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Psychological science allows us to understand and improve how people learn, think, feel, work, and interact with each other. Faculty investigate human and animal behavior from neurobiological, cognitive, clinical, lifespan, social-emotional, and developmental perspectives.

Psychology was highly productive in publishing and presenting this past year. Among their work were articles, books, and presentations on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, executive function, borderline personality and alcohol abuse in the college population; life-history narratives at midlife; techniques for detecting deception; theories of emotion and personality development; literacy development in children; work-life balance and job satisfaction; stereotyping, self-image, and disordered eating; prenatal exposure to alcohol; eye-gaze patterns in autism; reproductive tactics in fish; and audiovisual speech perception and reading skill.

Psychology houses a 3-year NIH grant for research on speech perception in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This project, which has a strong emphasis on training students, is a collaboration between Psychology faculty and members of Special Education, Communication Disorders, and the Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders, along with colleagues at the University of Connecticut, Haskins Laboratories, and Syracuse University.

Students in Psychology work with faculty to publish the Journal of Student Psychological Research (JSPR), containing student-authored research papers reviewed by student editors. The third volume included six articles written by Psychology undergraduate and graduate students. Students also benefit greatly from participation in Program Field Practicums in Mental Health and in Research, which provide students with hands-on training in professional settings. This year, 57 students completed a mental health services practicum. These students worked at sites such as the Institute of Professional Practice and the Fellowship Place, and gained experience working with adults with chronic psychiatric problems, children and adults with cognitive impairments, and formerly homeless people in transition housing, among other settings. One of these students, Yvette Bonilla, was one of the four recipients of the Barnard Award. An additional 13 students completed a research practicum; these students worked on data collection, assessment and program evaluation, and data analysis in research laboratories, tech companies, and other professional settings such as Molecular Neuro-Imaging, the Connecticut Mental Health Center, Haskins Laboratories, and the Yale Stress Clinic.

These and other opportunities have led to independent student research projects. Four students completed undergraduate honors thesis projects and four graduate students completed a master’s thesis. Students had 32 first-author conference presentations, including 12 at SCSU's Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference, and were co-authors on 3 publications and 5 conference presentations by faculty. Two Psychology majors were awarded SCSU undergraduate research grants, and two graduate students were awarded Graduate Studies Research Fellowships. 

Psychology Department

Recent Departmental and Faculty Successes

Dr. Jo Ann Abe published a journal article, Differential emotions theory as a theory of personality development, in Emotion Review.

Dr. Kristine Anthis published a journal article, Hope, will, purpose, competence, and fidelity: Ego-strengths as predictors of career identity, in Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research.

Dr. Kelly Bordner published (with T. Deak) an article, Endogenous Opioids as Substrates for Ethanol Intake in the Neonatal Rat: The impact of prenatal ethanol exposure on the opioid family in the early postnatal period, in Physiology and Behavior.

Dr. Lawrence Brancazio co-presented with Drs. Moore & Irwin and several students, McGurk-like effects of subtle audiovisual mismatch in speech perception, at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in New York City.

Dr. Kevin Colwell (with C.K. Hiscock-Anisman and students, N. James-Kangal & V. Phelan) published, Should Police use ACID? Training and Credibility Assessment using transcripts versus recordings, in Forensic Psychology Practice. He co-presented a paper with Dr. Hiscock-Anisman, Lies from the Innocent, at the International Association of Psychology and Psychiatry in Barcelona, Spain.

Dr. Julia Irwin co-authored several articles including one with Dr. Lawrence Brancazio and others (including student, J. Turcios) the article, Development of an Audiovisual Speech Perception App for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, appearing in the journal, Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics. With Dr. Brancazio she authored the NIH Grant (2014-2017), “Neurobiological Signatures of Perception and Imitation in Children with ASD.” She capped off the year with the well-deserved J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teaching award.

*Dr. John Jacobs presented his research, Life history narratives of adults at 50, at the meeting of the British Sociological Association: Aging, Body and Society in London.

Dr. Jim Mazur published the article, Rats’ choices with token stimuli in concurrent variable-interval schedules, in Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Dr. Dina Moore co-authored with Dr. Irwin the book, Preparing Children for Reading Success: Hands-On Activities for Librarians, Educators, and Caregivers published with Rowman and Littlefield. She co-presented with Dr. Brancazio, Print decoding skills of college students predict academic success, at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in New York City.

Dr. Michael Nizhnikov co-authored several articles among which are, Prenatal ethanol increases ethanol intake throughout adolescence, alters ethanol-mediated aversive learning, and affects μ but not δ or κ opioid receptor mRNA expression, appearing in the European Journal of Neuroscience and Maternal isolation during the first two postnatal weeks affects novelty-induced responses and sensitivity to ethanol-induced locomotor activity during infancy, appearing in the journal, Developmental Psychobiology

Dr. William Sherman co-presented, A longitudinal study on school climate, at the Connecticut Psychological Association in Haddam, CT and co-presented the paper, Academic parents still walk a tightrope, at the American Association of University Professors in Washington, DC.

Dr. Kelly Stiver co-authored an article, Neural Gene Expression Profiles and Androgen Levels Underlie Alternative Reproductive Tactics in the Ocellated Wrasse, Symphodus ocellatus, appearing in Ethology. She also co-presented her research at Biannual Meeting of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology.

Dr. Jessica Suckle-Nelson co-presented, Gender and psychiatric drug prescriptions among Intellectually Disabled individuals, at the Association for Women in Psychology in San Francisco.

Dr. Kenneth Walters co-presented a paper with several students, Conduct problems among college students: A cluster analytic study, at the 54th annual meeting of the New England Psychological Association, Lewiston, ME. He also co-presented, Attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder and depressed mood among college students: Combined effects on self-concept, at the same conference.