Weight Expectations: Context and Distraction Skew What We Predict and Remember

Context can alter something as basic as our ability to estimate the weights of simple objects. As we learn to manipulate those objects, context can even tease out the interplay of two memory systems.

Context may not be everything, but it’s right up there with content when it comes to our memories. Kevin Trewartha, an assistant professor of both cognitive science and kinesiology at Michigan Tech, is the lead author on a recent study about linking actions and objects, published in Cognition (DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.02.014).

Trewartha gives an example from real life, showing what could happen when you heave up an empty suitcase that you think is full. He bends over, grasps an invisible handle, and staggers backward as his hand flies over his head.

“Next time you tried this, you probably wouldn’t pull so hard,” Trewartha says.

That forceful first yank is informed by our unconscious memory, which the brain builds from a lifetime of experiences that teach us that a big suitcase in the trunk of a car is going to be heavy. But what if there were a second suitcase?  As you reach for it, a second system, the conscious memory, would kick in; your shoulder-straining experience with that first suitcase might lead you to ease the second one more tentatively out of the vehicle. Read the full story.

Research Excellence Fund (REF) Awards Announced

The Vice President for Research Office announced the 2017 REF awards and thanked the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.

Infrastructure Enhancement (IE) Grants
Dan Seguin (MSE/IMP)
Raymond Shaw (Bio Sci/EPSSI)
Kent Cyr (VPA)
Amy Marcarelli (SS/GLRC)

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Infrastructure Enhancement (IE) Grants
Steve Elmer (KIP/LSTI)

Scholarship and Creativity Grants (SCG)
Emanuel Oliveira (SBE)
Josh Loar (VPA)
Joel Neves (VPA)
Richelle Winkler (SS/GLRC)
Sarah Scarlet (SS)
Sarah Bell (HU)
Carlos Amador (HU)
Mark Rouleau (SS)

Research Seed (RS) Grants
Daisuke Minakata (CEE)
Radwin Askari (GME/EPSSI)
Erika Hersch-Green (Bio Sci/ESC)
Kelly Steelman (CLS)
Don Lafreniere (SS/GLRC)
Kathryn Perrine (Chem)
Curtis Edson (SFRES)

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Research Seed (RS) Grants
Momoko Tajiri (Chem)
Xiaohu Xia (Chem)
Kevin Trewartha (CLS)
Kelly Kamm (KIP)

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Mid-Career (MC)
CK Choi (MEEM)
Megan Frost (Bio Med)
Jeremy Goldman (Bio Med)
Langrong Bi (Chem)

Tech Ranks 6th of Top 25 Colleges in Michigan

CollegeChoice.net, a website for prospective college students and their families, has ranked Michigan Tech sixth of the top 25 colleges and universities in the state.

The ranking is based on both academic quality (acceptance rates, endowment size and other statistics), as well as return on investment: how much a student will pay for college compared to what they can expect to earn after graduation.

"Home to almost 100 colleges, including eight research universities, Michigan is a highly-favored destination for prospective college students, be they in-state, out-of-state or even international," according to the website.

Read more here.

Husky Football Names 2017 Captains

Michigan Tech Head Coach Steve Olson announced that Cayman Berg-Morales and John Williams will serve as team captains for the 2017 season. Two additional captains will be selected during fall camp.

"Cayman and John are both strong leaders on our football team and are great fits to be captains for us," Olson said. "Both players embody what it means to be a student-athlete at Michigan Tech and have played a lot of football for us. Cayman is a physical player and will help anchor our defensive line this season after a strong 2016 campaign. John had a tremendous season in 2016 and will be a key component in our offense again this coming year."

Berg-Morales, who hails from Green Bay, recorded 45 total tackles and averaged 4.5 tackles per game on the defensive line in 2016. He was second on the team in total tackles for a loss with seven, resulting in a loss of 13 yards by opponents. Berg-Morales played in all 10 games in 2016 with 52 total tackles, two forced fumbles, 7.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 tackles for a loss coming into this season.

Read the full story and find out more about Michigan Tech sports at michigantechhuskies.com.

Reminders

Final Week of C-Cubed

The final two C-Cubed luncheons of the academic year have come upon us. They will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. Faculty and staff, along with their guests, are invited.

Today
Grilled Chicken Breast with White Wine Dijon Sauce (GF)
Sauté of Spring Vegetables (VE, GF) 
Orecchiette with Broccolini and Goat Cheese (V) 
Greek Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing (GF, V)

V — Vegetarian, VE — Vegan, GF — Gluten Free

Send any suggestions to Christina Fabian or fill out a feed-back form online.

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Mineral Museum Special Offer for Graduation

To celebrate Michigan Tech's graduation, the museum is waiving the admission fee for students with their accompanying guests during finals and graduation week. 

The museum offers a variety of gifts for graduation and is giving a free inspiration-stone to all graduating students Saturday (April 29). Our beautiful Sheet Copper specimen makes a radiant backdrop for your personal graduation photos.

For additional information, see original Tech Today story.

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2017 DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will hold its 13th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day tomorrow. The goal of this ongoing collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies is to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets by giving an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications to law enforcement officers for destruction.  

The collection is planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow (April 29) and will take place at the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office located at 403 E. Houghton Avenue in Houghton.

If you have any expired, unwanted or unused pharmaceuticals that you wish to dispose of, bring them to the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office at that time to drop them off.

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Summer Hours Announced

Starting Monday (May 1) the University shifts to its summer schedule. The general hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All offices must be staffed during these hours.

Employees are expected to fulfill their usual full-time or part-time obligations. Your actual work schedule must be approved by your supervisor. Regular office hours resume on Monday, August 14.

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Memorial Union Closed

The Memorial Union will be closed Monday (May 1) so that staff can attend the Auxiliary Services annual Professional Development Day. This includes the North Coast Grill and Deli and the Campus Bookstore. The building will reopen at 7 a.m. Tuesday (May 2) with regular summer operating hours.

In the News

Forbes published an article about Michigan Tech's joint venture with Bay College to promote robotics education, quoting Aleksandr Sergeyev (SOT).

On the Road

Lindsay Hiltunen, University archivist, delivered a presentation for a session at the National Council on Public History 2017 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. The conference was held April 19-22.

The session was titled "Recording the Middle: Three Community Oral History Projects."

Hiltunen discussed the Mine Memories project, an oral history project to collect the memories of former copper mine workers and their family members, which was funded in part by the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission's Heritage Grant program.