Meghan Jablonski

BA, Muhlenberg College. MA, PhD, The New School for Social Research. Clinical psychologist with special interests in how important relationships shape development, experience, and well-being throughout the lifespan and in the role of creative process, mindfulness, and restorative sleep in cultivating resilience and wellness. Areas of experience include: attachment theory and human bonding over the life span, relational psychoanalytic theory, brief relational/psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy research, sleep research, psychological and neuropsychological assessment, clinical practice across all levels of care and in underserved communities, creative flow theory and mindfulness-based practices. Current work is focused on relating, reality, and rest in the digital age.  SLC, 2013–

Undergraduate Courses 2018-2019

Psychology

Research Seminar: 21st-Century Sleep

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

Technological advancements in the last century helped build an understanding of the neurophysiological and neuropsychological processes of sleep; technological advancements in the current century have made understanding and monitoring one’s own sleep widely accessible using digital devices and apps. Having been long marginalized or seen as a weakness, indulgent luxury, or barrier to productivity, the value of sleep as a physiological a psychological asset is gaining prominence. Consideration of sleep as central to well-being, cognitive function, creativity, and productivity is entering the mainstream discourse; and advocacy for sleep as a human right is gaining voice. Nap chairs are popping up in workplaces, the discovery of body clocks was awarded a Nobel Prize, and sleep deprivation has become a noted public-health concern. In a time where we are surrounded by digital screens, electric light, all-day coffee culture, and demanding expectations on time—and access to quality sleep is impacted by socioeconomic disparity—a culture is emerging in which sleep is regarded as a valued asset, not merely time spent “off” from waking life. What is the research supporting this emerging sleep narrative? What are the social, emotional, cognitive, and neuropsychological benefits of sleep? What is the impact of impaired sleep? What are the barriers to sleep and sleep access? What is an optimal sleep environment? And what new questions do we pose? Is there a relationship among sleep quality, anxiety, and attention challenges? Is there a relationship between sleepwalking and stress? How do attitudes toward sleep impact the experience of people with chronic fatigue? Do children who get regular and adequate sleep demonstrate greater social competence? How does attachment security impact sleep quality? What is the relationship between gender and sleep needs? How does sleeping in alignment with seasonal light/dark patterns impact mood? How does access to digital devices impact sleep quality? Is adequate sleep stigmatized in a 24-hour culture? How do attitudes toward caffeine use differ from attitudes toward nootropics (“smart drugs” intended to reduce the need for sleep)? How does sleep quality impact productivity? Do high-school classes start too early for teenagers? Will napping after studying improve memory? How does sleep quality impact athletic performance? Does sleep quality impact how dance students learn new choreography? Do artists, musicians, and writers find creative solutions in dreams? Does meditation lead to more lucid dreams? How does room temperature impact sleep quality? How does working night shifts impact mood and cognitive functioning? How do socioeconomic barriers to adequate sleep and homelessness impact academic performance and well-being in school-age children? In this intermediate-level course, we will attempt to better understand questions such as these and others related to the broad topic of sleep. Through examining established research/theory and pursuing new lines of research, students will consider the impact of sleep quality on physical and emotional well-being, productivity, academic/work performance, cognitive and social functioning; the impact of physical illness and/or mental illness on sleep quality; the role of sleep and dreaming in memory, learning, and other functions; developmental sleep needs and patterns; gender differences in sleep needs and sleep quality; the impact of sleep environment on sleep quality; sleep in the digital age; and the impact of psychosocial factors/economic disparity on sleep quality. Over the course of the semester, students will design an independent research project related to one of those topics or another topic relevant to sleep. Students will learn how to conduct an academic literature review, formulate the rationale for a research project, develop an effective research methodology, collect data, analyze data, interpret the results, and communicate the findings in an APA-style paper. This course serves as an introduction to research methods, with a specific focus on sleep-related phenomena through your own research. Topics will include experimental research design, case studies, observational techniques, survey development, and hypothesis testing. In addition to individual A/B-week conference meetings, students will discuss conference research projects in class throughout the semester, providing and obtaining feedback to/from peers on formulating research questions, methods, data analysis, and interpretation of results. Projects could include fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or another setting relevant to the project.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Sleep and Health: Clinical Conditions and Wellness

Open , Lecture—Fall

A key and often-overlooked aspect of recharging is also one of the most obvious: getting enough sleep. There is nothing that negatively affects my productivity and efficiency more than lack of sleep. After years of burning the candle on both ends, my eyes have been opened to the value of getting some serious shuteye. —Arianna Huffington, Sarah Lawrence College Commencement Address, 2012

