University of Minnesota
Department of Psychology

Department of Psychology's home page.


April 2014

Awards & Accomplishments

Professor Emeritus Tom Bouchard has just won the American Psychological Foundation (APF) 2014 Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology. This award recognizes Tom's distinguished career and enduring scientific contributions to our field. More information about the award can be found here. The award will be conferred at this year's annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C. Congratulations to Tom on this well-deserved honor!

Professor Tom Brothen will receive the 2014 Walter D. Mink Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award from the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA). The Award will be presented at the 2014 MPA Annual Convention on Saturday, April 12. Tom's greatest interest and passion has been Introductory Psychology, which he first taught as an instructor in the University of Minnesota's General College in 1971. He proceeded to teach the course more or less continuously for 43 full years! He currently serves in the role of faculty director of our Introduction to Psychology course (Psy 1001). Taken by approximately 2,400 students every year, this is by far the largest course offered at the University. Tom has also re-introduced a course on the History of Psychology. One of Tom's greatest contributions to the field has been his pioneering use and relentless promotion of on-line teaching. These efforts have been nationally recognized by organizations such as the APA and NSF. Tom has also been devoted to the instruction of students with disabilities. Tom has published 84 papers, most of them on the teaching of Psychology. Many publications have appeared in the journal dedicated to this subject, Teaching of Psychology. Many have been co-authored with undergraduate students, who clearly have a great respect and admiration for Tom. Tom's efforts as a teacher and mentor have already been recognized by the University of Minnesota. In 1984 he received the Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. In 1998, he was elected to membership of the University of Minnesota's Academy of Distinguished Teachers. These present the two most prestigious teaching honors bestowed by the University to its faculty. Congratulations to Tom on his outstanding dedication and performance as a teacher of psychology and for this continued recognition of that dedication!

Professor Steve Engel's research was featured on the U of M's Discover website. He has discovered that, with practice, areas of the brain that perform some of the earliest processing of visual signals can rewire themselves to amplify their responses to images.

Professor Bill Iacono has been selected to receive the John Neale Mentorship Award for 2014 from the Society for Research in Psychopathology (SRP). Bill has a sustained record of training productive clinical scientists, and this award honors him for this outstanding achievement. Bill is the 4th recipient of this highly selective award. Information about SRP and the award description can be found here ( Congratulations to Bill and to the CSPR program! Mentorship is one of our most important roles as faculty members. It is heartening for one of our own to be recognized in this way!

Associate Professor Nathan Kuncel was named a Fellow of Division 14 of the American Psychology Association - the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). This is the society's highest honor. Announcement of the award will be made May 16 at SIOP's annual conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. "SIOP Fellows have distinguished themselves by their outstanding contributions to the field," Dr. Tammy Allen, president of the 8,000-member society, said. "It is a significant honor granted to only a small percentage of industrial-organizational psychologists." SIOP was established in 1982 and its members are dedicated to applying psychology to people in the workplace. Their field of psychology brings understanding and measurement to human behavior in order to improve employees' satisfaction in their work, employer's ability to select and promote the best people, and to generally make the workplace better of the men and women who work there.

Graduate student Rachael Grazioplene's research on personality and schizotypy was featured in the College of Liberal Art's print and online publication Reach in an article titled "Organizing Chaos: Creativity or Psychosis?"

Graduate student Brenton Wiernik's global research on the shortage of highly skilled industrial workers in developed economies, even in the face of high unemployment, was featured in the College of Liberal Art's print and online publication Reach in an article titled "Skilled Labor for the Developing World."

Undergraduate student Madeline Babel, Peer Advisor in Undergraduate Advising, was selected to receive the President's Student Leadership & Service Award. This award recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of outstanding student leaders at UMNTC. Maddie is also among the small number of PSLSA recipients who will interview for both the Alumni Association award (8 recipients) and the Donald Zander Award (2 recipients). Maddie is graduating in May, but sadly, has already completed her employment in the Department as of Friday, March 21st. Hennepin Theater Trust, where Maddie has been interning since January, quickly recognized her many talents and scooped her up for a full time position in their Development unit. Maddie will be graduating in May from CLA with a full time, professional job underway! Congratulations & best wishes to Maddie (who can still be reached at!


Professor Gordon Legge's project, Designing Visually Accessible Spaces (DEVA), has been renewed through 2019. This $2.9 million dollar grant from the National Eye Institute will allow Gordon and his interdisciplinary team in vision science, computer science and lighting design to continue to create tools to enable the design of safe environments for the mobility of low-vision individuals and to enhance safety for the elderly and others who may need to operate under low lighting and other visually challenging conditions.

