Matthew Kimble is a former Chair and current Professor of Psychology at Middlebury College. He arrived at Middlebury in 2004 after six years at the Veteran Administration Hospital in Boston and two years teaching at the University of Wales, Bangor (GB). He received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1991 and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Boston University 1996.
His research interests focus on attentional processes in survivors of psychological trauma, particularly military veterans. He uses eye tracking and event related potentials to better understand difficulties with expectancy and hypervigilance in trauma survivors. He is published a number of articles on the topic, most recently one that looks at EEG responses to threatening sentences and has presented his work at national and international conferences. More recently his work has included projects on meaning making, resilience, and trigger warnings.
Professor Kimble teaches a range of courses in the Psychology Department including Introduction to Psychology, Research Methods, Psychological Disorders, Psychological Trauma, and Happiness.
Students enrolled in NSCI 0500 complete individual research projects involving laboratory or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and approved in advance by a NSCI faculty advisor. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in NSCI 0700. (Approval required)
This course is for senior NSCI majors who plan to conduct one or more semesters of independent research, or who plan to complete preparatory work toward a senior thesis, such as researching and writing a thesis proposal as well as, if appropriate, collecting data that will form the basis for a senior thesis. Senior NSCI majors who plan to complete a senior thesis should register initially for NSCI 0700. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (Approval required, open to seniors only)
Senior NSCI majors who have completed one or more terms of NSCI 0700, who have a GPA of 3.3 in their major courses, and who plan to complete a senior thesis should register for NSCI 0701 for the final semester of the senior thesis process. Students enrolled in NSCI 0701 write a thesis, give a public presentation of their research, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least two Neuroscience faculty members. Faculty may recommend High honors in Neuroscience after considering the quality of these components of a student’s thesis and the student’s GPA in major courses. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (NSCI 0700, Approval required)
Introduction to Psychology
This course will provide a general introduction to the field of psychology. The most central and important theories, concepts, findings, controversies, and applications in the following areas will be considered: biological bases of behavior, learning, perception, thinking, development, personality, psychological disorders, and social behavior. (Open to Juniors and Seniors by waiver only) 3 hrs lect./1 hr. disc.
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 and neuroscience majors) 3 hrs. lect./1.5 hr. lab
What makes an individual “abnormal”? Under what circumstances do mental health professionals classify emotions, thoughts, or behaviors as “disordered”? In this course, we will explore these questions with attention to their historical, theoretical, ethical, and diagnostic implications. We will investigate various classes of disorders, like anxiety, mood, and psychotic disorders, with a focus on their causes and treatments. Throughout, we will aim to appreciate the complexities and uncertainties surrounding diagnosis, and to recognize and challenge common assumptions about psychological disorders. In addition to lecture, the course will include discussions of current and controversial topics, and occasional demonstrations, analysis of clinical case material, and/or role plays. (PSYC 0105; open to seniors by waiver only) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.
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.
Adversity and challenge are part of the human condition. Why is it that some individuals struggle in the face of difficulty and others seem to rise to the occasion? What are the psychological factors that play a role in these very different outcomes? The goal of this course is to have students examine and present on self-chosen topics of interest that expand our understanding of resilience and interpersonal growth during adversity. An emphasis will be placed on providing an integrated model of resilience that includes biological, developmental, cultural, and social perspectives. (Open to Psychology and Neuroscience majors) 3 hrs. sem.
A program of research arranged to meet the needs of advanced students majoring in psychology. (Approval required)
A program of research arranged to meet the needs of advanced senior majors in psychology. (PSYC 0201 and PSYC 0202; Approval required)
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)
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)
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)
Select Publications since 2010
Kimble, M. Flack, W., Koide, J.,* Bennion, K., Brenneman, M., & Meyersburg, C. (2021). Students Reactions to Emotional Material in Literature: Implications for Trigger Warnings. PlosOne. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247579
Kimble, M. O., & Hyatt, A. S*. (2019). Vigilance/avoidance to expected and presented stimuli in trauma survivors: An eye-tracking study. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. https://doi.org/10.1080/15299732.2019.1572041.
Kimble, M., Sripad, A.*, Fowler, R.*, Sobolewski, S.*, & Fleming, K. (2018). Negative world views after trauma. Neuropphysiological evidence for negative expectations. Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 10(5), 576–584. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000324
Kimble, M., Kuvalanka, K.,* Mellen, E.,* & Nowak, C.* (revise and resubmit). Civilian Perceptions of Returning Veterans and its Impact on Hiring: Evidence for Stereotype but not Discrimination. Armed Forces and Society.
Schreger, C*., & Kimble, M. (2017). Assessing civilian perceptions of combat veterans: An IAT study. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(Suppl 1), 12–18. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000191
Flack, W., Kimble, M.O., Campbell, B.,* Hopper, A.*, Peterca, O,* Heller, E.* (2015). Sexual Assault Victimization Among Female Undergraduates During Study Abroad: A Single Campus Survey. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(20), 3453–3466. DOI: 10.1177/0886260514563833.
