the novel coronavirus shut down in-person classes at UC Davis this spring, two psychology faculty were stepping up to help colleagues, teaching assistants and students make the smoothest-possible jump to remote instruction.
The choices we make in large group settings, such as in online forums and social media, might seem fairly automatic. But our decision-making process is more complicated than we know. So, researchers at the University of Washington and UC Davis have been working to understand what’s behind that seemingly intuitive process. The research has discovered that in large groups of essentially anonymous members, people make choices based on a model of the “mind of the group” and an evolving simulation of how a choice will affect that theorized mind.
“Earworms” are those fragments of songs that get stuck on repeat in your head. While earworms are often frustrating, repeated exposure to catchy tunes can also trigger old memories, even in people whose memory skills are impaired by Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders.
Telomeres, which act as as protective “caps” at the end of DNA strands, tend to shorten as cells age. A recent study by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain found that the average telomere length in immune cells increased instead in individuals who participated in a month-long Insight meditation retreat. This is the first study to show changes in telomere length occurring over such a short time span.
Art and science rarely work alone. On Nov. 16, the UC Davis Department of Design demonstrated the integration of art and science at its quarterly presentation of LASER: Conversations in Art and Science.
Psychology major Brynna Thigpen got an early introduction to scientific research. Thigpen was one of six undergraduates to first participate in the Accelerating Success by Providing Intensive Research Experience program, or ASPIRE.