Faculty & Staff

Rebecca Achtman Achtman, Rebecca Achtman

Visiting Assistant Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology
B.S., Ph.D., McGill University
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Mary-Frances Bartels Bartels, Mary-Frances Bartels

Mary-Frances Bartels
Support Staff
Staff  |  Psychology
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Nida Bikmen dr. Bikmen, Nida Bikmen

Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall
B.A., M.A., Bogazici University; Ph.D., Graduate Center, City University of New York

Dr. Bikmen graduated from Bogazici University, Turkey and earned her Ph.D. at City University of New York. She is a social/personality psychologist interested in studying issues of diversity and intergroup relations. Her research aims at identifying conditions that facilitate endorsement of diversity and multicultural groups and that prevent interpersonal and intergroup conflict. Specifically, she is interested in group identities and their consequences in terms of academic outcomes, representations of group history, intergroup attitudes, and collective action.

At Denison, Dr. Bikmen conducts research on attitudes toward immigration and multiculturalism, and on the process of social identity negotiation among minority students. Dr. Bikmen teaches courses in introductory psychology, social psychology, and the psychology of diversity.

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Cody Brooks dr. Brooks, D. Cody Brooks

Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall
B.A., Gettysburg College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Vermont

Dr. Brooks came to Denison in 2000 and teaches courses in learning and conditioning, animal cognition, and related topics. His research interests focus on the basic learning and memory processes that influence treatment (e.g., of anxiety or substance abuse disorders) and the relapse of unwanted behaviors after treatment. He is interested in understanding those processes that can change behaviors motivated by emotions and/or biological need. He and his students have developed techniques for reducing and even eliminating some instances of relapse modeled in the laboratory. Some of Dr. Brooks' other interests include addiction, the history of psychology, and the role of diet and thought in mental health.


Pavlovian Conditioning, Memory, Emotion, and Relapse

My research program involves basic research on the learning and memory processes that modulate emotionally- and motivationally- significant experiences, and the behaviors that accompany those experiences.  I am especially interested in the use of animal models to better understand the learning and memory processes that underlie instances of human relapse of problematic behaviors with emotional components (e.g., substance abuse, anxiety, depression).  Believe it or not, the methods of Pavlovian conditioning are uniquely suited to the study of these and any emotion-based behaviors.

Since Ivan P. Pavlov's time in Russia (circa 1890-1925), psychologists and other scientists have come to realize the fundamental importance of Pavlovian (classical) conditioning for the development of and change in many involuntary ("non-conscious" and other) responses experienced by humans and other animals.  These responses are the result of Pavlovian conditioning, and include heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory, and perspiration changes; emotional reactions like anxiety, fear, excitement, frustration; drug tolerance, withdrawal and craving; and motivational influences on many voluntary behaviors such as feeding, competition, reproduction, and pleasure-seeking activities, to name just a few.

An increasingly popular idea about Pavlovian conditioning is that it results in the formation of memories involving the events that are present in an organism's environment when they have emotionally-significant experiences.  My research focuses on what the content of those memories is, and what happens to those memories (e.g., how memorable they become) usually at some time after they have formed.  Sometimes various different memories can interact, and in some cases, the memory of a particular experience can be retrieved more or less well compared to other memories. This disparity in the ability to retrieve certain memories can produce dramatic changes in behavior.

My research is directed at three interrelated fronts:

  1. The study of animal models of relapse in humans.  One of the more interesting implications of our research here is that clinical relapses (of substance abuse, anxiety-disorders, depression, and so on) occur in part because crucial information learned during the treatment of a disorder is forgotten rather readily after the formal course of treatment ends (i.e., relapse is likely when a period of time has passed, or the setting changes, following treatment).  Using a model involving rats as subjects, my research has shown that laboratory instances of relapse can be reduced or eliminated by straightforward memory retrieval techniques.  (The implications of this research for human treatment are rather important.  Psychology has developed fairly good technologies for the treatment of common psychological disorders like anxiety and depression, but unfortunately, relapse rates post-treatment are disturbingly high.  More information is needed about why relapses occur, and how they can be minimized or completely prevented.) My students and I have found that the memory processes that underlie relapse and its reduction are similar in both aversive and appetitive motivational systems, i.e., when animals form initial memories about either "positive" or "negative" experiences.  One objective of our research is to continue to study the basic memory mechanisms that contribute to various types of relapse, and those that may contribute to reducing relapses.
  2. Our research has implications for a basic understanding of conditioning and memory involving important emotional events.  Some contemporary theories of conditioning and memory can explain the instances of relapse and their reduction that we have been studying intensively (e.g., hierarchical associative learning theories about occasion setting and contextual control).  Other theories cannot.  The theories that suggest explanations are relatively straightforward neural network models that can simulate many conditioning effects.  My students and I conduct ongoing tests of these theories using experimental designs that we hope will advance our understanding of not only the clinically-relevant relapse phenomena, but of the general memory processes involved in motivation & emotions.
  3. Recently, I have begun a project to study alcohol tolerance, withdrawal, and relapse, with the intention of influencing the probability or magnitude of craving-related responses and relapses that motivate an individual to resume alcohol use/abuse.  I believe this work has direct relevance to human substance abuse patterns.  There is always interest in determining whether learning and memory processes shown with nonhuman animals also apply to human experience, behavior, and memory.  I am beginning to investigate drug-use related relapse-like effects in human memory, with particular interest in discovering whether relapses might be reduced by reminder treatments analogous to those I've established with other methods.