Sleep is an incredibly powerful piece of the human experience—one everyone does or does not do enough—that is often marginalized in contemporary culture. This open-level lecture examines historical, developmental, neuropsychological, physiological, and cultural perspectives on the construct of sleep and explores the role of sleep in psychopathology, relevant medical conditions, and wellness. How sleep impacts, and is impacted by, clinical conditions will be examined, along with Eastern and Western approaches to understanding sleep phases, body clocks, and sleep regulation. Historical and contemporary theories of dreaming—including dream structure and the role of dreaming in memory consolidation, creative problem-solving, and preparing for the future—will be considered. Differences in developmental sleep needs will be considered, as well as gender differences in sleep behaviors. The impact of sleep deprivation on cognitive function, school/work performance, mood, and social functioning will be examined, as well as socioeconomic barriers to adequate sleep (e.g., shift work), pressures of 24-hour culture, and use of digital devices. The course will conclude with a look at the powerful benefits of sleeping well, including evidence from electroencephalogram (EEG) and neuroimaging data, as well as from examination of cultures with exceptionally high levels of well-being. This class will meet for one lecture section and one smaller seminar section per week, plus A/B-week group conference sections. Weekly lectures will focus on the neuropsychological, cognitive, and clinical aspects of sleep phenomena. Weekly seminar sections will offer deeper discussion of lecture material and related psychosocial topics. Conference groups will meet every other week for supervision on group conference work. Weekly reading assignments will include literature in sleep science, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, physiology, positive psychology, clinical theory and research, relevant case studies, essays, and memoir. Select film and documentary material will be included for class discussion. Additionally, class members will follow the topic of sleep in popular media. All class members will be asked to monitor their sleep patterns using available sleep apps and/or observation logs. Group conference work will be based on sleep-log observations and experience with sleep strategies related to class material. Group conference projects will include a group presentation and written summary of key observation themes supported by relevant empirical literature. Projects will consider developmental sleep needs, quality of sleep environment, light/dark exposure, use of digital devices, and bedtime routine. Project themes may also include topics related to sleep, such as dreaming, memory/other cognitive functions, cultural aspects of sleep, and/or mindfulness meditation. Students interested in developmental aspects of sleep in children may complete a weekly fieldwork placement at the Early Childhood Center.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Virtually Yours: Relating and Reality in the Digital Age

Open , Seminar—Year

This yearlong, open-level seminar will examine relating and reality in the digital age. In the fall semester, we will focus on ways in which humans have evolved to relate to each other and be related to and how our innate relational patterns fit (or do not fit) within the rapidly evolving digital world. We will consider ways in which digital life is changing how people relate and ways in which this may be challenging for some but beneficial for others. We will begin with relevant historical and developmental perspectives on attachment theory, human bonding, and shifting relational expectations. We will move on to consider how various realms of the digital world (e.g., social media, messaging, dating apps, video chats, artificial intelligence, virtual reality) impact our relational patterns, as well as aspects of self- and identity expression (e.g., of gender, sexuality, values, beliefs, interests). We will consider the role of digital spaces in making new connections, building friendships, falling in love, and maintaining romantic bonds, as well as bullying, revenge, trolling, and potential barriers to empathy that may occur when our gazes are fixed on screens and not on each other. We will also consider our emerging engagement with artificial intelligence and our attachment to digital devices themselves. In the spring semester, we will examine how reality has been defined historically, clinically, and culturally; how one’s sense of reality is shaped through development; and what internal, environmental, social, and cultural factors contribute to one’s sense of reality. Can reality ever truly be objective? Building on material from the first semester, we will examine the innate, developmental, cultural, and social psychological factors that shape our perception of reality and our choice of reliable sources—including the roles of race, gender, and ethnicity in those processes. We will consider how psychological constructs and psychometric measures of reality have taken those factors into consideration, both currently and historically. We will next consider ways in which one’s sense of reality may be impacted by clinical conditions such as brain injury, psychosis, depression, trauma, and anxiety; altered by substances such as psychedelics; influenced by dreams; and potentially enhanced through meditation. We will then consider how the content, pace, and sheer volume of information currently cycling through social media and 24 news outlets may impact our perception of reality. Classes will be both discussion-based and experiential, with opportunities for observation (e.g., observing children relating/engaging in play in the SLC Early Childhood Center (ECC), free from digital devices) and in-class activities related to weekly topics (e.g., comparing experiences engaging with early logic-based digital toys such as Simon and Speak n’ Spell vs. digital toys that express affection such as Furby and contemporary AI). Class reading will include primary- and secondary-source academic material from diverse perspectives in developmental, neuropsychological, clinical, and cultural psychology and related fields. Supplemental material will include relevant literature, memoir, TedTalks, and popular media coverage of related topics. Conference topics may include, but are not limited to, the role of digital spaces in forming and maintaining relationships; relationships formed to artificial intelligence and/or digital devices; and/or developmental, neuropsychological, clinical, social, and/or cultural perspectives on/shifts in relating in the digital age. Conference projects may be completed in the form of an APA-style literature review, original data collection, and/or a creative piece with academic justification and will include a class presentation.

