Friday Factoids Catch-Up: Factors That Impact Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 65 percent of Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly (Ott, 2003) and many factors contribute to sleep deprivation for example bathroom trips, sleep schedules, temperature, noise, and technological devices.


Rohles and Munson (1981) in their study examined EEG’s and skin temperature measurements from six men and six women while they slept in environments with temperatures of 10·0°C, 21·1°C, and 32·2°C. EEG recordings showed that the proportion of time in each sleep stage was not affected by the temperature of the sleep environment. However, after participants awoke and completed a questionnaire, women did not sleep as well at 10·0°C as at the other temperatures, when sleeping in conventional clothing and bedding.


Muzet (2007) found sleep disturbance is largely impacted by noise in the environment. “The input to the auditory area of the brain through the auditory pathways is prolonged by inputs reaching both the brain cortical area and the descending pathways of the autonomic functions. Therefore, the sleeping body still responds to stimuli coming from the environment, although the noise sensitivity of the sleeper depends on several factors (e.g. type of noise, noise frequency, one’s age, sex, personality characteristics and self-estimated sensitivity to noise).”


With the advancements of technology, Gradisar, Wolfson, Harvey, Hale, Rosenberg, and Czeisler, (2013), found in their sample, 95 percent of participants used some type of electronics at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed, like a television, computer, video game or cell phone. “Unfortunately cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may also be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep at night leaving millions of Americans functioning poorly the next day,” said, Russell Rosenberg, PhD, Vice Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation. Czeisle and Shanahan (2016) stated in a “Systematic review and meta-analysis by Carter and colleagues in this issue of JAMA Pediatrics found that the mere presence of a mobile device in the sleeping environment at bedtime, and certainly its use, increased the risk of inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality, and daytime sleepiness the next day in children 6 to 19 years old.” Gradisar, et al., (2013) found 13-18 year olds are the sleepiest of all age groups, then Generation Z’ers and generation Y’ers report more sleepiness than generation X’ers and Baby Boomers. Results revealed that Baby Boomers, due to the difference in technology use, have less sleep disturbance.


Sleep Advice
Gradisar, Wolfson, Harvey, Hale, Rosenberg, and Czeisler, (2013) stated, “If you are having problems sleeping, the National Sleep Foundation recommends the following to improve your sleep:

  • Create and stick to a sleep schedule. 
  •  Expose yourself to bright light in the morning and prevent it at night.
  •  Exercise frequently. 
  • Create a comforting bedtime routine. 
  •  Create a cool, comfortable, distraction and stress free sleep environment
  • Maintain a “worry book” next to your bed to write down your thoughts.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages, alcohol, chocolate, large meals and tobacco at night and before bed.
  • Unless you work the night shift, No late-afternoon or evening naps.”


Czeisler, C. A., & Shanahan, T. L. (2016). Problems Associated With Use of Mobile Devices in the Sleep Environment–Streaming Instead of Dreaming. JAMA Pediatrics170(12), 1146-1147. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2986


Gradisar, M., Wolfson, A. R., Harvey, A. G., Hale, L., Rosenberg, R., & Czeisler, C. A.   (2013). The Sleep and Technology Use of Americans: Findings from the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America Poll. Journal Of Clinical   Sleep   Medicine9(12), 1291-1299. doi:10.5664/jcsm.3272


Muzet, A. (2007). Environmental noise, sleep and health. Sleep Medicine Reviews11(2), 135-142. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2006.09.001


Ott, C. (2003). Stay Young with a Good Night’s Sleep. Natural Health33(2), 68.


Rohles, F. H., & Munson, D. M. (1981). Sleep and the sleep environment temperature. Journal    Of Environmental Psychology1(3), 207-214. doi:10.1016/S0272-4944(81)80039-4


Katy Roth, M.A., CRC
WKPIC Doctoral Intern

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Friday Factoids: They Creep, They Crawl: Our Fear of Snakes and Spiders



With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk about the things that go bump in the night, the things that send shivers down our spine, and the things that slither and crawl. Most people have a fear of snakes and spiders (Hoel, Hellmer, Johansson, & Gredebäck, 2017). Just the sight of one of these creepy critters can send people running, but is this fear learned or instinctual?


