Prof. Armstrong comments on disgust and Halloween in the New York Times


Prof. Armstrong explained why “creepy crawly” insects might be disgusting, drawing on a pathogen-centered theory of disgust (link to article). 

PEEP lab members create website to improve access to local mental healthcare

PEEP lab members Zoe Brown and Daniel Leong have been working with Prof. Armstrong and local therapists to create a website with a searchable directory of mental health providers. The projected is funded by the Mellon Foundation, through a grant to the college. The Union Bulletin wrote a story about the project, which you can find here.

PEEP lab member travels to South Korea for Critical Language Studies Program

Kari Hampson traveled to South Korea to complete the Critical Language Scholarship Program. While learning Korean, she encountered this interesting street food stand that poses a challenge for disgust theory. Rozin and colleagues famously discovered that people reject food that merely looks like something disgusting. Why would people pay for (and presumably enjoy) eating food shaped like poop? This phenomenon might be related to the “rubbernecking” towards disgusting stimuli that we have observed with eye tracking…

PEEP lab members visit QuERBY lab at Queens University, Ontario

Prof. Armstrong and PEEP lab member Siri Danielson installed an eye tracker in Prof. Jeremy Stewart’s Queens Emotion and Behaviors in Risky Youth (QuERBY) lab. Siri will be working with Dr. Stewart this summer on a project using eye tracking to predict suicide risk. While at Queens, Prof. Armstrong gave an invited talk titled, “How (not) to Treat Disgust in Anxiety-Related Disorders.”

First publication with PEEP lab data!

A paper by Prof. Armstrong and PEEP lab members Trevor Press, Anneka Sonstroem, Mira Engel, and Julian Reed was accepted at Motivation and Emotion. We sought to replicate a prior study showing that looking away from disgusting stimuli (“oculomotor avoidance”) can be acquired for associated neutral stimuli. However, we discovered that participants actually look more at disgusting stimuli when they are novel and only avoid them when they become familiar. In a second experiment, we demonstrated that initial “rubbernecking” at disgusting stimuli can be exhausted through repeated exposure, and that this technique can be applied prior to conditioning to speed up the acquisition of oculomotor avoidance to an associated neutral stimulus.

Faculty-Student Research Award

Prof. Armstrong and PEEP lab member Sara Federman received a grant to conduct research at McLean Hospital in the Boston-area this summer. It was an exciting nine weeks!


2018 Western Psychology Association Conference

Members of the PEEP lab presented four posters at the WPA conference in Portland, OR. We also went out for ramen!

Sara Federman, Mira Engel, Rachel Leiter, Anneka Sonstroem, Gokay Abaci