News and Events
College of Liberal Arts
Senior Theses & Projects
Featuring Undergraduate Research from:
The Department of Psychology
The School of Communication
Museum Studies Program
Digital Humanities & Social Sciences Program
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Vignelli Center University Gallery
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Refreshments will be served!
Interpreters will be provided.
University News Services
Find out if you are a ‘supertaster’ during Imagine RIT
Students will also show visitors how their brains can be distracted and explain illusions
May 2, 2016
by Greg Livadas
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Visitors to this year’s Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 7 will get the chance to find out if they are a “supertaster,” a feature in roughly 25 percent of the population who have more taste buds, have a stronger sense of taste, can taste some things others can’t and may be a more picky eater.
It’s part of an exhibit, “Exploring Psychology: How the Mind Plays Tricks,” put on by psychology students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Liberal Arts. Their tests illustrate how the brain can process information.
They will also have a test to trick your brain from remembering the names of colors, show illusions and have giveaways for children, including coloring books and brain-shaped erasers.
“We’re trying to get kids interested in the brain and psychology,” said Assistant Professor Audrey Smerbeck in RIT’s psychology department.
For the supertaster test, visitors can put a small strip of paper on their tongues to see if they can taste PTC, short for phenylthiourea, which tastes very bitter to supertasters. The other 75 percent of the population tastes nothing. Women are more apt to be supertasters.
“We evolved to taste bitter things to protect us from eating poisonous objects,” Smerbeck said. “This helps us learn more about our sensory system, and how our tongue is used in different ways.”
In the other tests, visitors will be asked to read a list of words that spell various colors. The words themselves will be in various colors that don’t match the words they spell. The tester will be told to read just the color of the list of words, not the word itself.
“Your brain is distracted on what it focuses on,” Smerbeck said. Preschoolers do well in this test because most haven’t learned to read yet.
And visitors will be asked to look at a picture. They may see Marilyn Monroe, or they may see Albert Einstein, depending on what they focus on and how far away they are from the image.
“You focus on big things the farther you are from it, and smaller details the closer you are,” she said.
They will also have a sign-up sheet if visitors would like to participate in future research experiments.
Students involved in the exhibit include Victoria Lezette, of Greece, N.Y.; Amy Gill of Victor, N.Y.; Katey Sackett of Honeoye, N.Y.; John Casey of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Ciara Lutz of Webster, N.Y.
Look for them in the Recreation Zone in the Gordon Field House.
Psychology majors John Casey, left, and Katey Sackett find out if they are “supertasters” — if they can detect a bitter chemical on a paper strip (Sackett is). Their exhibit will be part of Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 7.
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Find other stories related to nandedaily, cola, liberalarts, liberalarts, imagineRIT.
Caroline DeLong, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts is being recognized as the 2015-2016 recipient for the Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award!
Congratulations to Lauren Harradine for being selected as the College of Liberal Arts May 2016 Student of the Month! Lauren was nominated by Dr. Caroline DeLong for her outstanding work on campus and in class this year.
Psychology majors Lauren Harradine, Jackie Lenta, and Katey Sackett received Legacy Leader Awards! The 2016 Women's Career Achievement Dinner was held April 25 to celebrate the accomplishments of women at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Ciara Lutz, a third-year psychology major, was honored with the 2016 Henry and Mary Kearse Distinguished Lecture and Student Writing Award. Faculty committees in each department within the College of Liberal Arts select student awardees from a variety of disciplines whose work embodies the ideals and standards of excellence, creative endeavor and scholarship. Congratulations Ciara!
Katey Sackett was honored as a 2015-16 Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar. Rochester Institute of Technology honored 117 students whose academic and personal achievements have made them Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars.
The awards, a bronze medallion, were given in ceremonies on April 7, 2016 to those students who have met the scholarship criteria – a minimum grade-point average of 3.85 out of 4.0; completion of more than two-thirds of the credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree and demonstrated community engagement, such as creative work, serve on student committees, civic activities, employment or independent research.
Brandon Dziedzic and Tessa Riley were inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honorary Society on May 18!
Each student picks a mentor who most influenced their development at RIT. Tessa picked Dr. DiFonzo and Brandon picked Dr. DeLong.