I would be happy to talk with students about any aspect of these intriguing and challenging areas of research, and related topics.  Please contact me for questions or comments about my research program.


  • Brooks, D. C., Karamanlian, B. R., & Foster, V.. 2001. Extinction and spontaneous recovery of conditioned ethanol tolerance. Psychopharmacology. v. 153 p. 491-496
  • Brooks, D. C.. 2000. Recent and remote extinction cues reduce spontaneous recovery.. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. v. 53B( p. 25-58
  • Brooks, D. C., Palmatier, M. I., Garcia, E. O., & Johnson, J. L.. 1999. A retrieval cue for extinction reduces spontaneous recovery of a conditioned taste aversion. Animal Learning & Behavior. v. 27 p. 77-88
  • Wilson, A., Brooks, D. C., & Bouton, M. E.. 1995. The role of the rat hippocampal system in several effects of context in extinction. Behavioral Neuroscience. v. 109( p. 828-836.
  • Brooks, D. C., Hale, B., Nelson, J. B., & Bouton, M. E.. 1995. Reinstatement after counterconditioning. Animal Learning & Behavior. v. 23(4 p. 383-390
  • Brooks, D. C. & Bouton, M. E.. 1994. A retrieval cue for extinction attenuates response recovery (renewal) caused by a return to the conditioning context. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. no. 20 p. 366-379
  • Bouton, M. E. & Brooks, D. C.. 1993. Time and context effects in a Pavlovian discrimination reversal. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. v. 19 p. 165-179
  • Brooks, D. C. & Bouton, M. E.. 1993. A retrieval cue for extinction attenuates spontaneous recovery. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. v. 19 p. 77-89
  • Brooks, D. C., & Bowker, J. L.. Further Evidence that Conditioned Inhibition is Not the Mechanism of an Extinction Cueâs Effect: A Reinforced Cue Prevents Spontaneous Recovery.. Animal Learning & Behavior.
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Seth Chin-Parker dr. Chin-Parker, Seth Chin-Parker

Dr.Chin-Parker, Seth Chin-Parker
Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Neuroscience, Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall
B.A., University of Vermont; M.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Chin-Parker began teaching at Denison in the fall of 2004. He teaches Introduction to Psychology, Research Methods, Cognitive Psychology, Research in Cognitive Psychology, and a seminar titled “Creativity and Cognition”. When he is not in the classroom (or his lab), Dr. Chin-Parker enjoys spending time with his family, running on the trails of the Denison Biological Reserve, and attempting to play the guitar.


My research program focuses on the interplay between conceptual knowledge and experience: Conceptual knowledge plays a critical role in shaping the interactions we have with the world, and it is correspondingly shaped by those interactions. Reflecting this interplay, I have adopted two perspectives that frame my research:

  • Access to relevant conceptual knowledge can change the processing associated with a given behavior, and so cognitive functions (e.g. category learning and explanation) that tap into conceptual knowledge should be studied in situations where relevant knowledge is available.
  • The acquisition of conceptual knowledge, or category learning, should be studied in context. People learn about categories of items as they complete other tasks – the processing associated with these tasks, as well as the goals of the individual, affect what is learned about the categories to which the items belong.

By taking this stance, I am able to examine several important issues that have been overlooked by much of the research in the area. Because there is a tendency in experimental work to isolate cognitive functioning in order to get a “cleaner” view of the processes involved, we sometimes inadvertently change the nature of the processing by removing it from the context in which it typically occurs. This is especially a concern when studying cognitive processes that link up with conceptual knowledge.

Ultimately, my research interests stem from a desire to better appreciate what it means to “understand”. I consider our behaviors, especially cognitive processes, to be largely dedicated to meaning making – seen in the constant questions of a three year old and extending to the way that we reflect on our world and ourselves through art, literature, science. I have selected to study the cognitive processes and structures that underlie the acquisition and use of conceptual knowledge because they are so intimately tied to how we make sense of the world.

Student Research Collaborations

  • Avraham Baranes, Summer 2010, Anderson Summer Research Assistantship
    Title: Working memory and decision making: A look at the somatic marker hypothesis
  • Amy Milewski, Summer 2010, Denison University Research Funded Assistantship
    Title: The effects of use-relevant information and diagnosticity on conceptual organization
  • Elizabeth Cummings, Summer 2008, Anderson Summer Research Assistantship
    Title: Coherence effects in naturally occurring knowledge
  • Julie Tucker, Summer 2008, Anderson Summer Research Assistantship
    Title: Coherence in real world categories in natural groups
  • Jessie Birdwhistell, Summer 2007 and Spring 2008, Anderson Summer Research Assistantship
    Title: Beyond the solution: Learning about categories during problem solving
  • Amber Hill, Summer 2006, Hughes Summer Research Assistantship
    Title: The interaction of knowledge and learning with cross-classified items
  • Robert Horn, Summer 2006, Denison University Research Funded Assistantship
    Title: Constraints on explanations: Empirically testing philosophical theories of explanation
  • Catherine Mehta, Summer 2006, Anderson Summer Research Assistantship
    Title: Structural alignment across category learning paradigms
  • Olivia Hernandez, Summer 2005, Hughes Summer Research Assistantship
    Title: A process model of explanation-based learning
  • Murray Matens, Summer 2005, Anderson Summer Research Assistantship
    Title: A comparative study of category learning through classification and explanation

