Pitzer Psych Professor Receives Two Research Grants

Pitzer College Professor of Psychology David Moore, Scripps College Professor of Psychology Alan Hartley and Assistant Professor of Psychology Michael Spezio, and Claremont McKenna Professor of Pscyhology Cathy Reed received a grant for $411,008 from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Moore, Hartley, Spezio, and Reed will use the NSF grant to purchase equipment with electrode nets that will measure electrical action potentials of peoples’ brains, electroencephalography, and event-related potential equipment. Each professor intends to use the instruments in a different way.

Moore, who is the director of the Pitzer College Claremont Infant Study Center, also received an individual grant from the NSF totaling $32,393 for a separate project to help develop his research in infant development.

Moore will use the extra grant, which is not affiliated with the larger grant, for a project that will bring together philosophers of science, developmental psychologists, and evolutionary psychologists to apply the idea of homology—in this context, the similarities that mammals share—to developmental psychology.

“[The] results of the workshop will be published in a journal called Developmental Psychobiology,” Moore said, “and also on a website created specifically for the purpose of disseminating the ideas generated by the workshop participants.” The ultimate purpose, he added, will be to benefit people interested in understanding human development.

Moore’s request in the larger grant was for infant-sized electrode nets that will aid in researching attention in infants.

“The MRI grant will be a huge benefit to all of the students at Scripps, CMC, and Pitzer who are interested in studying neuroscience,” Moore said. “For the first time ever, we will have access to very sophisticated equipment that will effectively allow for brain imaging studies involving both infant research participants and adults.”

Moore said applying for a grant of this type was very time-consuming.

“The process of applying for a grant is always a lot of work, in terms of conceptualizing a plan, writing up descriptions of the plan, generating budgets, dealing with the federal government’s paperwork, etc.,” he said. Moore’s part of the proposal was “to read up on how electrophysiological techniques have been used in studies of infants’ perception and cognition in the past, and develop a series of studies that would be groundbreaking and helpful.”

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