ALPHA SIGMA LAMBDA SOCIETY AWARD
Alpha Sigma Lambda Honorary Society
Alpha Sigma Lambda was founded in 1964 to honor students who represent the guiding principles of ASL: Activities, Scholarship and Leadership.
ASL exists to foster and encourage students to aspire to the goals of participation in activities, excellence in scholarship, and the practice of responsible leadership. ASL also serves as the Institute's formal recognition of those students who meet the standards and qualify for membership.
- Being an Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society member allows our senior student recognition for outstanding academic achievement and campus leadership involvement.
- They receive an Alpha Sigma Lambda medal to wear for graduation.
- They are invited to a special dinner hosted by the President honoring all recipients.
- Student honorees invite a mentor from faculty or staff as their guest, to be recognized as having a profound impact on their academic and leadership success.
- Student's name is engraved on a plaque in the Student Alumni Union joining over 600 RIT Alumni already honored.
In order to be eligible for nomination, the student must meet the following criteria: full time, matriculated senior in a four/five-year undergraduate degree program or dual degree program with a minimum of 3.4 cumulative GPA (beginning fall semester of their Senior year) and must graduate by the end of the following fall semester; an active member for one full year in at least two Institute activities, organizations, or committees; and demonstrated leadership position(s) - the quality of the leadership shall be determined by holding high elected or appointed office for the total term of that particular office (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Chairperson, Director, Captain (Co-Captain), or significant contributions to the Institute through active participation in a club or activity.
Nominees will be judged on the basis of scholarship, active participation and contributions in activities, and leadership in academic and co-curricular student activities. Both paid and voluntary activities will be considered. Service to the Institute community will also be considered in the selection process.
The Department of Psychology would like to congratulate Tessa Riley, this year's winner of the Kearse Award for achievement in student writing. The title of her winning paper is, "Rumor Transmission and Forgiveness Culture in an Organizational Setting." Tessa wrote her paper for the course, Research Methods 3, taught by Dr. Caroline DeLong.
The Department of Psychology would like to congratulate Brandon Dziedzic and Courtney Ullger! In recognition for their excellence in academic achievement, they have been selected as recipients of the 2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Scholarship Award.
The Department of Psychology is proud to announce that our students, Stephanie Barbato and Christina Burnett, are winners of The 2015 RIT Leadership Award. Congratulations Stephanie and Christina for all of your accomplishments!
Congratulations to Dr. Caroline DeLong, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. Dr. DeLong is a recipient of this year's Paul A. and Francena L. Miller Faculty Fellowship Award for her research surrounding object and numerical discrimination in goldfish.
College of Liberal Arts Poster Session - Senior Theses & Projects
Featuring Undergraduate Research from The Department of Psychology & The Department of Communication
December 16, 2014
University Gallery- Vignelli Center
11:00am – 1:00pm
Refreshments will be served!
Stephanie Barbato and Brandon Dziedzic presented posters at the RIT Undergraduate Research Symposium on August 8, 2014. Stephanie and Brandon were co-op students in Dr. Caroline DeLong's Comparative Cognition and Perception Lab. Stephanie's research was on Training Goldfish to Discriminate Between Numbers and Brandon's research was on Discrimination of Simulated Dolphin Whistles by Human Listeners.
Congratulations to Dr. Kirsten Condry, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, who has received the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching for the 2013-14 academic year! This award is one of RIT's most significant and it is a true testament to Dr. Condry's exceptional abilities in the classroom.
Prior to taking Scientific Writing (Research Methods 1) I thought Psychology was a matter of rote memorization, but between that class and the track classes that followed I began to understand the hard work, dedication, and perseverance that were necessary in a psychology field. I am happy to say that I am planning to pursue a PhD in psychology and that without the encouragement and constant feedback from professors in the Psychology Department I wouldn't have found my true passion: Comparative Cognition. What I would say to any perspective student would be to follow your heart and if psychology interests you, pursue it! The professors at RIT are always willing to teach you more or provide ways to become more involved, such as through research. Take advantage of the fantastic faculty and staff of the RIT Psychology Department and expand your horizons.
