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March 2008 issue | Volume 1, Issue 1 Latest Information | Issue Archives | Unsubscribe
Alice Davidson joins the department

The Psychology Department is pleased to welcome Alice Davidson to the department as of the 2008-2009 school year. Alice Davidson is completing her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) from Penn State University. She earned a bachelorís degree in Psychology from Rhodes College and a masterís degree in HDFS from Penn State. Courses taught include Infant & Child Development, Lifespan Development and Interventions in Human Development & Family Studies. Her research broadly focuses on understanding the importance of childrenís close relationships in middle childhood and early adolescence. Her particular research emphasis is on links between peer experiences and childrenís social and academic adjustment, and gender and cultural dynamics in these processes. She has published in Developmental Psychology and New Directions in Social Development.
FACULTY BLOG SPOT
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by Dr. St. John
In: Writing and Presentation Tips
Psychology major Ashley Navaie published in communication journal
Senior Psychology major Ashley Navaieís study Decision Making in Groups: The Role of the First Responder will appear in the Spring 2008 issue of The Florida Communication Journal. The study stems from a class project conducted in Professor Houstonís Statistics and Research Methods I class in Fall 2006 investigating how small groups reach consensus. The study examined a theory proposed by Dr. Susan Easton, Rollins College communications professor, that an idea or solution to a problem that is publicly endorsed by the first group member to respond to the proposal will tend to be the solution the group ends up using. By video taping and behaviorally coding groups of students working on a problem solving task, the study found a relationship between the first responderís endorsement and the groupís final decision. Navaie argues that these findings are consist with theories of social influence and conformity and provide support for the Theory of the First Responder.
Tell your friends: Gossip Talk was a great success
The Rollins College Psychology Department and Psi Chi were pleased to host a talk by Frank McAndrew, the Cornelia H. Dudley Professor of Psychology at Knox College, entitled Gossip! An evolutionary perspective. Dr. McAndrew spoke in the SunTrust Auditorium in front of nearly 40 students, faculty, and staff on psychological studies of gossip. Dr. McAndrew's research was inspired by evolutionary hypotheses about the adaptive role of listening to and passing along gossip - namely, that if gossip serves a learning function (learning about social norms, for example), it should be more prevalent early in life, and secondly, if it serves to allow one to track the status of competitive rivals, that gossip should be more interesting if the subject of the gossip is the same age and gender. Both hypotheses were supported by experiment. The talk was followed by an engaging question and answer session involving students and faculty on topics that ranged across many disciplines in psychology. The department tries to bring thought-provoking speakers a couple of times each year, so stay tuned for more exciting events.
New undergraduate psychology journal accepting manuscripts
Do you have a paper that you wrote for a class that you think is exceptionally good? Have you collected data and would like to share your results? Are you interested in sharing your thoughts on a theory or research topic? Looking for a place to publish your honors thesis? The good news is that there's now a permanent home for your work. Manuscripts are being accepted for the first volume of the department's new undergraduate psychology journal. The Rollins Journal of Undergraduate Psychology Research is seeking manuscripts from students for its first annual issue to be published at the beginning of the Fall '08 semester. The journal will accept literature reviews, empirical reports, archival analyses, and theoretical manuscripts on any topic in psychology. Manuscripts may be solely authored by a student, co-authored with other students, or co-authored with a departmental or college faculty member. All manuscripts will be subjected to editorial review and feedback prior to a publication decision. Manuscripts must be in APA format and not exceed 30 pages in length. The deadline for manuscript submission for the first volume is June 1, 2008 with an anticipated publication date of August 15, 2008. The journal will be produced both in hard copy (a complimentary copy will be provided for first authors) and as an electronic version available through the department's newsletter and web site. This is a great learning opportunity for students who are interested in psychological research and would like experience in the journal publication process. Please send inquiries and manuscripts to Dr. David Richard at dcrichard@rollins.edu. Students interested in editorial positions and production responsibilities with the journal should also contact Dr. Richard.
New Course! The Mind-Body Problem
The Psychology department is pleased to offer a new elective in the Spring, 2009 called The Mind-Body Problem. How is it that our brains create subjective experiences of colors, music, emotions? We will explore topics like blindsight, hallucinations, dreams, free will, and artificial intelligence. We'll ask questions like: can a robot or computer ever be conscious? Do we really control our actions, or are our actions all determined? How do we keep our identity when almost every atom in our bodies wasn't in our bodies ten years ago? Spring, 2009, MW 12:30 - 1:45.