Selected Publications

  • Chin-Parker, S., & Bradner, A. (2010). Background shifts affect explanatory style: How a pragmatic theory of explanation accounts for background effects in the generation of explanations. Cognitive Processing, 11, 227-249.
  • Chin-Parker, S. (2010). (Category) Learning by Doing: How Goal Directed Tasks Constrain Conceptual Acquisition. In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Patalano, A. L., Chin-Parker, S., & Ross, B. H. (2006). The importance of being coherent: The role of category coherence in reasoning about cross-classified entities. Journal of Memory and Language, 54, 407-424.
  • Chin-Parker, S., Hernandez, O., & Matens, M. (2006). Explanation in Category Learning. In R. Sun & N. Miyake (Eds.), Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Ross, B. H., Chin-Parker, S., & Diaz, M. (2005). Beyond classification learning: A broader view of category learning and category use. In W. Ahn, R. L. Goldstone, B. C. Love, A. B. Markman, & P. Wolff (Eds.), Categorization inside and outside the lab: Festschrift in honor of Douglas L. Medin. Washington, DC: APA.
  • Erickson, J., Chin-Parker, S., & Ross, B. H. (2005). Inference and classification learning of abstract coherent categories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 31, 86-99.
  • Chin-Parker, S., & Ross, B. H. (2004). Diagnosticity and prototypicality in category learning: A comparison of inference learning and classification learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 30, 216-226.
  • Chin-Parker, S., & Ross, B. H. (2002). The effect of category learning on sensitivity to within-category correlations. Memory & Cognition, 30, 353-362.
  • Anderson, A. L., Ross, B. H., & Chin-Parker, S. (2002). A further investigation of category learning by inference. Memory & Cognition, 30, 119-128.

Selected Presentations

  • Chin-Parker, S. (July 2011). What Varying the Category Structure and Learning Task Reveal About Inference Learning. Poster presented at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Boston, MA.
  • Chin-Parker, S. (August 2010). (Category) Learning by Doing: How Goal Directed Tasks Constrain Conceptual Acquisition. Poster presented at the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Portland, OR.
  • Chin-Parker, S. (May 2010). Use-Relevant Features Constrain Category Learning. Paper presented at the 80th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.
  • Chin-Parker, S. & Bradner, A. (September 2009). A Philosopher and a Psychologist Walk Into a Lab…: An Interdisciplinary Study of Explanation. Talk presented to the Denison Scientific Association. Granville, OH.
  • Birdwhistell, J. & Chin-Parker, S. (November 2008). Beyond the Solution: Problem Solving as Category Learning. Poster presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomics Society. Chicago, IL.
  • Chin-Parker, S. & Bradner, A. (August 2008). The Pragmatics of Explanation. Paper presented at the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Washington, D.C.
  • Bradner, A. & Chin-Parker, S. (July 2008). An Empirical Constraint on the Pragmatic Theory of Explanation. Poster presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Chin-Parker, S., Hernandez, O., & Matens, M. (November 2006). Explanation as Category Learning. Poster presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomics Society. Houston, TX.
  • Chin-Parker, S., Hernandez, O., & Matens, M. (August 2006). Explanation in Category Learning. Poster presented at the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
  • Chin-Parker, S. (October 2005). An Explanation (and Exploration) of Category Learning. Denison University Department of Psychology Colloquium. Granville, OH.
  • Chin-Parker, S., & Ross, B. H. (May 2005). Category Learning (Not) Made Simple: The Effect of Learning Two Category Sets on Classification Performance. Paper presented at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.
  • Effland, K. J., Lancaster, K., Polovick, M. A., Welker, K. G., & Chin-Parker, S. (May 2005). The Effect of Abstract Knowledge on a Category Construction Task. Paper presented at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.
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Gina Dow dr. Dow, Gina Dow

Gina Dow
Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology, Alford Center for Service Learning
Higley Hall
B.A., State University of New York at Stony Brook, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Dr. Dow is interested in various aspects of children's social cognitive development and functioning, particularly symbolic representation, memory, and literacy.  Joining the faculty in 1993, she teaches courses in introductory psychology, child development, and adolescence.


My main area of interest is cognitive development, and in particularly memory and representational abilities.  I am currently engaged in several projects exploring how a number of factors affect event memory in young children, including the structure of the to-be-remembered event, as well as the effect of delays, verbal reminders, and narrative experience.  I am also interested in continuing to explore whether so-called “interactive” educational media (e.g., “Blues Clues”) really facilitates concept learning in preschoolers.

Curriculum Vitae: 
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Frank Hassebrock dr. Hassebrock, Frank L. Hassebrock

Frank Hassebrock
Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Neuroscience, Psychology  |  Faculty Fellow for Learning and Teaching
Blair Knapp Hall
B.A., University of Illinois; M.A., California State University, Long Beach; Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Dr. Hassebrock came to Denison in 1983 and teaches courses in Cognitive Psychology, Adult Development and Aging, Research Methods in Psychology, and Introduction to Psychology and seminars on The Seven Sins of Memory: The Psychology of Remembering and Forgetting, and Autobiographical Memory and the Remembering Self.