Kimble, M.O., Boxwala, M.,* Bean, W.,* Maletsky, K.,* Halper, J.,* Spollen, K.,* Fleming, K. (2014). The impact of hypervigilance: Evidence for a forward feedback loop. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 28, 241-245.
Ghisi, M., Novara, C., Buodo, G., Kimble, M., Scozzari, S., Di Natale, A., Sanavio, E, & Palomba, D. (2013). Psychological Distress and Posttraumatic Symptoms Following Occupational Accidents. Behavioral Sciences, 3, 587-600.
Kimble, M.O., Fleming, K., & Bennion, K.* (2013). Contributors to Hypervigilance in a Military and Civilian Sample. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(8), 1672-1692.
Kimble, M.O., Batterink, L.*, Marks, L.*, Ross, C.*, & Fleming, K. (2012). Negative expectancies in PTSD: Neurophysiological (N400) and behavioral evidence. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 36, 849-855.
Kimble, M.O., Flack, W.F., Burbridge, E*. (2012). Study abroad increases risk for sexual assault in female undergraduates: A Preliminary Report. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy. doi: 10.1037/a0029608.
Kimble, M.O., Fleming, K., & Bandy, C. (2010). P300 to target and novel stimuli in trauma survivors. Psychiatry Research, 178, 501–506.
Kimble, M.O., Fleming, K., Bandy, C., Kim, J.*, & Zambetti, A*. (2010). Eye tracking and visual attention to traumatic stimuli in veterans of the Iraq War. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24(3), 293-299.
Fleming, K., Bandy, C., & Kimble, M. (2010). Decisions to shoot in a weapon identification task: The influence of cultural stereotypes and perceived threat on false positive errors. Social Neuroscience, 5(2), 201-220.
Fall 2021 Visiting Professor Position. Danish Institute for Study Abroad. Intended collaborative research as well as the development of a course Resilience” for the Fall of 2021 in Copenhagen Denmark. Cancelled due to COVID-19.
Spring 2021 Fulbright Award. Awarded a Fulbright as Distinguished Chair of Social Sciences at Masaryk University, Czech Republic. Award Declined due COVID-19.
2018-2022 An electrophysiological predictor of SSRI response in Veterans with PTSD. Collaborator on Veterans Administration Merit Review Grant. Total Directs Costs: $599,531.
2015-2020 ERP and eye tracking studies of expectancy bias in trauma survivors. Principal Investigator for a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) AREA grant. Total Direct Costs: $232,794.00
2011-2014 ERP and eye tracking studies of expectancy bias in trauma survivors. Principal Investigator for a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) AREA grant. Total Direct Costs: $236,582.00
2010 Finalist: Vermont Campus Contact, Award for Excellence in Community-Based Teaching.
2009-2011 Vigilance and threat perception in military veterans and cadets. Unpaid Collaborator with Norwich University on a Vermont Genetics Network Grant (A National Center for Research Resources Grant from NIH). Total Direct Costs: $150,000.00
2008-2009 Nominated: Perkins Teaching Award
2008-2010 Psychophysiological correlates of attention in trauma survivors. Principal Investigator for a National Institute of Mental Health. (NIMH) AREA grant. Total Direct Costs: $135,000.
2008-2009 Perceptions of threat in military veterans and cadets. Principal Investigator for a Vermont Genetics Network Grant (A National Center for Research Resources Grant from NIH). Total Direct Costs: $70,000.00
2007-2008 Perceptions of threat in military cadets using ERPs and eye tracking. Principal Investigator for a Vermont Genetics Network Grant (A National Center for Research Resources Grant from NIH). Total Direct Costs: $25,000.00
2005-2006 Nominated: Marjorie Lamberti Faculty Appreciation Award.
2005-2006 Unconscious fear effects on decision making. Principal Investigator for a Vermont Genetics Network Grant (A National Center for Research Resources Grant from NIH). Total Direct Costs: $10,290.
2003-2005 CBT treatment of PTSD in the Seriously Mentally Ill. Co- investigator for an NIMH R21 Grant. Total Direct Costs: $300,000.
1999-2003 Studies of Sustained and Selective Attention in PTSD. Principal Investigator for an NIMH FIRST Award. Total Direct Costs: $350,000.
1999-2002 Factors Associated with Attentional Disturbance in PTSD. Principal Investigator for the Department of Veteran Affairs Merit Review Entry Program. Direct Cost: $150,000.00.
1998-2001 Effects of combat stress on the structure and function of the hippocampus. Coinvestigator for a collaborative Veterans Administration/Department of Defense grant. Total Direct Cost=$597,800.
1994-1996 An Electrophysiological and Neuropsychological Study of Semantic Processing in First-degree Relatives of Individuals with Schizophrenia.” Principal Investigator for an NIMH National Research Service Award. Mentor: Michael J. Lyons, Ph.D. Total Direct Costs: $13,000.