Barbara Hofer

Professor of Psychology

 Mondays 2:00-3:30p; Thursdays 2:45-3:15p


Barbara Hofer is a Professor of Psychology at Middlebury College, and is an educational, developmental, and cultural psychologist. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology, with a certificate in Culture and Cognition; an Ed.M. in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and a B.A. in American Studies from the University of South Florida.

Her research interests focus on learning and psychosocial development, particularly in adolescence and the college years. Current work includes: 1) the development of personal epistemology (beliefs about knowledge and knowing), and how this interacts with learning strategies, motivation, cognition, and academic performance (research funded by the National Science Foundation); and 2) the development of self-regulation and autonomy during the college years. and how this is related to frequent contact with parents through emerging technology. She has also worked on cross-national studies of achievement, and research on the interrelationship of mind and culture, and spent two sabbaticals as a faculty fellow at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and the most recent one as a visiting faculty fellow at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen. Her research is done in collaboration with undergraduates, who have also been involved in presenting results at conferences and co-authoring papers.

Professor Hofer is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and on the editorial board of Educational Psychologist, Learning and Instruction, and the Journal of Metacognition and Learning. She is the editor, with Paul Pintrich, of Personal Epistemology: The Psychology of Beliefs about Knowledge and Knowing, and the author, with Abigail Sullivan Moore, of the iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1450 - FYSE 1450      


Fall 2015

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PSYC 0202 - Research Methods in Psychology      

Research Methods in Psychology
This course will provide students with an understanding of the research methodology used by psychologists. Students will learn to read psychological studies and other related research as informed consumers. Students will collect, analyze, and interpret data during lab assignments. They will also design an empirical study, review the related literature, and write a formal APA-style research proposal. (PSYC 0105 and PSYC 0201 or MATH 0116 or ECON 0210; not open to first-year students; open to psychology majors; neuroscience majors by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./1.5 hr. lab CW DED

Spring 2015

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PSYC 0216 - Adolescence      

This course is designed to provide an overview of adolescent development, including the biological, cognitive, and social transitions of individuals during this period of life. Development also takes place in context, and we will pay particular attention to the role of family, peer group, school, work, and culture. Students will read research literature, as well as cases, in order to examine the central psychological issues of this developmental period, including identity, autonomy, intimacy, sexuality, and achievement. (PSYC 0105; open to seniors by waiver only) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. SOC

Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

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PSYC 0327 - Educational Psychology      

Educational Psychology
The goal of this course is to introduce students to a psychological understanding of teaching and learning through an overview of principles, issues, and related research in educational psychology. The course will examine theories of learning, complex cognitive processes, cognitive and emotional development, motivation, and the application of these constructs to effective instruction, the design of optimum learning environments, assessment of student learning, and teaching in diverse classrooms. (PSYC 0105 and PSYC 0216 or PSYC 0225; not open to first-year students; open to psychology majors, and to education studies minors by waiver) 3 hrs. lect. SOC

Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015

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PSYC 0350 - Directed Research      

Directed Research in Psychology
Directed research provides opportunities for advanced students to become familiar with and participate in ongoing research projects under the direction of a faculty member. The student will first read background literature on the content area to be investigated and experimental methodologies to be used. Procedures involved in conducting psychological research will then be learned through firsthand experience. Potential activities include the design of research and the defining of conceptual variables and the gathering, analyzing, and interpretation of data. Finally, students will learn how to write technical articles in psychology by preparing a paper describing the project, using APA style. (Approval required; not open to first-year students) 3 hrs. lect.

Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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PSYC 0415 - Psychology&Emerging Technology      

Psychology and Emerging Technology
New media and technology, such as smart phones and social media, are changing how we think, relate, connect, learn, and work. In this course we will examine what recent psychological literature tells us about the pros and cons of our wired world. We will review research on the use of cell phones, social media, video games, and the internet, and look at topics such as attention, addiction, cyber-bullying, learning, brain and mind, and relationships with friends and family. In this course we will draw on multiple areas of psychology, including social, developmental, cognitive, educational, and neuroscience, and will undertake critical analysis and understanding of research in a new field. Students will also conduct empirical research on related topics of their choice. (Open to junior and senior psychology majors, others by approval) 3 hr. sem. SOC

Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014

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PSYC 0426 - Culture, Mind, and Education      

Senior Seminar: Culture, Mind, and Education
In this senior seminar we will examine the connections between mind and culture and the role schooling plays in this process. Among other topics, we will explore how individuals are socialized to cultural values and habits of mind, how cultural beliefs relate to learning and motivation, the relation between language and thought, and the psychological correlates of academic achievement across cultures. The course will focus on high contrast examples of "eastern" and "western" cultures, but students will be encouraged to bring their own cultural and educational interests to bear on the topic. Our goal is to develop a broader understanding of the role of culture in psychological processes, as well as to address implications of such psychological understanding for a global, multicultural society. (Open to junior and senior psychology majors, and to others by permission of the instructor.) 3 hrs. sem. CMP

Spring 2011

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PSYC 0500 - Advanced Research      

Advanced Research
A program of research arranged to meet the needs of advanced students majoring in psychology. (Approval required)

Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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PSYC 0700 - Senior Research      