In 2011, Dr. Hassebrock was named as a Teagle Pedagogy Fellow by the Great Lakes College Association. Teagle Pedagogy Fellow have key roles in the development of a new consortial program, called the GLCA Lattice for Pedagogical Research and Practice, created with funding from the Teagle Foundation. These Fellows engage with interested faculty members on their own campuses and at other GLCA colleges, helping to generate heightened interest and momentum in exploring different modes of pedagogy to enhance student learning and achievement.

At Denison’s Honors Convocation in April 2013, Dr. Hassebrock received the Charles and Nancy Brickman Distinguished Service Chair, 2013-2016.

Dr. Hassebrock was selected in 2013 to be Denison’s first Faculty Fellow for Learning and Teaching. In this role, he collaborates with Denison’s faculty members, at all career stages, on teaching-related issues in order to:

(a) provide individual support and consultation,
(b) develop opportunities and provide information for the exploration of innovative pedagogies and new initiatives,
(c) promote access to scholarship and research on learning and teaching,
(d) coordinate relevant activities, programs, and resources across campus, and
(e) support a shared culture of discussion, reflection, and experimentation about learning and teaching activities.


My recent research projects have explored the cognitive psychology of autobiographical memory including age and gender differences in remembering meaningful personal experiences and significant life events. Another direction of this research has compared the different types of memory functions (e.g., self, social, emotional, and motivational) that guide how adults of different ages recall autobiographical memories associated with consumer objects versus keepsake objects including mementos and souvenirs.

Selected Publications and Conference Presentations

  • Reder, M., Hassebrock, F., and 10 others (November 2014). "Best" Program Showcase: Transferable Ideas for Busy Faculty Developers. Annual meeting of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD), Dallas.
  • Volk, S., Cunningham, K., Hassebrock, F., Knupsky, A., & Thompson, C. (2014). Towards a Consortial Teaching and Learning Commons: Collaborating across Campuses to Address Faculty Needs. Symposium presented at the Annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Washington, DC.
  • Kennedy, S., & Hassebrock, F. (2012). Developing a team-taught capstone course in neuroscience. The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 11(1), A12-A16.
  • Hassebrock, F., & Boyle, B. (2009). Memory and narrative: Reading ‘The Things They Carried’ for psyche and persona. Across the Disciplines: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Language, Learning, and Academic Writing. Click to download.
  • Hassebrock, F., & Snyder, R. (1997). Applications of a computer algebra system for teaching bivariate relationships in statistics courses. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 29, 246-249.
  • Hassebrock, F. (1995). Memory of patients past: Contextual and temporal characteristics. J. Stewman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 8th Florida AI Research Symposium (p. 102-106).
  • Hassebrock, F. (1995). Tracing the cognitive revolution through a literature search. In M. Ware & D. Johnson (Eds.), Handbook of Demonstrations and Activities in Teaching of Psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Hassebrock, F., Johnson, P. E., Bullemer, P., Fox, P., & Moller, J. (1993). When less is more: Representation and selective memory in expert problem solving. American Journal of Psychology, 106, 155-189.
  • Hassebrock, F., & Prietula, M. (1992). A protocol-based coding scheme for the analysis of medical reasoning. International Journal of Man/Machine Studies, 37, 613-652.

Selected Student Research Collaborations

  • Hassebrock, F., & Shelton, O. (2014). Today’s and tomorrow’s things: Age differences in future episodic thinking about keepsakes versus consumer objects. Research poster, Annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco.
  • Hassebrock, F., & Gaines, M. (2012). Functions of autobiographical memories cued by keepsakes and consumer objects. Research poster, Annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
  • Hassebrock, F., & Fox, M. (2010). Emotional priming effects on retrieving autobiographical memories. Research poster, Annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
  • Hassebrock, F., Goans, C., & Bassett, L. (2009) Perceptual modality and emotional valence of autobiographical memory retrieval cues. Research poster, Annual meeting of the Association of Psychological Science, San Francisco.
  • Fox, C., & Hassebrock, F. (2009). The effect of positive and negative emotional pictures on the autobiographical memory of younger and older adults. Research poster, Annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Pittsburgh.
  • Goans, C., & Hassebrock, F. (2009). Autobiographical memory retrieval following auditory, pictorial, and word cues. Research poster, Annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Pittsburgh.
  • Nowell, M., & Hassebrock, F. (2009). The effect of emotional auditory cues on autobiographical memory retrieval. Research poster, Annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Pittsburgh.
  • Moellenberg, S., & Hassebrock, F. (2008). Specificity of autobiographical memory for positive and negative academic experiences in college students with learning disabilities. Research Poster, Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
  • Saffell, T., & Hassebrock, F. (2007). Misinformation effects produced by life memories and time delay. Research Poster, Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
  • Moellenberg, S., & Hassebrock, F. (2006). Perceived stress, political participation, and autobiographical memory in relation to the 2004 presidential election. Research poster, Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
  • Yeager, L., & Hassebrock, F. (2005). The effects of recall mode and cognitive interview mnemonics on eyewitness memory. Research poster. Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
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Harry Heft dr. Heft, Harry Heft

Harry Heft
Professor & Chair (Psychology)
Faculty  |  Psychology, Environmental Studies
Blair Knapp Hall
B.S., University of Maryland; M.S., University of Bridgeport; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Prof. Heft has been on the Denison faculty since 1976. His graduate training was in an interdisciplinary program concerning the relationship between psychological processes and the environment. At Denison, he has been a recipient of the Charles A. Brickman Award for Teaching Excellence. He has also been elected as a Fellow in both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. Dr. Heft serves on the Editorial Boards of the journals "Environment & Behavior" and "William James Studies," and he is the Book Review Editor for the "Journal of Environmental Psychology." He teaches courses in environmental psychology, history and systems of psychology, and cultural psychology.