Many of our fears are learned, however, others are innate (Leahy, 2008). For example, eating bad fish can cause us to become ill, and we may learn to avoid similar fish (Leahy, 2008). This learned aversion is the result of one-trial learning. Yet, we have many fears that did not require trial learning. Most of us are born with a fear of heights, yet we don’t have to fall from a great height to know that heights scare us (Leahy, 2008). Instead, this fear is instinctual and useful in protecting us from potential harm.


In regards to snakes and spiders, prior research had difficulty determining if the fear was learned from parents and others in the environment or an instinctual fear (Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences [MPIHCBS], 2017). Others had determined that most people, even those who lived in cities with no exposure to these creatures, had a deep fear of snakes and spiders, yet past research looked at adults and young children who might have learned this fear from parents or grandparents exposed to these tiny terrors (MPIHCBS, 2017). A new study took a different approach and showed infants pictures of flowers paired with spiders and fish paired with snakes (Hoehl et al., 2017). When examining the snakes and spiders, infants’ pupils demonstrated an increased dilation when compared to their neutral pairings, suggesting a sympathetic response to these frightening stimuli (Hoehl et al., 2017). These findings suggest that our fear of snakes and spiders, much like our fear of heights, is instinctual and meant to help us avoid potential threats (Hoehl et al., 2017).


Hoehl, S., Hellmer, K., Johansson, M., & Gredebäck, G. (2017). Itsy bitsy spider…: Infants react with increased arousal to spiders and snakes. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01710


Leahy, R.L. (2008). Are we born to be afraid? Psychology Today. Retrieved from


Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. (2017). Itsy bitsy spider: Fear of spiders and snakes is deeply embedded in us. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from


Michael Daniel, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern



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Friday Factoids: How Fathers See Their Babies


Emotions are “contagious”, especially for babies (American Psychological Association, 2017; Waters, West, Karnilowicz, & Mendes, 2017).  When mothers hold their babies, the mother’s affect is often “caught” by the baby.  This emotional transmission can be seen when mothers are in a high-anxiety situation, the baby exhibits a sympathetic response; however, in low-stress scenarios, the baby demonstrates a parasympathetic response (Waters et al., 2017).


Past research has shown that mothers and fathers frequently respond differently to boy and girl babies (APA, 2017; Mascaro, Rentscher, Hackett, Mehl, & Rilling, 2017).  Parents often talk more to girls yet restrict their behaviors, while boys are talked to less but allowed to engage in more risk-taking activities (e.g. climbing, “rough housing”).  New research has taken another step and examined the neural functioning of fathers when with their children (Mascaro et al., 2017).  When viewing pictures of their daughters smiling, fathers demonstrate a response in the orbitofrontal cortex, yet fathers experience the same response when viewing their sons exhibiting a neutral response (Mascaro et al., 2017).  These neural responses suggest fathers have differing expectations for their children.  Through the affect contagion scenario, it might be hypothesized that our babies are being primed early in how they express emotions.  Girls are likely learning that an affective response is positive, while boys may be learning that a restricted range of emotions is desirable.



American Psychological Association. (2017). Parent-child interactions.  Particularly Exciting Experiments in Psychology, 98. Retrieved from

Mascaro, J. S., Rentscher, K. E., Hackett, P. D., Mehl, M. R., & Rilling, J. K. (2017). Child gender influences paternal behavior, language, and brain function. Behavioral Neuroscience, 131(3), 262–273.

Waters, S. F., West, T. V., Karnilowicz, H. R., & Mendes, W. B. (2017). Affect contagion between mothers and infants: Examining valence and touch. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(7), 1043–1051.


Michael Daniel, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern


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WKPIC Recognized by APA Division 18










Very, very proud of our sponsoring agencies (Western State Hospital, Pennyroyal Center), our supervisors, and our interns, current and previous!