Senior Research
A program of research arranged to meet the needs of advanced senior majors in psychology. (PSYC 0201 and PSYC 0202; Approval required)

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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PSYC 0701 - Senior Thesis Proposal      

Senior Thesis Proposal
Students hoping to be considered as candidates for departmental honors must enroll in PSYC 0701 under the sponsorship of a department faculty member and submit a formal, written research proposal to the department by 5 p.m. on the Wednesday during the final week of fall classes in their senior year. If the proposal is approved, the student will enroll in PSYC 0702 during the winter term and PSYC 0703 during the spring term of their senior year. (Feb graduates should consult with their advisors about the appropriate semester in which to begin a thesis.) (PSYC 0201 and PSYC 0202; Approval required)

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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PSYC 0702 - Senior Thesis Second Semester      

Senior Thesis Second Semester
Students whose honors thesis proposal (PSYC 0701) has been approved will collect, analyze, and interpret their data. This is the second semester of the 3-semester senior thesis. (PSYC 0201, PSYC 0202, and PSYC 0701; Approval required)

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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PSYC 0703 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis*
This is the third and final semester of the senior thesis. Students will finish analyzing, and interpreting their data. This process culminates in a written thesis to be submitted by 4 p.m. on the Monday BEFORE the final week of spring classes, a presentation, and an oral defense. The decision about awarding departmental honors will be made after the student submits the thesis. (PSYC 0201, PSYC 0202, and PSYC 0702; Approval required)

Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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Hofer, B. K & Moore, A. S. (2010).  The iConnected Parent: Staying close to your kids in college (and beyond) while letting them grow up. New York: Free Press.

Hofer, B. & Pintrich, P.  (2002).  Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Mahwah, NJ:Erlbaum.

Recent publications:

Sinatra, G. M., Kienhues, D., & Hofer, B. K. (2014). Addressing challenges to public understanding of science: Epistemic cognition, motivated reasoning, and conceptual change. Educational Psychologist, 49(2), 123-138.

Hofer, B. K. (2013). Motivation in the college classroom. In W. J. McKeachie and M. Svinicki (Eds.), McKeachie’s Teaching Tips.

Hofer, B. K. (2013). Emerging adulthood as a psychological passage. In K. Gridley (Ed.), Passing through: Portraits of emerging adults. Exhibit catalog. 

Hofer, B. K., & Bendixen, L. D. (2012), Personal epistemology: Theory, research, and future directions. In K. Harris, (Ed.), Handbook of educational psychology, pp. 225-254. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Hofer, B. K. (2011). Student-parent communication in the college years: Can students grow up on an electronic tether? The Bulletin of the Association of College Unions International, 79(2), pp. 36-41.

Hofer, B. K., *Lam, C., & *DeLisi, A. (2011). Understanding evolutionary theory: The role of epistemological development and beliefs. In R. Taylor and M. Ferrari (Eds.), Epistemology and science education: Understanding the evolution vs. intelligent design controversy. New York: Routledge.

Hofer, B. K. (2010). Personal epistemology, learning, and cultural context: Japan and the U.S. In M. Baxter Magolda, E. G. Creamer, and P. S. Meszaros (Eds.) Refining understanding of the development and assessment of self-authorship. Stylus.

Hofer, B. K. (2010). Personal epistemology in Asia: Burgeoning research and future directions. Asia Pacific Education Researcher, 19(1), 175-184.

*Wildenger, L. K., Hofer, B. K., *Burr, J. E. (2010). Epistemological development in very young knowers. In L. Bendixen and F. Haerle (Eds.), Personal epistemology in the classroom: Theory, research, and implications for practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hofer, B. K., & Sinatra, G. M. (2010). Epistemology, metacognition, and self-regulation: Musings on an emerging field. Metacognition and Learning. 5(1), p. 113- 120.

Hofer, B. (2010). Motivation in the college classroom. In W J. McKeachie and M. Svinicki, (Eds.) McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Hofer, B. K., *Souder, C., *Kennedy, E., *Fullman, F. E., & *Hurd, K. (2009). The electronic tether: Communication and parental monitoring during the college years. In M. K. Nelson and A. I. Garey, (Eds.). Who’s watching? Practices of surveillance in contemporary families. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Hofer, B. K. (2008). Epistemological development. In E. Anderman (Ed.), Psychology of classroom learning: An encyclopedia. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.

Hofer, B. K. (2008). The electronic tether: Parental regulation, self-regulation, and the role of technology in college transitions. Journal of the First-year Experience & Students In Transition, 20(2), 9-24.

Hofer, B. (2008). Personal epistemology and culture. In M. S. Khine (Ed.), Knowing, knowledge and beliefs: Epistemological studies across diverse cultures. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Media Coverage (sample)

CBS Early Show, August 10, 2010:http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6759758n&tag=cbsnewsVideoArea.0

USA Today, August 18, 2010

Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2010

Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 10, 2010

NYTimes “Room for Debate”

Vermont Edition:

New York Times

Washington Post

Boston Globe

Revista Veja (Brazil’s “Newsweek”)
http://veja.abril.com.br/150409/p_090.shtml <http://veja.abril.com.br/150409/p_090.shtml>

Department of Psychology

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753