Prof. Heft's scholarly interests primarily concern topics in the related areas of environmental and ecological psychology. His book "Ecological Psychology in Context" (LEA, 2001) elucidates the theoretical and philosophical foundations of ecological psychology and some of its connections to current work in cultural psychology.

Much of his research has examined the process by which humans find their way through the environment, with its focus on identifying the environmental information that is utilized in learning a path or route. On-going research in this vein is attempting to understand how this route knowledge can be employed to promote understanding of the overall configuration of a place. He has also conducted research in the past on the perception of affordances (i.e., the perceived functional meaning of objects and environmental features), the development of children's navigational skills, environmental aesthetics, and the effects of noise in the home on cognitive development.

Selected Student Research Collaborations

  • Heft, H., & Poe, G. (2005). Pragmatism, environmental aesthetics, and the spectator approach to visual perception. Paper presented at the meetings of the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., August, 2005.
  • Heft, H., & McFarland, D. (1999). Children's and adult's assessments of a step affordance for self and others. Poster presented at the meetings of the Society for Research in Child Development, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Gress, J.E., & Heft, H. (1998). Do territorial actions attenuate the effects of high density? A field study. In J. Sanford & B.R. Connell (Eds.). People, places, and public policy, Proceedings of the Environmental Design Research Association, St. Louis, MO.
  • Heft, H., & Kent, M. (1993). Way-Finding as event perception: The structure of route information. In H. Heft (Chair) "Navigation and environmental cognition: Ecological considerations". A paper presented at the meetings of the International Conference on Event Perception and Action, Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Heft, H., & Blondal, R. (1987). The influence of cutting rate on the evaluation of the affective content of film. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 5, 1-14.


  • Heft, H., & Marsh, K.L. (Eds., 2005). Studies in Perception Action VIII. Lawrence Erlbaum, Publishers.
  • Heft, H. & Chawla, L. (2005). Children as agents in sustainable development: Conditions for competence. In M. Blades & C. Spencer (Eds.), Children and Their Environments. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Heft, H. (2003). Affordances, dynamic experience, and the challenge of reification. Ecological Psychology, 15, 149-180.
  • Heft, H. (2002). Restoring naturalism to James’s epistemology: A belated reply to Miller & Bode. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 38, 557-580.
  • Heft, H. (2001). Ecological psychology in context: James Gibson, Roger Baker, and the legacy of William James's radical empiricism. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
  • Heft, H., & Nasar, J. L. (2000). Evaluating environmental scenes using dynamic versus static displays. Environment & Behavior, 32, 301-322.
  • Heft, H. (1998). The elusive environment in environmental psychology, British Journal of Psychology, 89, 519-523. Heft, H. (1998). Why primary experience is necessary. Contemporary Psychology, 43, 450-451.
  • Heft, H. (1998). Towards a functional ecology of behavior and development: The legacy of Joachim F. Wohlwill. In D. Gorlitz, H. J. Harloff, G. Mey & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Children, cities, and psychological theories: Developing relationships. (pp. 85-110). Berlin: Walter De Gruyter.
  • Heft, H. (1997). The relevance of Gibson's ecological approach for environment-behavior studies. In G.T. Moore & R.W. Marans (Eds.), Advances in environment, behavior, and design Vol. 4. (pp. 71-108) New York: Plenum.
  • Heft, H. (1996). The ecological approach to navigation: A Gibsonian perspective. In J. Portugali (Ed.), The construction of cognitive maps (pp. 105-132). Dordrect: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Heft, H. (1993). A methodological note on overestimates of reaching distance: Distinguishing between perceptual and analytical judgments. Ecological Psychology, 5, 255-271.
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Erin Henshaw dr. Henshaw, Erin J. Henshaw

Erin Henshaw
Assistant Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology, Environmental Studies
Blair Knapp Hall
B.A., Wittenberg University; M.S., Ph.D., Eastern Michigan University

Educational Background, Teaching, and Research:

Dr.  Henshaw is a clinical psychologist trained in interpersonal and cognitive-behavioral approaches to treating adult psychopathology.  She completed her Ph.D. at Eastern Michigan University, including a clinical internship at University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services.

Dr. Henshaw teaches courses in abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, introductory psychology, and health psychology. Her research interests include mental health treatment utilization, treatment of depression in pregnancy, and mental health stigma.

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Sarah L. Hutson-Comeaux ’91 dr. Hutson-Comeaux, Sarah Louise L. Hutson-Comeaux ’91

Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall
B.S., Denison University; M.S., Ph.D., Purdue University

My current research interests include (1) gender differences in social behavior, (2) the social influence processes used to change others' attitudes and behavior, and (3) the personalities of attorneys.