New course! Feminism Behaviorism and Psychological Science
Feminist scholars have challenged traditional assumptions and practices across academic fields, including psychology. The feminist challenge of traditional psychological science has generated probing questions that are at the heart of the very foundations of our science. For example, the feminist critique has questioned whether it is possible to have a truly objective science that is value free and gender neutral. In answering these questions feminists have shown that patriarchal values have been historically embedded in western psychology resulting in gender bias and the exclusion of women in the history of the discipline. We will consider the feminist critique of traditional psychological science and an array of feminist alternatives that have been proposed. The course will also introduce students to the philosophy of science that supports contemporary behaviorism and explore its potential as a bridge between feminist and traditional psychology. The class will build off of Dr. Ruiz's recent work on the feminist perspective within behaviorism. Dr. Ruiz recently co-authored Functional Analytic Psychotherapy and Feminist Therapies: Confronting Power and Privilege in Therapy with Christeine Terry, a Rollins 2001 graduate who is currently beginning her internship in clinical psychology. Fall, 2008, MWF 12 - 12:50.
Dr. Richard awarded $1500 grant by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology
Dr. David Richard is a recent recipient of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology's (APA Division 2) annual Instructional Resource Award. The IRA program is a national competition designed to encourage and reward instructional research relevant to the teaching of psychology and to stimulate development of teaching-related materials that may, among other things, be reviewed and distributed by the Society's Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology (OTRP). The Society makes up to five annual awards. Dr. Richard's project involves the development and validation of a screening tool designed to measure student preparedness for undergraduate statistics. He has collected four waves of data to this point and the award funds will be used to collect a large normative sample from several higher education institutions in the fifth and final wave of data collection. Eventually, instructors will be able to use the measure to identify students who are likely to struggle in undergraduate statistics so that remedial education in basic mathematics operations can be provided. "It's an exciting development," Dr. Richard said, "and I think the potential utility of the measure is obvious. "Our data to date indicate that scores on the screening measure correlate around .70 with final course grades - which means that half the variability in student grades is determined before students ever start the course. This is because of large individual differences between students in math and verbal reasoning proficiencies and those differences are reflected in final course grades. In the past, there wasn't much an instructor could do to address the problem given that we did not have a rapid way of identifying students with those deficiencies. The screening tool allows us to identify those students. Once the screening tool is refined, the next step will be to create an online module that helps students learn or relearn applicable math concepts. In this way, the entire project should create an efficient system that both identifies students at risk while providing pre-course training they need to be successful. Students without deficiencies will not need to complete the remedial module." The final report for the project is due to the Society in December and Richard is hoping to collect data from over 1000 students across the country during the fall semester.
Undergaduate poster session: Rollins research!
Join us on Friday, April 25 at 2pm in the Johnson Center lounge for the Annual Research Poster Session. Students engaged in independent study and senior thesis research will be describing their work in a conference-style poster session. Not only is this a great way to support your fellow pscyhology peers, it is also a great way to learn about the kinds of research projects being carried out in the department. Refreshments will be provided. Email Dr. St. John if you would like to participate in the session.
Psi Chi invites new members
The Rollins Chapter of Psi Chi, a national honor society for psychology students, invites qualified students to join each year. Invitations went out at the beginning of March, and registration is open until the end of the month (bring a check for $35 to Dr. St. John made out to Rollins College). Induction ceremony will be April 22: futher details forthcoming. The officers of the Rollins chapter organize a variety of psychology-related activities such as talks, a research poster session, movie nights, and charitable causes. Whether you are a member or not, please feel free to take part in all events sponsored by Psi Chi.
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
Shrink Rap is an email publication of the Rollins College Department of Psychology. This issue can also be found online. The newsletter is sent monthly to Psychology majors and minors in A&S and Holt, students in A&S psychology classes, psychology faculty and staff, and friends of the department. The department would like to thank Rollins students Lindsay Bartlett and Sharon Riegsecker for contributions to this issue.
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DID YOU KNOW?
Binocular rivalry is a phenomenon studied in psychology in which two different images are projected to each eye. Rather than see both images at once, or seeing a blurry combination, we usually see first what the left eye is seeing and then what the right eye is seeing. Objects literally disappear and reappear in front of our eyes! Try this. Take a small mirror angled 45 degrees and place it just in front of your nose, so that your left eye is looking straight ahead and your right eye sees what's off to the side of you. If you look simultaneously at two different objects, does one disappear?
FACULTY FACT
Both Dr. Maria Ruiz and Dr. Steven St. John earned their Ph.D.s in the Psychology Department of the University of Florida.
•3/24 - 3/28 Pre-registration for fall
•3/28 Last day to drop without penalty
•3/31 - 4/4 Meet with your advisor
•4/19 Senior party
•4/29 Class freedom day (classes end)