ASU West campus professors receive Mayo Clinic research award

Three ASU New College professors from the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences received an award from the Mayo Clinic to research the connections between obesity, vitamin D and serotonin levels and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Read more about them in their bios:asu mayo clinic award IBS

Dr. Jennifer Broatch is an assistant professor and her expertise include Statistical Methods for Educational Data – Focus Value Added Models.

Dr. Peter Jurutka is an associate professor and his research interests include cancer, alzheimer’s, and molecular endocrinology.

Dr. Todd Sandrin is a professor with research interests in molecular biology, and chemistry.

We congratulate Dr Broatch, Dr. Jurutka and Dr. Sandrin on receiving this research award.


It takes two to lie: unique signatures of deception in the way people adjust to each other’s head movement and speech

asu-research-duranTraditionally we search for signs of deception in the deceiver’s behavior. Using a novel approach for eliciting and detecting deception in naturalistic conversations, a new study finds that deception and conflict can be spotted from the speech and movement that both interlocutor share with each other. Deceiver and deceived become more coordinated, nodding more in unison and adopting a more similar speech rate than in truthful conversations. The paper reporting these findings – “Conversing with a devil’s advocate: Interpersonal coordination in deception and disagreement” – was recently published in Plos One.

The study
“From disguising one’s romantic interest in someone just met, or commenting on how much you like a friend’s unfortunate fashion choice, deception pervades everyday conversations and often goes undetected.” states Nicholas Duran – lead author of the study and assistant professor at Arizona State University. Most studies focus on whether you can detect lies in the deceiver’s behavior. “We were more interested in the social life of deception.” explains Riccardo Fusaroli – co-author and associate professor in Cognitive Science at the Interacting Minds Center, Aarhus University – “As people lie within conversation, what does that do to the ongoing patterns of social coordination? People regularly adjust to each other’s movement and speech. Does deception break this patterns? Or more interesting, do deceivers hijack the coordination process to be more effective in their lies?”.

The researchers used a novel “devil’s advocate” paradigm. Participants were brought together to discuss their opinions on controversial topics, like abortion, gay marriage, and drug legalization. Then, in secret, one of the participants was instructed to argue for an opinion opposite to what they really thought. Sometimes their partner also shared this deceptive opinion (where they agreed), and other times they did not (where they disagreed). “We focused on “micro-behaviors”: the moment-by-moment subtle fluctuations in head movement and speech that are measured on the scale of tens of milliseconds” reports Nicholas Duran “We are rarely aware of how our behaviors change and adapt to our interlocutors, often at quite fast rates, but previous research has shown how important micro-behaviors are for social interactions. We rely on them to implicitly judge how much we like each other, to diffuse conflict, and to establish and maintain a wide range of social relations”.

The results show conversations involving deception display a higher degree of interpersonal coordination: people tend to nod and move their heads more in unison, and their speech rate is more coordinated than in truthful conversations. “Usually coordination is taken to be a sign of a well functioning truthful and comfortable social interaction.” elaborates Riccardo Fusaroli “ Here we show that coordination is more complex than that. We might use it strategically to achieve deception, to diffuse a potentially conflictual situation and even to escalate it”.

New insights
The “Conversing with a devil’s advocate” study opens a new window on deceptive and conflictual social interactions and the way we navigate and implicitly negotiate them. It suggests that the deceiver is only a partial entry into the complex social phenomenon of deception, since their behaviors resonate and tightly integrate with those being deceived.

To read the paper:
Duran ND, Fusaroli R (2017) Conversing with a devil’s advocate: Interpersonal coordination in deception and disagreement. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0178140.

Transborder Communities Individual Research Grant

Alejandra Elenes ASU West professorDr. C. Alejandra Elenes, Associate Professor in the School of Humanities, Arts & Cultural Studies received a Program for Transborder Communities (PTC) seed individual grant from the School of Transborder Studies for her research on Chicana Intellectual Traditions: Transborder Women’s Narratives in Borderland Communities. This grant is part of her larger project Chicana Intellectual Traditions, which seeks to document via ethnographic research the experiences of Chicanas in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. An important component of this project is tracing genealogies of the formation of Chicana feminist thought. The grant will cover travel expenses to examine the emergence of a Chicana feminist intellectual genealogy in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands in the archives of Jovita Gonzalez and Josefina Niggli located in Texas. Specifically, the grant covers travel expenses to examine three important collections on Gonzalez: Texas A & ; M University at Corpus Christi has the largest collection in the E.E Mireles and Jovita Gonzalez Mireles Papers, The Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin holds the Jovita Gonzalez Mireles Manuscripts and Works ca 1925-1980, and the Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State University-San Marcos contains the manuscript of Gonzalez master’s thesis. Elenes will also visit the Incarnate Word College in San Antonio to examine their Niggli archives.


ASU West students get real-world experience on set

Students in ASU West campus’ IAP program take part in a workshop at Spectrum Video and Film

Spectrum Video and Film, a local video production company in Scottsdale, opened its doors to conduct a workshop with ASU’s West campus students this spring, providing invaluable hands-on experience for the students.

More than 20 students, all of them members of the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance program offered at New College, toured the facility and received lessons on proper lighting, sound capture and editing, shot framing and selection, and how to use advanced video production equipment like dolly tracks.

“I’m sure the students learned something, especially doing the hands-on work with the dolly. Knowing how to dolly while simultaneously tilting, panning, and keeping the subjects in frame; showed that it’s harder than it seems,” says Spectrum Video and Film President Ken Liljegrin.

“We also focused on how important audio is. Eight to ten years ago, we were in the ‘fix-it’ business, as all of these indie film makers would come in with the worst audio, and we’d have to try and fix it. In order to have high quality content, you have to have high quality audio.”

Spectrum Video and Film has grown from a wedding video studio in its early days, to a complete video production company servicing corporate communication videos, commercial advertising, amenity videos, and even some television shows today. Liljegrin uses workshops such as these to find the next great filmmakers and video producers to come out of ASU.

Taking advantage of ASU students’ ability to uniquely connect with audiences on social media, Liljegrin has Spectrum interns take the lead on many social media video projects for clients, an expanding portion of Spectrum’s current business.

“I have an eye for gifted people, I can see them right away,” he says. “Students in these workshops, and especially those that participate in internships with us, they conduct projects from beginning to end. They’ll execute their own vision, and ultimately, they’ll get out of it what they put into it.”

For more on the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance Program, please click here.