Susan R. Redmond-Vaught, Ph.D.
Director, WKPIC



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Surviving MATCH: Interview Tips from A Current Intern

As a current intern at the Western Kentucky Psychology Internship Consortium, I know first hand that the internship time of year can bring a plethora of emotions; for example, excitement, sadness, anxiety, and worry. That being said I am here to share several tips with you while on this journey.


Tip 1:


The only content the internship site has access to about you, is on the file you send. Sell yourself and your experiences to make the site want to meet you in person. GET OFFERED THAT INTERVIEW!


Tip 2:


When writing cover letters and other documents specifically for the site, DO NOT MAKE A GENERIC TEMPLATE. I am going to be completely honest. I spent about 3 hours on each cover letter. I looked at the site, viewed specific rotations/experiences they offered (wrote about 2-3) that I already possessed demonstrating why I would be a good fit, and then included (1-2) experiences the site offered I had limited experience with, but wanted to gain more.


Tip 3:


Think about the cost. You have too! When considering applying to sites, see how much they are paying students. Do you really want to take out loans the last year of your program?  Do you want to limit possible experiences while on internship? Also, consider the cost for interviewing at the site. It’s important! Some save part of their student loans. On the other hand, I worked the night shift to cover my expenses.


For example, if you are interested in a site in California, but they are paying $30,000-$40,000. Is that really enough? If you are living in a rural area in Northern California possibly, but not Los Angeles or San Francisco. If you could pay for your basic living expenses, how much does that leave for entertainment/shopping? You really have to consider this, as well as how much is it going to cost to travel to your sites. Say for example, you got one interview at a site in Los Angeles that was going to pay $40,000 but you had 5 interviews within driving distance. Are you willing to spend $500 on a plane ticket, $50 on a car rental, $175 on a hotel, etc. for one interview? Some would, some wouldn’t. It’s an important aspect to consider.


Tip 4:




As you start to hear from sites, get a calendar and fill in the dates the site has interviews. You may hear from two sites (site A and site B) with overlapping days, but site A may only have one interview day, where site B has two. Obviously, if you want to interview at site A you only have one interview day to choose from and have to select the other day for site B. In a different color pen/marker after you solidify your interview day mark it in your calendar. I would at least include the site name, the address, and the length of time for your interview.


Interview dates you first marked are for knowing and organizing when the sites are conducting interviews, as well as to help organize and plan to travel. The second marking in your calendar are your confirmed interview days. I placed a huge pink border around these days.  An example to consider is, possibly you are from Oregon and  interviewing in Oklahoma and have an interview the next day in Arkansas. If you plan accordingly you can go right to Arkansas instead of going back to Oregon. IF YOU DON’T ORGANIZE YOUR INTERVIEWS YOU COULD MISS THE ABILITY TO SEE INTERVIEWS ARE CLOSE TOGETHER, therefore saving time and money.


Important to note, if you are in a state that is close to another interview site, it’s okay to ask if you can interview ahead of time. Some sites are flexible and accommodating. IF YOU DON’T ASK ITS AN AUTOMATIC NO.


Tip 5:


Always have a protein bar and water. Sometimes you may not have the ability to eat a meal or stop and grab something. These two items are small to put in luggage or a bag and come in  handy.


Tip 6:




Do not be nervous! I was at first until I told myself (with confidence), the site already likes me, they wouldn’t have wanted to interview me if they didn’t. They want to meet me. NOW IT IS MY TURN TO SEE IF I LIKE THEM.


Tip 7:


When interviewing make sure you are able to distinguish yourself. What makes you different from everyone else who applied and interviewed? I was surprisingly asked this question from half of the sites I interviewed at. It honestly makes sense. What makes me stand out from everyone else? What would I bring to the internship, that another student wouldn’t? Everyone who gets offered an interview is clearly qualified on paper, that’s why the site wanted to interview us. WHAT MAKES ME DIFFERENT AND AN ASSET TO THEM? This component helped ease my anxiety.







