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Release: Immediate

UI's Mark Blumberg receives national award in psychology

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Mark S. Blumberg, University of Iowa associate professor of psychology, has been selected as the recipient of the 1997 American Psychological Association (APA) Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of animal learning and behavior. He is scheduled to receive his award at the APA Convention in San Francisco in August 1998.

In a letter notifying Blumberg of his award, the APA awards committee stated, "Your contributions advance not only science, but also the reputation of psychology as a field of scientific endeavor."

Blumberg's research expertise lies in the field of developmental psychobiology, an interdisciplinary field involving animal behavior, developmental psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. In particular, his work has led to a re-interpretation of distress cries made by infant animals when they are separated from their mother and litter mates. Ultrasonic cries, which lie beyond the range of human hearing, were long believed to be intentionally generated in order to evoke a response. However, Blumberg and his colleagues found that, although the sounds evoke a response, they are caused by hypothermia brought on by isolation from the mother and litter mates that, in turn, automatically triggers a reflexive breathing pattern resulting in ultrasonic cries.

Blumberg, who came to the UI in 1992, earned his bachelor's degree in physics and philosophy in 1983 from Brandeis University and his master's degree and doctorate in biopsychology from the University of Chicago in 1987 and 1988, respectively. He is the recipient of a University of Chicago Graduate Fellowship and a 1993 University of Iowa Old Gold Summer Fellowship. He is a member of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, the Society for Neuroscience, and the American Psychological Society, as well as the author or co-author of more than two dozen publications in professional journals.