The Online Psychology Department Newsletter

April 2007 * Volume 7, Issue 4

Dates to remember:

Sigma Xi -- Friday, May 4

Honors Day -- Saturday, May 5

Bowling with the Profs - Monday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Psychology Department Spring Symposium -- Friday May 11

Psychology Department Spring Gathering -- Friday, May 11

Spring Psychology Symposium

The Spring Psychology Department Symposium will take place on Friday, May 11. Symposiums are planned near the conclusion of fall and spring semesters and provide opportunities for Gustavus students to become acquainted with research conducted in the psychology department that semester. Students enrolled in the Methods course as well as those completing research apprenticeships this semester will display poster presentations on Friday, May 11 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. in the halls of the psychology department outside SSC 26, 27, and 28. Senior Psychology Honors students Jo Ellison, Rachel Elvebak, Samantha Haseltine and Crystal Smith will deliver fifteen minute oral presentations describing their research beginning at 4:00 p.m. in SSC 28.
Spring Psychology Gathering

Dick and Kathie Martin have offered to host the annual spring gathering for psychology majors and faculty at their home (1019 Madison Street, St. Peter) on Friday, May 11th at 5:30 p.m. RSVP to Lee Sande (ext 7413 or email lsande@gustavus.edu) by Friday, May 4 so we can plan accordingly. Students who need rides can meet before 5:30 p.m. in the lower level SSC hallway.

Psychology Honors

My name is Crystal Smith, and I am a senior Honors Psychology major and Neuroscience minor. This year I have been hard at work on my Honors thesis that I will present at the MidBrains Neuroscience Conference and the Gustavus Psychology Symposium. My study is looking at the similarities and differences between change blindness and change deafness. If you have taken Cognitive Psychology you have probably heard about change blindness. It is a phenomenon that occurs when people fail to notice large changes in a visual scene when their attention is being drawn to something else. Similarly, change deafness is the failure to detect large changes in an auditory message. Research on Change Deafness has only surfaced within the last few years, and there is still much to learn.

In addition to working on my Honors thesis I enjoy planning and coordinating activities for psychology students in my role as Psi Chi Co-President. Some of these activities include gingerbread house making, relay for life, and bowling with the professors. Bowling with the professors takes place on May 7th (7:00 pm) at Bowlero Lanes. We welcome you to come and join us get to know our professors outside of the classroom at this fun event.

When I am not working on my honor’s thesis or planning events for Psi Chi you can find me working as a server at Whiskey River or volunteering as a sexual assault advocate for Crime Victim Services, Inc.

I hope you all enjoy your last few weeks of the school year!!

2006/2007 Conference Presentations:

Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference (MUPC) 2007, Saturday April 21 at St. Olaf College in Northfield:

  • The effects of reverberation, age, and noise level on vowel perception. Rachel Elvebak
  • False memories: An interaction between suggestive interview technique and memory test. Katie Thomas and Stacey Johnson
  • Maternal support during a joint-memory task. Sarah E. Erickson and Carly A. Ernst
  • Important college memories: An exploration of content and relation to identity development. Stephanie Johnson, Stacy Rivers and Kimberly Maurelli
  • Advice preferences in college problems. Taylor Olson, Jessica Woulfe and Christa Saeger

Midbrains 2007, Saturday, April 28 at Macalester College in St. Paul:

  • Change blindness vs. change deafness: The comparison of two sensory phenomena. Crystal Smith
  • The effects of reverberation, age, and noise level on vowel perception. Rachel Elvebak
  • The role of metalloproteases in therapeutic drug design. Holly Cooper, Allison Diercks, Sarah Hackenmueller and Kristine McGlennen
  • Perception of age in human faces. Brandon Baartman
  • Teaching elementary-level students: A capstone experience. Rachel Elvebak, Sara Olmanson, Ross Puffer, Anne Sitorius and Crystal Smith
  • Frequency-dependent auditory adaptation in Anura. Asitha Jayawardena
Psi Chi Induction of New Members:

Psi Chi hosted its annual induction ceremony on Thursday April 19th. It was held in the St. Peter banquet room at 7:00 p.m. with a brief program followed by refreshments. Dr. Janine Wotton, Psi Chi advisor, addressed the new members as did the current Psi Chi officers. Crystal Smith recapped what Psi Chi had accomplished this year and Taylor Olson offered goals for next year. The ceremony ended with a group picture of the new inductees.