Tip 8:


When interviewing come with three questions related to the site, NOT ON THE WEBSITE OR BROCHURES. Having unique questions makes you stand out and the interviewers remember you.


Tip 9:




Take in as much information as you can while on the interview. Notice the work environment, how do others interact? Do you think the internship site is genuinely friendly and engaged, or is it just because it’s interview day? What are the accommodations like? Do they offer a cafeteria with low cost meals to employees? Do the bathrooms have working sinks and toilets? What are the resources for interns? Do interns have their own office space, their own computer, a printer? The unspoken information you can obtain from a site while interviewing is in my opinion, even more important than what words can say.


Tip 10:


After interviewing, write down everything, the positives and negatives. IF YOU DON’T YOU WILL FORGET IT. When ranking consider what you wrote down about the sites immediately after you were there. After submitting your rankings, double check they are correctly in the order you like, but not too many times (this causes anxiety).


Tip 11:




Recognize your support system and take time to breathe. This time, as I mentioned, comes with a wide range of emotions and stress. Whenever possible take sometime out to relax in-between interviews. I didn’t, but I wish I had because after all my interviews were over, I felt like I was in overdrive. Remember this process in total is temporary. You will get through it! Just take it step by step, enjoy the moments when you can breathe, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your support system.


Katy Roth, M.A., CRC
WKPIC Doctoral Intern


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Friday Factoids: Your Brain on Glycine



Until recently, research has suggested early psychosis has its roots in poor glycine production (Elsevier, 2017).  This hypothesis was due, in part, to evidence that psychosis was caused by impaired NMDA receptors, glutamate-gated channels responsible for numerous biological functions as well as leaning, memory, and neuroplasticity (Blake and VanDongen, 2009; Elsevier, 2017).  It was believed that supplying patients with additional glycine would alleviate symptoms of early psychosis; however, drugs targeting NMDA receptors have demonstrated limited success in the past (Blanke and VanDongen, 2009; Elsevier, 2017).


New research from Kim et al. (2017) suggests that first-episode psychosis is not linked to a deficit of glycine but a surplus.  While this finding does not discredit the NMDA receptor hypofunction hypothesis, it does create new questions.  Future research will need to examine if accumulation of glycine is due to reduced glycine use or overproduction of the amino acid (Kim et al., 2017).  Regardless, the new finding helps spread light on why glycine treatment has demonstrated limited effectiveness in the past, and may warrant new avenues of treatment for first-episode psychotic symptoms.


Blanke, M.L. & VanDongen, A.M. (2009). Activation mechanisms of the NMDA receptor. In A.M. VanDongen (Ed.), Biology of the NMDA Receptor. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.


Elsevier. (2017). Brain chemical abnormalities in earliest stage of psychosis identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 12, 2017 from


Kim, S., Kaufman, M., Cohen, B.M., Jensen, J.E., Coyle, J.T., Du, F., & Öngür, D. (2017). In vivo brain glycine and glutamate concentrations in patients with first-episode psychosis measured by echo-time-averaged proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 4T. Biological Psychiatry. doi:


Michael Daniel, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern



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Friday Factoids: Good Foods, Good Feels

You’ve had a bad day.  Nothing has gone right and you just want to get home to a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  We’ve all been there, when our only solace is a heaping helping of junk food.  Nothing soothes our woes like our favorite tasty treat, or does it?  New research says you should probably set the Chunky Monkey down and look to an alternative snack.


In fact, a healthier diet may be the first step to a better outlook (Clay, 2017; Sanchez-Villegas & Martinez-González, 2013).  Studies have shown that depression can be directly linked to pro-inflammatory cytokines, which inhibit the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) through inflammation of endothelial cells (the cells responsible for BDNF production) (Sanchez-Villegas & Martinez-González, 2013).  BDNF is a neurotrophin responsible for preventing neuronal cell death, so diminished production can lead to significant cognitive difficulties, including depression (McKusick & Tiller, 1990/2017).  Long story short, inflammation likely leads to poor mental health.


