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Newsletter Winter 2024

Record Alumni Turnout at 2023 Homecoming Picnic

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2023 Psychology Homecoming Picnic! It was a beautiful day, and we had a record alumni turnout. Click the picture below to view a larger version, and click here to access a gallery of photos from the event. We hope to see you at the next Homecoming Picnic on September 13, 2024!

U-M Psychology Apparel From Ann Arbor T-Shirt Co.

By popular demand, it is now possible for anyone to purchase U-M Psychology-branded jackets, shirts, and other merchandise through local business Ann Arbor T-Shirt Company! Visit the U-M Psychology Web Store to grab your gear!

Faculty Research Spotlight: Thad Polk

Thad Polk, Samuel D. Epstein Collegiate Professor of Psychology; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor

"Neural Dedifferentiation" Is One Cause of Cognitive Aging. What Is It, and What Can We Do About It?

Since the early 2000s, Professor Thad Polk’s most-cited research has examined the neurocognitive changes that occur as we age. Polk and others have discovered that a process known as “neural dedifferentiation” may be an important cause of those changes. But neural dedifferentiation does not occur at the same rates or levels for everyone, suggesting that better understanding its causes may eventually help us prevent or reverse it. So what is it, and what can we do about it? Learn more

Donor Spotlight: Cindy Lustig

Cindy Lustig, Professor of Psychology; Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies; Director of the Honors and STAR Scholars Programs

Professor Cindy Lustig Supports Students as Teacher, Mentor, and Donor

Professor Cindy Lustig has been a passionate supporter and advocate for Psychology students throughout her career. That passion comes naturally, in part because support at key moments was critical to her own development from an early age. In addition to teaching, mentoring, and departmental service, Lustig has supported students through donations, including contributing annually to various student-focused initiatives and establishing the John Lustig & Irmgard Stahl Lustig Graduate Travel & Speaker Fund. Read more

Alumni Spotlight: Jaime Rotsky

Jaime Rotsky, (BA: Psychology and Screenwriting Double Major, 2019) NatGeo Program Strategy & Content Planning Manager at The Walt Disney Company

Psychology Alum Jaime Rotsky Combines Creativity and Data Analysis to Decide What Airs on NatGeo

As the National Geographic Program Strategy & Content Planning Manager at The Walt Disney Company, Psychology alum Jaime Rotsky plays a key role in deciding what shows air on NatGeo and when they are scheduled. Until Rotsky completed her first industry internship, she (like most people) did not even know jobs like hers existed. But she believes she has found her niche, and she relies every day on skills she developed as a Psychology student. Read more

Alumni: Share Your Career Experience
We would love to hear from alumni who have pursued careers in psychology or in other fields! If you would like to share your post-graduate career experience, please contact us.

Graduate Research Spotlight: Kristen Schuh

Kristen Schuh, Biopsychology Graduate Student
PhD Advisor: Natalie Tronson

Does Taking Birth Control Hurt or Help Mood? We Still Don't Know. But That May Be the Wrong Question

The development of hormonal contraceptives (HCs) was one of the most important medical breakthroughs of the 20th century. Despite that, some of their mechanisms and effects are still not well understood. For example, studies of their influence on anxiety, depression, and overall mood have had conflicting findings, which may stem partly from limitations of those studies and of all research on humans. PhD student Kristen Schuh is developing a mouse model to address those limitations and help us understand how HCs really affect mood. Learn more

Alumni in the News: Alison Albrecht Competes on The Voice

2022 Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCN) graduate Alison Albrecht competed on NBC's The Voice this past season. Albrecht, originally from Novi, MI, won entry with her audition performance of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic." She competed on Reba McEntire's team before eventually being eliminated on November 6. Since graduating, Albrecht has moved to LA to pursue her dream of being a professional musical artist. Read more about Albrecht's time on the show
(Photo credit: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Undergraduate Student Research Spotlight

Dominick Caputo, Psychology Honors Senior
Thesis Advisors: Philip Cheng and Patricia Deldin

Data from Apple Watch and other wearable accelerometers is prevalent in the consumer market and therefore possesses significant untapped research potential. My research aims to answer whether Apple Watch is a viable source for large-scale data about rest/activity cycles and sleep. Participants wore a dedicated activity monitor and an Apple Watch for two weeks and completed nightly sleep diaries. The collected data will be used to assess concordance between devices and to compare their ability to produce reliable sleep metrics such as nightly total sleep time, and delayed sleep onset.

Brain, Cognition, and Action Summit: Congratulations to Dave E. Meyer on His Retirement!

In honor of Dave E. Meyer’s (Clyde H. Coombs and J. E. Keith Smith Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Psychology and Cognitive Science) retirement, a group of his former students met October 20 for the Brain, Cognition, and Action Summit. Congratulations, Dave! Click the photo below to view a larger version.

Faculty Retirements


Lorraine Gutierrez, Arthur F Thurnau Professor of Psychology; Professor of Social Work; Director of the Center for Community Learning, retires 5/31/24


Martin Sarter, Charles M. Butter Collegiate Professor of Psychology; Professor of Neuroscience, retires 5/31/24

Exploring the Mind Talks

A monthly series of talks by U-M Psychology faculty. All Winter 2024 talks will be held in-person at the Ann Arbor District Library's downtown branch. Most talks will be recorded and made available for later online viewing. Details about each talk will be sent separately, so stay tuned! Visit the Psychology Community Talks page for up-to-date info and to view past presentations.

Giving Blueday - March 13, 2024

Giving Blueday is March 13! This year, our efforts focus on providing broad support to our undergraduate and graduate students. Your gift will help Psychology students from their first day in the department until the day they graduate, bringing with them not only their degrees but also a trove of transferable skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

For additional information on Giving Blueday, please visit our website.