Can daydreaming be good for you?

" a culture that values productivity and goal-directed behavior, daydreaming is looked at, at best, as a momentary distraction--and at worst, irresponsible loafing. But it turns out that daydreaming, zoning out, and spacing out--collectively called "mind wandering" by psychological researchers--is a mixed bag, with both benefits and costs."

Check out this interesting article from Scientific American Mind:

Are you what you eat?

Food, Culture, and Identity (A Special Topics Course)

As many of you know, I love to bake. I also love to cook.  In fact I am a foodie.  I grew up surrounded by great cooks and bakers.  Some of my fondest memories center around food.  In fact, when I was growing up our family sat down together for dinner nearly every night.  And food was at the heart of any family gathering, whether we were celebrating or mourning.  

For the first time, this spring 2015, I am bringing my love of food to the classroom.  I will be teaching a special topics class (Psy 420) on Food, Culture, and Identity.  In the course we will discuss identity, culture, and how food, what we eat, shapes and is shaped by our identity and culture.

In the coming weeks look for more information about the course.

Do you talk to yourself?

Children talk to themselves to help direct and control their behavior.  Athletes talk to themselves as a means of motivating and encouraging themselves and to direct their own behavior.  New research suggests what you should say.  To learn more listen to

Valeri, Psy Prof & Firefighter, Climbs to Remember 9-11

On Sept 11, 2001 firefighters, police, and ambulance responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center. Three-hundred-and-forty-three firefighters were killed in the line of duty that day while attempting to rescue people in the Twin Towers.  To pay tribute to these firefighters, fellow firefighters from around the world climb 110 stories, that’s the number of stories in each of the towers. As a psychology professor and as a volunteer firefighter I recognize the importance of grieving for and memorializing our deceased.  So on Sunday Sept 7, 2014 I, along with 7 other members of the Cuba Fire Department (CFD), participated in a 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb held in Binghamton, NY.  These events, not only serve as a tribute to those who died in the line of duty, but also help build bonds between current firefighters and serve to remind us of why we are firefighters.   A broadcast about the Binghamton 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb can be found at To see photos of CFD participants visit and to learn more about or participate in a 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb visit