Fieldwork and Community Partnerships. All students will be required to make a one-time observational visit to the SLC Early Childhood Center (ECC) and to the Wartburg center for older adults. Optional weekly fieldwork is available and encouraged for any interested students.

(Optional) Weekly Fieldwork Placement, Early Childhood Center (ECC). Students will work closely with classroom teachers one hour per week and will become part of the classroom (as advised and supervised by classroom teachers) while maintaining weekly observation logs relevant to seminar objectives and conference work.

(Optional) Weekly Fieldwork Placement: Creative Aging and Institute for Music & Neurological Function at Wartburg. Using digital tablets, students will help residents in dementia and Alzheimer’s care by creating personalized tablet programs (e.g., including apps for relaxation, connecting with meaningful music and photos), helping residents connect with important memories and important relationships throughout their lives. Students will be responsible for working with residents, staff, and family (if and when available) to develop personally meaningful tablet programs, help residents access these programs, and write a protocol to be shared with future caregivers and family members for continued use. (2 hour weekly time commitment on site plus 15-20 minutes travel time)

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Graduate Courses

Child Development 2018-2019

Research Seminar: 21st-Century Sleep

Graduate Seminar—Spring

Technological advancements in the last century helped build an understanding of the neurophysiological and neuropsychological processes of sleep; technological advancements in the current century have made understanding and monitoring one’s own sleep widely accessible using digital devices and apps. Having been long marginalized or seen as a weakness, indulgent luxury, or barrier to productivity, the value of sleep as a physiological a psychological asset is gaining prominence. Consideration of sleep as central to well-being, cognitive function, creativity, and productivity is entering the mainstream discourse; and advocacy for sleep as a human right is gaining voice. Nap chairs are popping up in workplaces, the discovery of body clocks was awarded a Nobel Prize, and sleep deprivation has become a noted public-health concern. In a time where we are surrounded by digital screens, electric light, all-day coffee culture, and demanding expectations on time—and access to quality sleep is impacted by socioeconomic disparity—a culture is emerging in which sleep is regarded as a valued asset, not merely time spent “off” from waking life. What is the research supporting this emerging sleep narrative? What are the social, emotional, cognitive, and neuropsychological benefits of sleep? What is the impact of impaired sleep? What are the barriers to sleep and sleep access? What is an optimal sleep environment? And what new questions do we pose? Is there a relationship among sleep quality, anxiety, and attention challenges? Is there a relationship between sleepwalking and stress? How do attitudes toward sleep impact the experience of people with chronic fatigue? Do children who get regular and adequate sleep demonstrate greater social competence? How does attachment security impact sleep quality? What is the relationship between gender and sleep needs? How does sleeping in alignment with seasonal light/dark patterns impact mood? How does access to digital devices impact sleep quality? Is adequate sleep stigmatized in a 24-hour culture? How do attitudes toward caffeine use differ from attitudes toward nootropics (“smart drugs” intended to reduce the need for sleep)? How does sleep quality impact productivity? Do high-school classes start too early for teenagers? Will napping after studying improve memory? How does sleep quality impact athletic performance? Does sleep quality impact how dance students learn new choreography? Do artists, musicians, and writers find creative solutions in dreams? Does meditation lead to more lucid dreams? How does room temperature impact sleep quality? How does working night shifts impact mood and cognitive functioning? How do socioeconomic barriers to adequate sleep and homelessness impact academic performance and well-being in school-age children? In this intermediate-level course, we will attempt to better understand questions such as these and others related to the broad topic of sleep. Through examining established research/theory and pursuing new lines of research, students will consider the impact of sleep quality on physical and emotional well-being, productivity, academic/work performance, cognitive and social functioning; the impact of physical illness and/or mental illness on sleep quality; the role of sleep and dreaming in memory, learning, and other functions; developmental sleep needs and patterns; gender differences in sleep needs and sleep quality; the impact of sleep environment on sleep quality; sleep in the digital age; and the impact of psychosocial factors/economic disparity on sleep quality. Over the course of the semester, students will design an independent research project related to one of those topics or another topic relevant to sleep. Students will learn how to conduct an academic literature review, formulate the rationale for a research project, develop an effective research methodology, collect data, analyze data, interpret the results, and communicate the findings in an APA-style paper. This course serves as an introduction to research methods, with a specific focus on sleep-related phenomena through your own research. Topics will include experimental research design, case studies, observational techniques, survey development, and hypothesis testing. In addition to individual A/B-week conference meetings, students will discuss conference research projects in class throughout the semester, providing and obtaining feedback to/from peers on formulating research questions, methods, data analysis, and interpretation of results. Projects could include fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or another setting relevant to the project.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Previous Courses