Graduated May 2013
The psychology classes at RIT really helped me a lot in my job as a full time zoo keeper at Seneca Park Zoo. I am a biology bachelor degree graduate and chose psychology as my concentration. I took behavior modification, childhood psychology, social psychology, and abnormal psychology. The last two I took because they sounded interesting, but I wanted to take childhood psychology because I knew it would help me with my current job at an after school care, and I really wanted to take behavior modification because I knew that it would help me if I got into a job involving animal care. When I got interviewed for my job at the zoo they asked me if I knew what shaping, conditioning, and reinforcement was. Of course I knew and I impressed my interviewers when I told them I took the behavior modification class. I'm currently using what I've learned in class by training and using positive reinforcement on the zoo's river otters, a spider monkey, and did some minor training with a few other animals. I have RIT to thank for offering that wonderful class as well as the other exciting psych classes I had taken.
Catina (Link) Wright
RIT graduate 2004
Introducing PSI Day Friday
Date: Friday, September 27, 2013
Time: 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Location: COLA Student Lounge, 01-2383
Please join PSS and our Peer Mentors for a free pizza lunch.
Department of Psychology students & faculty welcome.
For more information please contact:
Experimental & School Psychology Programs Graduate Orientation Schedule
Monday, August 19, 2013
8:00 – 8:45am – Continental Breakfast, 2383 Eastman Hall
9:00 – 9:50am – Welcome from Dean James Winebrake/Graduate Student Panel, 2000 Eastman Hall
10:00 - 10:50am – Program Orientation: School Psychology, 2000 Eastman Hall
10:00 - 10:50am – Program Orientation: Engineering Psychology, 2304 Eastman Hall
11:00 - 11:50am – Library Tour and Bibliography Laboratory Exercise, Wallace Memorial Library & School Psychology; Experimental Psychology
12:00 - 1:00pm – Lunch in College of Liberal Arts Commons, 1251 Liberal Arts Hall
College of Liberal Arts Academic Day (Freshman)
Thursday, August 22, 2013
9:00-10:30am – College of Liberal Arts Student Services Advising, Liberal Arts Hall A205
10:30-12:00pm – Department of Psychology Program Advising, 2383 Eastman Hall
12:00 - 1:00pm – College Picnic, Outside Liberal Arts Hall
1:00 - 2:30pm – College of Liberal Arts twitter activity/scavenger hunt, Liberal Arts Hall A205
2:30 - 4:00pm – Department of Psychology Activity, TBD
College of Liberal Arts Transfer Student Orientation
Friday, August 23, 2013
1:00pm - 2:00pm: Transfer Welcome, liberal Arts Hall A205
2:00pm - 3:00pm: CLA Transfer Program Advising, George Eastman Hall 2383
3:00pm - 4:00pm: Transfer Student Reception, McKenzie Commons-Liberal Arts Hall 1251
Your dreams are talking to you, are you listening? Dream Professor is your app for that! Dream Professor will analyze your dreams, daydreams, fantasies and even your thoughts! This program does not use some standard cookbook dream dictionary, which just looks up canned meanings. This means that the analysis consists of simple, brief insights, not dictionary-like explanations. These insights are meant to trigger your subconscious into expanding these insights into a full-blown understanding of what your dream is trying to tell you.
Dr. Harnish is a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, and has spent more than 30 years studying dreams, and experimenting with dream analysis programs.
Student Spotlight: K. Tyler Wilcox
Year: Class of 2013 graduate
Capstone project: For his senior project, Tyler designed a study to examine the impact of relaxation on memory for emotion words. In particular, he was interested in whether tasks like sitting and walking mindfulness meditation, mindful yoga, and passive relaxation would affect people’s emotional memory for valenced words, as well as their mindfulness and mood. One group of “expert” participants, with at least 3 months of experience in these relaxation techniques, were compared to a “novice” group of inexperienced participants, who were trained during the study in one of the four relaxation techniques. The results showed that, contrary to expectations, training technique did not affect recall for positive, negative, or neutral words. Overall mindfulness and decentering were significantly higher after training for all groups and techniques. And for the “expert” group, positive affect was significantly higher after relaxation training. These results suggest that engaging in just 10 minutes of meditation, yoga, or relaxation does not affect emotional memory, but can affect mindfulness.
Future career plans: Tyler is entering the Ph.D. program in Social Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University in August 2013, to work with Dr. Kirk Warren Brown researching the role of mindfulness in social relationships and neurological responses to social stimuli.
Student Spotlight: Kristen Cummings
Year: Class of 2013 graduate
Favorite Part of Program: The diversity of the research interests of the faculty and the opportunities to get involved in research.
