Faculty Research and Grants
Jason Arndt – Cognitive Psychology
Prof. Arndt’s research examines the processes that underlie human memory, including why memory errors occur, how memory errors can be limited, how taking a test enhances memory and how emotion influences memory. His lab currently is conducting research that seek to understand the representational bases of false memories that people claim to “recollect” and the types of memory processes that memory retrieval (taking a test) enhances. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and Vermont-EPSCoR.
Susan Baldridge – Social Psychology
Prof. Baldridge’s research focuses on the intersection of the study of gender, sexuality, and close relationships. Recent projects include work on how the interpersonal process model of intimacy can be applied to understanding college students’ sexual and romantic experiences, as well as a study of stereotype threat as an explanation for gender differences in visuospatial ability.
Shirley M. Collado – Clinical Psychology
Prof. Collado’s clinical and research interests focus on trauma, dissociative disorders, and coping responses among multicultural populations. Some of her work has specifically focused on the experience of racism and acculturative stress among Latina/os in the United States and the ways that this population copes with and responds to these experiences.
Marcia Collaer – Cognitive/Neuroscience
Prof. Collaer’s research interests focus on sex and individual differences in cognitive abilities, particularly visuospatial skills.Work in her lab investigates reasons why men and women, or individuals, perform differently on spatial tasks. Factors of interest include investigating how people ‘pay attention’ to their environment, the strategies they employ, the influence of pressure, the role of social influences such as stereotypes, and levels of steroid hormones including testosterone and cortisol. Her research has been funded by NASA.
Suzanne Gurland – Clinical Psychology
Prof. Gurland conducts research on interpersonal processes that help children thrive in their family, school, and other contexts. She has studied, for example, which of adults’ interpersonal styles result in greatest rapport with children; how children respond to parents’ ways of motivating them; and how children's beliefs about their teachers affect the teacher-student relationship. She is also interested, more generally, in the effects of interpersonal styles on motivation, creativity, and perspective-taking; and in the interfaces among clinical, developmental, and social psychology. Her research has been funded by the Spencer Foundation and by the Vermont Genetics Network.
Barbara Hofer – Developmental, Educational, and Cultural Psychology
Prof. Hofer’s research interests focus on learning and development, particularly in adolescence and emerging adulthood. Research interests include: 1) the development of personal epistemology (beliefs about knowledge and knowing) and how this relates to learning, motivation, cognition, and academic performance; 2) the development of self-regulation and autonomy; 3) psychology and emerging technology; 4) cross-cultural issues in education and psychology. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Developmental and Learning Sciences division, and through the Fidler Award from the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.
Matthew Kimble – Clinical Psychology
Prof. Kimble’s research interests focus on attentional processes in survivors of psychological trauma, particularly military veterans. He uses eye tracking and brain imaging to better understand difficulties with concentration and hypervigilance in trauma survivors. His research is currently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Kimery Levering – Cognitive Psychology
Prof. Levering’s research is focused on better understanding how people learn concepts. In particular, she is interested in the role that contrast plays in the development of category representations. For example, to what extent does a learner develop a different representation of dog if the concept is learned alongside examples of cats versus examples of giraffes? A substantial portion of her work involves interpreting behavioral phenomena in terms of specific predictions made by category learning models.
Michelle McCauley – Applied Psychology
Prof. McCauley’s research focuses on applying cognitive, social, and developmental theory to current problems across multiple domains. Since 1996, she has overseen the Children’s Memory Project Lab, which addresses questions around adults’ interviewing style and behaviors, particularly how the use of the Cognitive Interview affects the quality and quantity of children’s memory reports. In addition, she runs the Conservation Psychology Lab where her team investigates how variables such as social expectations, psychological need fulfillment, and childhood life experiences intervene between one’s environmental attitudes and actual behavior. Her research has been funded by VT EPSCoR, the Fahs Beck Fund, and the Vermont Genetics Network.
Mark Stefani – Neuroscience
Prof. Stefani’s current work focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms involved in cognitively demanding tasks that involve not only learning, but the ability to decide between competing responses. He is particularly interested in the role of the prefrontal cortex in memory, selective attention, response selection and inhibition, and strategy-shifting. These cognitive abilities are necessary for prioritizing goals and coordinating behavior across time, and are impaired in disorders such as schizophrenia, Parkinson disease, and addiction. His broader interests include behavioral economics, the neuroscience of ethical and religious behavior, and the role of neuroscience in society. His research has been funded by NIH and the Vermont Genetics Network (VGN).
Carlos Velez-Blasini – Personality
Prof. Velez-Blasini’s research focuses primarily on risk-taking behaviors by college students. In particular he is interested in alcohol consumption, its causes and consequences, as well as sexual risk-taking, including casual sex and protective behaviors. Recent work has examined possible avenues to reduce riskiness regarding the latter. His approach to these topics relies primarily on social-psychological, cognitive, and cognitive-behavioral models and interventions. His work has also examined personality dimensions of alcohol use and sexual risk-taking. He is also interested on these issues and on psychological processes of a more general nature in a cross-cultural context as it pertains to all U.S. minorities, especially Latinos.