Gender Differences

First, I am interested in gender differences in a variety of social behaviors, as well as differences in the social evaluation of women's and men's behavior.  My research in this area has examined the content of attitudes toward men and women, gender differences in interaction patterns, and the appropriateness of women's and men's emotional reaction to life events.  My current research projects focus on the social consequences of women's and men's emotional expressions during job interviews and political campaign speeches.

  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (2005, August). Perceptions of political candidates: The consequences of emotional expression. Paper presented in the Division 9 Symposium, Gender and the Politics of Emotion, at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Kelly, J. R. (2002). Gender stereotypes of emotional reactions: How we judge an emotion as valid. Sex Roles, 47, 1-10.
  • Kelly, J. R., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (2000). The appropriateness of emotional expression in women and men: The double-bind of emotion. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15, 515-528.
  • Kelly, J. R., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1999). Gender-emotion stereotypes are context specific. Sex Roles, 40, 107-120.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Kelly, J. R. (1996). Sex differences in interaction style and group performance: The process-performance relationship. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality [Special Issue: Handbook of Gender Research], 11, 255-275.

Social Influence Processes

My second line of research addresses the social influence processes that individuals and groups use to change others' opinions and behavior.  I am particularly interested in the conditions under which a minority opinion holder can influence the opinion of a majority, and the social influence processes by which a minority and majority opinion holders exert their influences.  My recent work on these issues has been in the context of psychology and law.

  • Eagly, A. H., Kulesa, P., Brannon, L. A., Shaw, K., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. (2000). Why counterattitudinal messages are as memorable as proattitudinal messages: The importance of active defense against attack. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1392-1408.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1999). Majority and minority influence: Use and effectiveness of social influence processes. The Group Psychologist, 9, 11-12.
  • Kelly, J. R., Jackson, J. W., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1997). The effects of time pressure and task differences on influence modes and accuracy in decision-making groups. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 10-22.

Personalities of Attorneys

The third line of research examines the personality characteristics of attorneys.  In particular, I am interested in individual differences between trial and non-trial attorneys as well as gender differences.  To examine some of this research click here. We have developed a webpage that summarizes the research we have conducted on this topic and contains a Psychology and Law Research Guide to articles about various topics in the field of psychology and law .

  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., Bluestein, B. M., & Wagner, B. C. (2004, May). Gender differences in the personality characteristics of law students and attorneys. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Society, Chicago, IL.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Pukay-Martin, N. D. (2003, May). Personality characteristics of trial and non-trial attorneys. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, Atlanta, GA.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., Westerhaus, E. K., & Snyder, R. (2002, June). Personality characteristics of women in male- and female-dominated occupations. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, New Orleans, LA.
  • Dr. Hutson-Comeaux, a 1991 graduate of Denison, returned to join the psychology faculty in 1997.  She teaches courses in introductory psychology, personality theory, social psychology, research methods and statistics, and a seminar on the psychology of law.
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Susan Kennedy Kennedy, Susan Kennedy

Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Neuroscience, Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall
B.A., M.A., Florida Atlantic University; Ph.D., Ohio State University

Dr. Kennedy joined the faculty at Denison in 1992 following completion of a four-year post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral immunology at Ohio State's College of Medicine.  Dr. Kennedy teaches Physiological Psychology, Psychopharmacology, and Introductory Psychology, and is co-advisor to Denison's newly-formed Neuroscience Concentration.


Research Interests

My research interests are focused in two general areas of behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology.  The first area is concerned with how animals' behavioral responses to stimulant drugs such as amphetamine might abe modified by previous drug experience.  This work has implications for models of “addiction,” which maintain that early experiences (such as stress) may make an organism “at risk” for later stimulant addiction.  Secondly, I am interested in the historical and cultural contributions to current drug policy, and the role of science versus popular culture in defining public policy regarding licit and illicit drugs.

Student Research and Collaborations

  • Perlman, J. & Kennedy, S. Sensitization to amphetamine in the developing rat pup. (submitted for presentation at the Midwestern Psychological Association Meeting, April, 1999)
  • Hersman, M.N., Freeman, J.E. & Kennedy, S. (May, 1997) Short-term chronic fluoxetine treatment increases wheel-running of rats in the activity-stress paradigm.  Midwestern Psychological Association Meeting, Chicago, IL.
  • Perry, L. & Kennedy, S. (November, 1996) Endocrine responses to a metabolic stressor in the developing rat: Role of litter and maternal influences.  International Society for Neuroimmunomodulation, Bethesda, MD.
  • Kennedy, S., Collier, A.C., Bilio, D. & Perry, L. (April, 1996) Comparative effects of social and metabolic stressors during development: Role of age and maternal influences following reunion.  Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society Meeting, Santa Monica, CA.
  • Kennedy, S. Williams, J., Geiman, E. & Leccese, A.P. ( November, 1995).  Modulation of amphetamine-induced stereotypy in preweanling rat pups by 2-deoxy-D-glucose.  Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.
  • Molnar, S.A. & Kennedy, S. 2-deoxy-D-glucose modulation of hypothalamic norepinephrine in the developing rat pup.  (November, 1994).  Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, Key Biscayne, FL.