Capstone project: For her senior project, Kristen researched an idea that is highly relevant to her future career in higher education: Why do students get involved in campus activities and are those activities are actually fun and useful? Students join clubs and activities during their college years in order to receive particular benefits in their personal, social, and professional lives. The goal of Kristen’s study was to examine whether being involved in clubs and activities on campus helps students gain valuable skills and reach higher levels of success and satisfaction. In the study, students filled out an extensive survey about their involvement in campus activities, their success (in terms of grades and GPA), and their satisfaction with RIT and with the activities they chose. Based on earlier research, Kristen hypothesized that students who were highly involved would have higher success and be more satisfied with their college experience than students who were less involved. Although the trend was in the predicted direction, the results were not significant: Most students reported feeling fairly satisfied with RIT, while involvement varied widely. In general, students reported they did receive the skills and benefits they had sought from campus involvement, but often at lower levels than they had originally hoped.
Future career plans: Kristen will begin the Masters of Higher Education Administration program at the University of Arizona in August, 2013
Dr. Caroline DeLong co-chaired a special session on June 5 at the 21st International Congress on Acoustics that was held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Her special session was called “Perceiving Objects” and her co-chair was Dr. Eduardo Mercado from the University at Buffalo. Dr. DeLong also presented a talk titled “Recognizing Objects from Multiple Orientations Using Dolphin Echoes.” Her co-authors included two RIT alumnae: Amanda Heberle (class of 2012) and Kayla Mata (class of 2013). Dr. DeLong was co-author on a talk called “Exploring the Capacity of Neural Networks to Recognize Objects From Dolphin Echoes Across Multiple Orientations” which was presented by Matthew Wisniewski (a graduate student at UB). Both papers are published in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (http://asadl.org/poma/).
Ashlynn Keller & Kristen Cummings inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honorary Society
May 13, 2013
On May 13, 2013 Ashlynn Keller and Kristen Cummings from the Department of Psychology were inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honorary Society. To get in, they needed a GPA of 3.4 or better plus they needed to have demonstrated outstanding service to the RIT community through involvement in activities at RIT. They received a medal and certificate. Dr. Destler attended the ceremony. Kirsten Condry and I were in attendance as their chosen mentors at the dinner. Out of 43 recipients from across the entire institution this year, TWO were from Psychology!!! I am proud of our students!
Written by Dr. Caroline DeLong
Dr. Nicholas DiFonzo featured in “Every day is April Fool’s Day on the Internet”, by Herb Weisbaum
April 1, 2013
Could it be? Will Bill Gates really give you $5,000 for sharing a link on Facebook?
Of course not. The email is bogus and so is the picture of Gates holding a sign that purportedly shows him making that promise.
This is just one of an ever-growing collection of email hoaxes that fill in-bins across the world. They’re not scams – no one is trying to steal your money or personal information – they’re just fiction.
Why do so many people accept the bogus messages as fact and forward to others?
“It’s entertaining and it’s socially bonding; something fun that we can share together,” explained Nicholas DiFonzo, professor of psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology and author of The Water Cooler Effect. “The idea of double-checking to make sure that these things are true takes work. And even if it’s not true, it doesn’t seem to hurt anybody.”
Dr. Robert Bowen featured in Reporter Online article “Cuddling”, by Amanda Imperial
February 15, 2013
The blistering cold wind hits your hands like daggers; you forgot your gloves, and are left without cover. Your partner reaches out to grab your hand, noticing how cold you must be. You see how your hands fit perfectly together. Later, the cold has you two cuddling together in the embrace of a blanket. You lay there, their back forming perfectly to your front, fitting together comfortably, and all you feel is pure bliss.
Various emotions can be painted on a canvas through the type of touch that sends shockwaves through our bodies. The sensation of touch has granted us benefits since birth both in our development and psychologically. The most personal and intimate form of touch is cuddling, and yet today, cuddling is generally reserved for romantic pairs of people.
The Benefits of Cuddling
Cuddling is more than just an act of physical emotion. According to Dr. Robert Bowen, a lecturer who specializes in the psychology of infant and child development at RIT, the act of touch is absolutely vital to the development of an infant. He even goes as far as to say that it would be detrimental to an infant to not feel the touch of a mother.