Upcoming Events

Dr. Eli Finkel, Northwestern University
"The Suffocation of Marriage"
Thursday, April 3, 2014
4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
N639 Elliott Hall

Colloquia in Interpersonal Relationships Research (IREL) Co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Child Development

This presentation distills insights from historical, sociological, and psychological analyses of marriage to develop the suffocation model of marriage in America. According to this model, contemporary Americans ask their marriage to help them fulfill their physiological and safety needs much less than in the past, but they ask it to help them fulfill their esteem and self-actualization needs much more than in the past. These changes require increased investment of time and psychological resources to foster the relational bond, but most Americans are investing less in their marriage, not more. As a result, mean levels of marital quality and personal well-being are declining. On the other hand, those marriages that are successfully meeting the esteem and self-actualization demands spouses are placing on the marriage are spectacularly fulfilling-more so than the best marriages of previous eras. The suffocation model seeks to explain this sharp bifurcation in marital outcomes, and it suggests several promising options for bolstering those marriages that are struggling. Discussion explores the implications of the suffocation model for understanding dating and courtship, sociodemographic variation, and marriage beyond American's borders.


Kenneth S. Kendler, MD Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics
"Psychiatric Genetics: A Current Perspective"
Friday, April 25, 2014
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.
402 Walter Library

Clinical Science and Psychopathology Research's (CSPR) Research Day in conjunction with the Biological Psychopathology (BP) & Personality, Individual Differences, and Behavior Genetics (PIB)
Programs Presents:
Special Guest and Invited Speaker: Kenneth S. Kendler, MD
Rachel Brown Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
Professor of Human Genetics
Director, Psychiatric Genetics Research Program
Director, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics


Dr. David Lubinski, Vanderbilt University
"Forty Years Later: What Happens to Mathematically Precocious Youth Identified at Age 12?"
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
N119 Elliott Hall

Findings from the first midlife follow-up of 1,650 participants from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth's (SMPY's) two oldest cohorts will be presented. During 1972-1974 and 1976-1978, participants were identified at age 12 as in the top 1% in mathematical reasoning ability. They were surveyed from January 2012 to February 2013 on their accomplishments, families, and personal well-being. Particular attention will be devoted to their occupational attainments, creative accomplishments, and mate preferences, as well as how they invest their time currently and plan into the future. Sex differences in occupational preferences, personal views, and life values will be reviewed and placed in a broader theoretical context. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of participants' satisfaction with their careers, personal relationships, and lives in general.


Dr. Greg Miller, Northwestern University
"The Biological Residue of Early Life Adversity"
Thursday, May 1, 2014
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
N119 Elliott Hall

Colloquia in Interpersonal Relationships Research (IREL) Co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Child Development

Children who are exposed to social and economic adversity in the early years of life show increased susceptibility to chronic diseases of aging, like heart disease, when they reach their 50's and 60's. These findings raise a difficult mechanistic question: How does early adversity "get under the skin" in a manner that is sufficiently persistent to affect vulnerability to diseases that arise many decades later? In this lecture I will discuss findings from our ongoing research, which suggest that early adversity gets embedded in cells of the immune system at the level of the genome, resulting in a pro-inflammatory tendency that probably contributes to the chronic diseases of aging.


Dr. Oliver P. John, University of California, Berkeley
"Personality, The Number Five, and Everyday Life"
Friday, May 9, 2014
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
N639 Elliott Hall

Personality matters! Over the past twenty years, we have learned that our personality traits influence our lives: whether we get good grades in school, what kind of work we choose and how successful we are at it, whether we are happy and satisfied with our lives, and whether we remain healthy in old age. At the core of this exciting research is the emergence of the Big Five as a consensual taxonomy for personality traits, and the field of personality research has changed remarkably. I will review research findings that have challenged and changed my views on five fundamental issues: (1) the origin of personality traits in nurture and nature, (2) the continuity between human and animal personality, (3) the development of personality in terms of stability and change, (4) the consequences of personality traits for adaptation and life outcomes, and (5) the importance of the socio-cultural context in which personality traits are expressed. Click here to view all Department of Psychology spring 2014 colloquiums.


2014 Psychology Undergraduate Celebration
Friday, May 9, 2014
4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus Club, Coffman Memorial Union

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the annual recognition celebration for psychology undergraduate students. This annual event recognizes our outstanding undergraduate achievements and graduating seniors. Those recognized will include:

Spring 2014 Degree Applicants
Mortensen Scholarship & Award recipients
Donald G. Paterson Scholarship Award
Select CLA, University and National Scholarship recipients
Outstanding achievement in the Major Project: The Sharon Borine Award
Sharon Borine Thesis Award
2013-14 UROP recipients
Donor Awards for Psychology Undergraduate Engagement recipients
2013-14 Psi Chi Inductees

Please forward any questions to Holly Hatch-Surisook RSVP instructions will be distributed via email. Thank you for your support of our undergraduate students!

Chair's Office

Monica Luciana
N210 EltH - 625-7873

Pat Frazier
Associate Chair
N571 EltH - 625-6863

Jonathan Gewirtz
Associate Chair
S245 EltH - 625-6653

Guillermo De Paz
N210 EltH - 625-7852

Orbe Stricherz
Assistant to the Chair
N210 EltH - 625-7873

Heidi Wolff
Executive Ofc & Admin Specialist
S248 EltH - 626-3171


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