Virtually Yours: Evolution and Technology in Human Relating

Open , Seminar—Fall

From John Bowlby’s landmark attachment theory to contemporary theories of human bonding, theorists, researchers, philosophers, and writers have sought to understand the drives that serve us, as humans, in seeking and maintaining important relationships. Neuroimaging data and evolutionary psychology provide strong evidence that we typically possess highly specialized and evolved mechanisms that underlie our desires and efforts to relate and connect to others, to know and be known, to love and be loved. This seminar seeks to examine the ways in which we have evolved, in order to relate to each other and be related to, and how our innate relational patterns fit (or do not fit) within the rapidly-evolving digital world. We will also consider ways in which digital life might be changing how we relate and ways in which this might be beneficial for some and challenging for others. Classes will be discussion-based and begin with an overview of developmental and historical perspectives on attachment theory, human bonding, and self-expression. We will move on to consider how various realms of the digital world (e.g., social media, messaging, dating apps, video chats, virtual reality) impact our relational patterns. We will consider how these might impact our experience maintaining friendships, falling in love, and maintaining romantic bonds. We will also consider how themes such as revenge, bullying, and being rude are expressed in the digital world. Readings will include relevant academic and lay literature. Conference projects may include, but are not limited to, examination of specific social media platforms and/or comparisons of specific digital and analog relational patterns.

Faculty

Sleep and Health: Clinical Conditions and Wellness

Open , Lecture—Spring

A key and often overlooked aspect of recharging is also one of the most obvious: getting enough sleep. There is nothing that negatively affects my productivity and efficiency more than lack of sleep. After years of burning the candle on both ends, my eyes have been opened to the value of getting some serious shuteye. —Arianna Huffington, Sarah Lawrence College Commencement Address, 2012

Sleep is an incredibly powerful piece of the human experience—one that everyone does or does not do enough—that is often marginalized in contemporary culture. This class examines historical, developmental, physiological, and cultural perspectives on the construct of sleep and explores the role of sleep in psychopathology, relevant medical conditions, and wellness. How sleep impacts, and is impacted by, clinical conditions will be examined, along with Eastern and Western approaches to understanding the mysterious world of sleep. We will consider nonclinical phenomena such as innate sleep cycles and dreaming, as well as gender differences in sleep behavior. The course will conclude with a look at the powerful benefits of sleeping well, including evidence from electroencephalogram (EEG) and neuroimaging data and from the examination of cultures with exceptionally high levels of wellbeing. Weekly reading assignments will include literature in sleep science, developmental psychology, physiology, and clinical research, as well as relevant case studies, essays, and memoirs. Additionally, class members will follow the topic of sleep in popular media—including WNYC’s recent sleep project, Clock Your Sleep!—and will have the opportunity to monitor their own sleep patterns using popular sleep apps. Select film and documentary material will be included for class discussion. Conference work may include projects on clinical, developmental, physiological, and/or cultural aspects of sleep. Projects may also be focused on topics related to sleep such as dreaming, memory/other cognitive functions, and/or mindfulness meditation. Students interested in developmental aspects of sleep in children may complete a weekly fieldwork placement at the Early Childhood Center.

Faculty

Attachment Across the Life Cycle: How Relationships Shape Us from Infancy to Older Adulthood

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

Throughout life, people may experience a varied and complex range of attraction, intimacy, and loss. From intense desire to profound grief, the relationships that people find themselves in—and out of—can consume much of their attention. What is it about connecting to certain others that can hold such power? Why are people drawn to certain relationships and not to others? Do these important relationships affect a person’s development? Pioneered by John Bowlby, attachment theory emphasizes the impact of infant and early childhood attachment on social, emotional, and cognitive development. Attachment theory has become a widely accepted cornerstone of early human development. Current research in human bonding has grown to include key relationships throughout the lifespan. Beginning with attachments established in infancy and early childhood, this course will examine the impact of important relationships through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and older adulthood. We will consider how the fulfillment or deprivation of important relationships may impact development and wellbeing. Landmark discoveries and emerging studies in attachment theory and human bonding will be covered, including relevant aspects of neuropsychological development, autism, adoption, queer families, resilience, spiritual identification, social affiliation, and parenting. Readings will include classical attachment literature, contemporary human-bonding research, developmental psychopathology, feminist critique, identity theory, social psychology, neuropsychology, object relations, and psychoanalytic literature. Film, case studies, and examples from popular media will be included for reflection and class discussion. A one-time observation in the Early Childhood Center (ECC) is required; weekly fieldwork in the ECC is encouraged. Conference work may include observations from the ECC (child or parent-child interactions observed during fieldwork) or observations from other settings such as youth/adolescent programs or older adult community centers.

Faculty