  • Agha, S., Brooks, D. C., & Kennedy, S. (in preparation). College students' perceptions (and misperceptions) about alcohol and marijuana.
  • Kennedy, S. (in preparation). Psychopharmacology: An introduction to drugs and behavior. Wadsworth, Thomson Learning.
  • Kennedy, S. (in press).  The psychoneuroimmunology of AIDS:  Stress, personality factors and coping, interpersonal relationships and health outcomes.  In The Management of Stress and Anxiety in Medical Disorders (Mostovsky, D. & Barlow, D., Eds).
  • Kennedy, S. (1996).  Herpesvirus infections and psychoneuroimmunology.  In H. Friedman, et. al (Eds).  Psychoneuroimmunology, Stress and Infection.  Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
  • Kennedy, S. & Collier, A.C. (1994).  Stress-induced modulation of the immune response in the developing rat pup.  Physiology and Behavior, 56, 825-828.
  • Glaser, R., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Bonneau, R.H., Malarkey, W., Kennedy, S. & Hughes, J. (1992). Stress-induced modulation of the immune response to recombinant hepatitis B vaccine.  Psychosomatic Medicine, 54, 22-29.
  • Glaser, R., Pearson, G.R., Jones, J.F., Hillhouse, J., Kennedy, S., Mao, H. & Kiecolt-glaser, J.K. (1991).  Stress-related activation of Epstein-Barr Virus.  Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 5, 219-232.
  • Kennedy, S., Glaser, R. &Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (1990).  Human psychoneuroimmunology.  In J.T. Caccioppo & R.E. Petty (Eds).  Principles of Psychophysiology:  Physical, social and Inferential Elements.  New York:  Cambridge University Press.
  • Kennedy, S., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. & Glaser, R. (1990).  Social Support, stress, and the immune system.  In B.R. Sarason, I.G. Sarason & G.R. Pierce (Eds).  Social Support:  An Interactional View.  New York: Wiley.
  • Tomei, L.D., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Kennedy, S. & Glaser, R. (1990).  Psychological-stress and phorbol ester inhibition of radiation-induced apoptosis in human peripheral blood leukocytes.  Psychiatry Research, 33, 59-71.
  • Glaser, R., Kennedy, S., Lafuse, W.P., Bonneau, R.H., Speicher, C.E. & Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (1990).  Psychological stress-induced modulation of IL-2 receptor gene expression and IL-2 production in peripheral blood leukocytes.  Archives of General Psychiatry, 47, 707-712.
  • Kennedy, S., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. & Glaser, R. (1989).  Neuroimmunology of normal human behavior.  In E.J. Goetzl (Ed). Neuroimmune Networks: Physiology and  Diseases.  New York:  Alan Liss.
  • Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Kennedy, S., Malkoff, S., Speicher, C.E. & Glaser, R. (1988) Marital discord and immunity in males.  Psychosomatic Medicine, 50, 213-229.
  • Kennedy, S., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. & Glaser, R. (1988).  Immunological consequences of acute and chronic stressors:  Mediating role of interpersonal relationships.  British Journal of Medical Psychology, 61, 77-85.
  • Pellis, S.M., O?Brien, D.P., Pellis, V.C., Teitelbaum, P., Wolgin, D.L. & Kennedy, S. (1988).  Escalation of feline predation along a gradient from avoidance through “play” to “killing.”  Behavioral Neuroscience, 102, 760-777.
  • Alander, D.H., Servidio, S., Schallert, T. & Teitelbaum, P. (1983).  Possible vestibular involvement in behaviors induced by d-amphetamine.  Federation Proceedings, 1159.


  • Kennedy, S. Teaching brain-behavior relationships to undergraduates.  (March, 1994).  Midwest Institute for Teaching of Psychology, Chicago, IL
  • Collier, A.C., Kennedy, S., Glaser, R. & Hennessy, M.B. (July, 1990).  Developmental effects of mother-infant separation on immune functioning in rats.   International Society for Developmental Psychobiology Annual Meeting, London, England.
  • Glaser, R., Griffin, A., Bucci, D., Hillhouse, J., Kennedy, S., Kotur, M. & Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (November, 1989).  Psychological stress down-regulates IL-1 production in human macrophage/monocytes.  Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Dura, J.R., Kennedy, S., Speicher, C.E. & Glaser, R. (April, 1989).  Stress and immunity: Alzheimer family caregivers.  American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • Kennedy, S., Malarkey, W.B., Shaut, D. & Glaser, R. (November, 1988). Enhanced blasteogenesis of human lymphocytes by prolactin.  Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada.
  • Glaser, R., Tomei L.D., Kennedy, S. & Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (April 1988).  Cellular and molecular consequences of psychological stress.  Molecular Biology of Stress, Keystone, CO.
  • Kennedy, S., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Malkoff, S., Fisher, L., Speicher, C.E. & Glaser, R. (November, 1987).  Changes in herpesvirus latency in a stressed population: Implications for psychological mediation of immune responses.  Society for Neuroscience and Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.
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Andrea Lourie Lourie, Lourie

Visiting Assistant Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall
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Nestor Matthews dr. Matthews, Nestor Matthews

Nestor Matthews
Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Neuroscience, Psychology, Computational Science
Blair Knapp Hall
B.A., Psychology (1993), Fairleigh Dickinson University; M.Sc., Psychology (1995), Brown University; Ph.D., Psychology, (1997), Brown University; Post-doctoral Fellows, Neurobiology & Behavior, (2001), Columbia University.