How do we stop this inflammation?  To answer that question, let’s take a look at fats.  There are two key fats that we need to examine:  trans fatty acids and lipids with anti-inflammatory properties (like omega-3 fatty acids) (Clay, 2017; Sanchez-Villegas & Martinez-González, 2013).  Trans fatty acids are typically found in our junk food:  burgers, chips, and ice cream; yet, healthy lipids are the fats found in fish and olive oil.  Trans fatty fats may be responsible for responsible for increased inflammation of the endothelial cells, while healthy lipids have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the inflammation.  Through healthy lipids, inflammation can be reduced leading to increased production of BDNF and better cell regeneration (McKusick & Tiller, 1990/2017; Sanchez-Villegas & Martinez-González, 2013).


As exciting as this news is, it should be taken with a grain of salt (yeah, we got food puns).  The connection between fats and depression is still relatively new and requires additional research.  Though, if you have the Monday blues, you might consider substituting your afternoon bowl of ice cream for some hummus (rich in olive oil) and your favorite vegetable.


Clay, R.A. 2017. The Link between food and mental health. Monitor on Psychology, 48(8).


Sanchez-Villegas, A. and Martinez-González, M.A. 2013. Diet, a new target to prevent depression? BMC Medicine, 11(3).


McKusick, M.A. & Tiller, G.E. 1990/2017. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; BDNF. OMIM.


Michael Daniel, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern


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WKPIC Welcomes Intern Class 2017-2018!



WKPIC says a hearty HELLO to Anissa Pugh, Crystal Henson, Michael Daniel, Katy Roth, and Georgetta Harris-Wyatt. We are happy–and fortunate–to have you! Looking forward to a great year. And I didn’t mean to put you all into a pizza-sugar-info-overload coma.



Susan Redmond-Vaught, Ph.D.
Director, WKPIC

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Farewell To Interns, 2016-2017

Once again, the time has come to bid farewell to an intern class. Our 2016-2017 interns are officially loose in the world, to do all the good they can do–which I believe will be an amazing amount.


Congratulations, ladies. YOU DID IT!!






Dr. Vaught and the WKPIC Supervisors and Instructors



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Friday Factoids Catch-Up: Free Drug Abuse Prevention Service in Kentucky

<Discussion is not an endorsement, for informational purposes only>

Project Daris is a free resource that came out of a heartbreaking tragedy.  Project Daris was started by the parents of Daris Fent, a talented young man with a bright future who tragically lost his life to a heroin overdose.  Daris was an accomplished guitarist, an excellent student, was well-liked among his peers, and after graduating high school he became a Marine.  By all accounts, he was just a good young man with a goal of helping others.  Sadly, he developed an addiction to prescription Oxycontin due to an injury sustained while in the military; he was able to hide his addiction for several years, until he had no other option but to ask for help.  He attended rehab, and initially was successful in beating addiction.  However, he relapsed in less than 30 days, and it was during the relapse that he overdosed.


It was from this tragedy that his parents set up Project Daris to help prevent what happened to Daris from happening to others.  Consisting of a group of healthcare professionals that includes doctors, pharmacists, and nurses, Project Daris provides free substance abuse prevention education to grades K-12 in Kentucky with the goal of reaching children in all 120 counties.  Project Daris provides age appropriate materials to all age groups, and where appropriate and permissible for grades 6-12, people in long term recovery are brought in to share their stories.  The program can address a classroom or an entire school, and considering that 1 in 4 middle and high school students admit to having abused drugs, the earlier education is shared concerning the dangers of drug abuse and addiction the better.  The program takes about an hour for a full presentation, is 100% free due to being privately funded by concerned healthcare professionals, and is a unique educational opportunity for students.


For further information, or to schedule a visit, please contact Dr Robert Goforth Pharm.D, RPh., at


Teresa King
PMHC Intern


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