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Dietrich College News
Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Carnegie Mellon University

October 2014

The list of genes identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has expanded from nine to 33, according to a new study by an international research team, including CMU's Kathryn Roeder and Pitt's Bernie Devlin.


Published in Nature, the study examined data on several types of rare, genetic differences in more than 14,000 DNA samples from parents, affected children and unrelated individuals. It is the largest sample to date, and provides evidence that small differences in some of possibly 1,000 risk genes contribute to autism. In addition to increasing the number of definitive autism genes almost fourfold, the team pinpointed more than 70 other likely ASD genes.


The findings support the influential "Frontal-Posterior Underconnectivity Theory of Autism," in which CMU's Marcel Just and Pitt's Nancy Minshew first proposed and explained that the synchronization of activity between frontal and posterior brain areas is lower in autism.


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Former Justice Souter Makes Case For Humanities and Social Sciences

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter discussed the central role the humanities and social sciences play in seeding innovation and perpetuating democracy during a recent visit to Carnegie Mellon University.


Souter's talk, "The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a Vibrant, Competitive, and Secure Nation," called for increased support for research and renewed efforts to increase student engagement.


"The Congress of the United States, every government agency, and indeed every private agency that provides funding for research and development has an obligation not only to the STEM subjects, but to the humanities and to the social sciences," Souter said.


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Parenting: Fun and Games        

Associate Professor of Philosophy Kevin Zollman's take on parenting can raise some eyebrows.


When Zollman discusses communication between adults and their children, his approach is guided by years of studying game theory, a field of study that delves into strategic decision-making.


His research points in one direction: "You're always in a negotiation with your kids."


"This idea that there's this dichotomy between creating incentives and just commanding is wrong," Zollman said. "We're always creating incentives, we're never forcing someone to do something."


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Remembering Steven Klepper

The late Steven Klepper left lasting legacies in everything that he did at Carnegie Mellon University and beyond.


For research that bridged gaps between the study of entrepreneurship and mainstream economics, Klepper was recognized as the best of the best, even winning Sweden's prestigious Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research in 2011.


And, as a teacher, Klepper inspired thousands of CMU undergraduates with his introductory economics class, famously dubbed "Kleppernomics."


To celebrate Klepper's career of innovation as a scholar, teacher and mentor, the Dietrich College and the Department of Social and Decision Sciences held an international conference and community memorial on Friday, Oct. 17.


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View photos from community memorial event

Rhythm & Brains

Alumna Jessica Phillips-Silver (BXA'99) has music on her mind.


An associate researcher in neuroscience and adjunct professor of music at Georgetown University, she is feeling the beat in showing how music is a multisensory experience.


Phillips-Silver studied music and psychology at CMU, and immediately drew connections.


"I noticed it while going back and forth between classes - in one I'm practicing using my body as an instrument; and in the other, I was learning about how the brain works. I started realizing that we can't separate these two. The way we perceive the world is shaped by the body we live in," she said.


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More Dietrich College News 

Philosophy Department Partners With Pitt To Maximize Data Science for Biomedical Research

CMU, Pitt Celebrate 20 Years of Advancing Brain Research Through Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Mark Roth Receives First Friend of the CNBC Award

Puzzle-Based Learning With Professor Raja Sooriamurthi

Student Writing Awards Seek Entries From Pittsburgh-Area High School and College Students

Unifying the Mind: New Cognitive Architecture Explains How Thought Process Works

CMU Research Team Awarded NSF Grant to Combine Biophysical and Statistical Models of Neuronal Computation

CMU Brain Researchers at White House

Registration Open For the 2014 Dietrich Undergraduate Colloquium - Don't Miss Your Chance To See Student Projects!

Dietrich College Multimedia 

2014 Dietrich College Ceilidh Reception

Fall 2014 Phi Beta Kappa Initiation


Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition Celebrates 20 Years
Class Notes


Find out what's new with Dave Brotherton (DC'97), Ross McGowan (DC'12), Sarah Ceurvorst (BHA'13) and others in Class Notes.    


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