Dr. Matthews joined the faculty at Denison in 2001 after completing a four-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Center for Neurobiology & Behavior at Columbia University.  He teaches Sensation & Perception, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, Research Methods, and Introduction to Psychology. Seminars he has offered include “Perceptual Learning and Brain Plasticity”, “The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music”, “Ruining Humor with Science”, “Neuroscience and the Liberal Arts”, and “NERDs Without Borders”. His research addresses issues in human vision and audition, with an emphasis on how these sensory systems improve with training.


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles With Denison Student Co-Authors

9. Matthews N, Welch, L., Festa, E.K., & Clement, A. (2013). Remapping Time Across Space. Journal of Vision. 13(8):2, 1-15. [PubMed]

8. Matthews N, Vawter, M, & Kelly, J, 2012. Right Hemifield Deficits in Judging Simultaneity: A Perceptual Learning Study. Journal of Vision. 12(2):1, 1-14. [PubMed]

7. Kelly J, & Matthews N, 2011. Attentional Oblique Effect When Judging Simultaneity. Journal of Vision. 11(6):10, 1-15. [PubMed]

6. Reardon K, Kelly J, & Matthews N, 2009. Bilateral Attentional Advantage on Elementary Visual Tasks. Vision Research. 49(7), 692-702. [PubMed]

5. Strong K, Kurosawa K, & Matthews N, 2006. Hastening Orientation Sensitivity. Journal of Vision. 6(5), 661-670. [PubMed]

4. Matthews N, Rojewski A, & Cox J, 2006. The time course of the oblique effect in orientation judgments. Journal of Vision. 5(3), 202-214. [PubMed]

3. Matthews N, & Allen J, 2005. The role of speed lines in subtle direction judgments. Vision Research. 45(12), 1629-1640. [PubMed]

2. Saffell T, & Matthews N, 2003. Task-specific perceptual learning on speed and direction discrimination. Vision Research. 43(12), 1365-1374. [PubMed]

1. Stanley R, & Matthews N, 2003.  Invalid cues impair auditory motion sensitivity. Perception. 32(6), 731-740. [PubMed]

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Dave Przybyla Przybyla, David Paul J. Przybyla

Associate Professor & Director of (Organizational Studies)
Faculty  |  Organizational Studies, Women’s Studies, Psychology
Burton D. Morgan Center
406; Blair Knapp Hall 404
B.A., SUNY; M.S., Purdue University; Ph.D., SUNY-Albany

Dr. Przybyla is a social-personality psychologist specializing in the study of human sexual behavior.  His research interests in this area include interpersonal attraction, the consequences of physical attractiveness, and contraceptive education.  Dr. Przybyla has been at Denison since 1985, and teaches a range of courses including social psychology, human sexuality, and industrial/organizational psychology. Dr. Przybyla also is the Director of Denison's Organizational Studies Program.


My major research program is in morphological characteristics and their consequences in the area of interpersonal attraction.  Broadly speaking, morphological characteristics may be conceptualized as physical attractiveness cues -- facial and otherwise.  A current primary focus of my work is cranial hair loss in men.  I am interested in continuing my work in this area and would be particularly interested in working with students who have expertise with Photoshop.  Research projects into other physical attractiveness cues are also of interest.

A second area of interest is that of gender and sexuality.  I am interested in comparing the experiences of men and women in areas ranging from contraception and abortion, to pregnancy and childbirth, to erotica and coercion, to sexual dysfunction. I would be interested in research extending either of the preceding content areas into the field of organizational behavior (e.g., romantic attraction in the workplace).

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Rebecca Rosenberg dr. Rosenberg, Rebecca D. Rosenberg

Rebecca Rosenberg
Assistant Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall
B.A., Brown University; M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University

Dr. Rosenberg, a developmental psychologist, joined the Denison faculty in 2011 after having completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Her research focuses on infant cognitive development, with an emphasis on infants’ object and number representations, and the flexibility and limitations of infants’ working memory. Dr. Rosenberg currently teaches Introductory Psychology as well as lecture and research courses in Infant and Child Development, and is the Director of Denison’s brand new Infant and Child Cognition Lab.

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Jill Uland Uland, Jill Uland

Jill Uland
Academic Administrative Assistant
Staff  |  Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall

You can contact her for information regarding faculty availability, course offerings, colloquia, requirements for achieving a psychology major or minor, how to chose a faculty advisor, and where to go and who to contact on campus for whatever your purpose.  She also maintains a resource library of information regarding preparation for a career and/or graduate study in psychology, an alumni career advisory network directory, and detailed information regarding field experience in psychology.

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Robert Weis dr. Weis, Robert Weis

Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Psychology
Blair Knapp Hall
A.B., University of Chicago; M.A., Ph.D., Northern Illinois University Psychology Licensure (Ohio)

I am a licensed clinical psychologist interested in developmental psychopathology and psychological assessment. I teach Introductory Psychology, Research Methods, Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Children with Special Needs, and Humanistic/Existential Psychology. My recent research concerns the neuropsychological assessment of learning disabilities in children and adults.

You can learn more about my research and clinical work on my personal website.

You can learn about my textbook, Introduction to Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology (2e), and access teaching/learning resources, at www.abnormalchildpsychology.org.

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