Latest OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter

The OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter featuring updates from OBSSR Acting Director Christine Hunter, Ph.D., ABPP., information about behavioral and social sciences in the news, events and announcements, findings from recently published research, funding announcements, and other updates. The latest newsletter is available below.

View the list of past monthly e-newsletters.

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July 21, 2022

Director's Voice Blog

Career Opportunities at NIH for Behavioral and Social Scientists: Serving as a Program or Scientific Review Officer

This blog was co-authored with Dr. Valerie Durrant, Center for Scientific Review and Ms. Elan E. Ey, NIH Office of Human Resources.

Our hope with this blog is to highlight some exciting career paths at NIH for behavioral and social scientists that offer the opportunity to be highly engaged in shaping the future of the scientific enterprise. Science administrator jobs at NIH, called Program Officers (PO) and Scientific Review Officers (SRO), primarily involve planning, directing, and managing the evaluation of the science to ensure the best health-relevant research now and in the future. The PO and SRO roles are quite different, but each require a high level of scientific expertise and judgement.

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Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Spotlights

High levels of optimism is linked with longevity in women across racial and ethnic groups

There is increasing evidence for the association of positive psychological factors to reduced risk of morbidity and mortality. Even though optimism has been linked with improved health outcomes, such as exceptional longevity, most studies were performed in non-diverse, primarily white populations. Recently published research supported by NIA investigated the association of optimism to longevity across racial and ethnic groups and if lifestyle choices were a mediating factor.
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Working memory training: recent research shows that 'near transfer' predicts 'far transfer' of training effects

Working memory has been linked to IQ, aging, and mental health functioning. The effectiveness of training to improve a person's working memory in order to improve performance on untrained/unrelated tasks is still unclear. A recent publication funded by the NIA and NIMH aimed to address question by testing the hypothesis that far transfer may depend on near transfer. Near transfer refers to being skilled at similar tasks as to what the person was trained on, for instance if the person was good at crossword puzzles, they may also be good at other word games.
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A recent study in college men indicates that aggressive behaviors towards rival groups may be associated with increased activity in the brain's reward network

People across the world associate themselves with various groups, whether it be based on religious, political, athletics, or other personal interests. With the formation of these groups there is the risk of becoming in conflict with rival groups. There has been previous research investigating the psychological and socio-ecological determinants of intergroup aggression, however the neuroscience underlaying this phenomenon is incomplete. A recent study supported by the NIAAA, NCATS, and others sought to examine the neural correlates of aggression directed at outgroup (versus ingroup) targets.
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News and Events

Recently Published Funding Announcements

BSSR Accomplishments

The NIH has been an instrumental leader in shaping and supporting behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR) to improve the nation’s health. Integrated with advances in other scientific disciplines, BSSR has made substantial contributions to the prevention or treatment of numerous physical health and mental health conditions.

In collaboration with subject matter experts from Institutes, Centers, and Offices across NIH, OBSSR has summarized some of the important scientific advances that demonstrate the valuable contribution of BSSR across various health conditions and behaviors. These summaries are provided as fact sheets (PowerPoint slides forthcoming) that highlight a significant public health problem and the corresponding BSSR-informed approaches used to address the problem. Various audiences such as academic researchers, public health organizations, and other health federal agencies, may find these materials useful to demonstrate to their stakeholders the importance of BSSR to the health of the United States population.

These new BSSR accomplishment resources are available on the OBSSR website:

Improving Sleep
Managing Chronic Pain
Preventing and Treating Diabetes
Preventing Intimate Partner Violence
Reducing Teen Pregnancy
Reducing Tobacco Use
Treating Depression
Treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Treating Phobias
Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Additional BSSR accomplishments will be added to the website in 2022.

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