New members are Emily Allen, Holly Andersen, Kelly Anderson, Nathan Bower, Kevin Burke-Rook, Erica Dobson, Sarah Erickson, Emma Espel, Naomi Garbisch, Christine Grotjohn, Samantha Haseltine, Sarah Hudson, Melissa Jones, Krista Koenen, Erin Larson, Kristine McGlennen, Sarah McPherson, Hawine Merdasa, Katie Nelson, Krista Peterson, Jennifer Pelowski, Andrew Pothen, Samantha Pugh, Greta Rittenhouse, Garrett Rorem, Alyssa Schlager, Stacy Sletten, Elizabeth Stauffer, Yoshikazu Suzuki, Katie Thomas, Jennifer Stout, Valerie Wilber, Jessica Woulfe.

John S. Kendall Lecture Series Presentation

by Brittney Lovdahl

Dr. Morton Ann Gernsbacher, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and President of the Association of Psychological Scientists continued the illustrious tradition of the John S. Kendall Lecture Series on April 12th. Gernsbacher, after being introduced by Professor Rudek, gave a compelling presentation to a full Wallenberg Auditorium about autism, entitled “The Science of Autism: Beyond the Myths and Misconceptions”.

As her title suggests Gernsbacher focused on some of the inaccurate views mainstream society has of autistic people and much of the research that is being misrepresented. For example, Gernsbacher reported that an autistic child is just as securely attached to their mother as their peers. Her main focus was on empirical data that has been “misrepresented over and over again in regards to autistic people to reinforce stereotypes”. She cited many examples of studies conducted with conclusions that reinforced autistic stereotypes not fully supported by their data.

She also spoke on how the mass media has been reporting a huge rise in cases of autism, when in reality the diagnosing procedure has been changed and broadened over the years so that more people are getting the help they need. Through out, Dr. Gernsbacher reiterated the fact that this is not a bad thing, but a positive as it means less people are going through life without any assistance.

Her passion for the topic was clear right from the start. She admitted freely that this was something she cared deeply about as her son has autism and has inspired her to become more involved. At the end of the lecture she drove home that fact that autism is something that is still being understood and if the general public tries to understand autistic people and their strengths as much as we have tried to get them to fit into the mainstream mold, life could be much more rich for everyone.

After the lecture the floor was opened to the audience to ask a few questions and they were also given the opportunity to talk to her after the lecture at a small reception. Dr. Gernsbacher stayed another day to visit classes to continue her teaching.

[Brittney Lovdahl '08 is a psychology and communications double major and a student assistant in the Department of Psychology. ]

Department Resources Available

Several resources are available for you to browse in the department's resource center (SSC 04).

NEW ARRIVAL: 2007 APA Graduate Study in Psychology -- available for two-day check-out (contact Lee in SSC 04)

NEW ARRIVAL: "Life After Graduate School in Psychology: Insider's Advice from New Psychologists" (2005). Morgan, R.D., Kuther, T.L., Habben, C.J. Psychology Press

AUDIO TAPES: "Get Psyched! Successful Strategies for Getting Into Graduate School In Psychology" is an audio tape training series available for checkout in the department. Dr. Greg Neimeyer, Professor of Psychology and Graduate Coordinator at the University of Florida has put together these six topics:

1) A Vital Overview
2) 10 Critical Things You need to Know
3) Distinguing Clinical and Counseling
4) Personal Statements, Resumes
5) Effective Interviewing
6) Expert Advice: Questions and Answers
Planning on asking faculty for a reference letter? Prepare by providing them with the information they will need: http://gustavus.edu/academics/psychology/referenceletter.php

Career Search? You may want to check out the APA website : http://psyccareers.apa.org/

Membership Opportunities

APA (American Psychological Association) -- APA Website: http://members.apa.org

MPA (Minnesota Psychological Association) --MPA Website: http://mnpsych.org/
research beginning at 4:00 PM in SSC 28.

Please send questions, suggestions, comments to the Emil's Epilogue editor, Lee Sande, Psychology Admin Assistant lsande@gustavus.edu