Alan Smerbeck Headshot

Alan Smerbeck

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-3953
Office Hours
Spring 2019 - T/R 12:30-2:30
Office Location

Alan Smerbeck

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts

Education

BA, University of Rochester; Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo

Bio

Dr. Smerbeck earned a combined degree in school and counseling psychology from the University at Buffalo, SUNY, following a combined B.A. in psychology and linguistics from the University of Rochester. Before coming to work at RIT, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow for the Jacobs Neurological Institute in Buffalo, NY, blending clinical work in neuropsychology with research, including work on regression-based norms for neuropsychological tests and controlled trials of the efficacy of drugs to enhance cognition in multiple sclerosis patients.

Dr. Smerbeck's current research interests focus on individuals with autism spectrum disorders as well as the characteristics of psychological tests and measures (psychometrics). His past work has examined associated features commonly present in youth with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders, most notably unusual voice characteristics. He has also published on the comparability of alternate forms of a test of cognitive processing speed, and on alternate methods of analyzing scores from existing tests.

Dr. Smerbeck teaches courses such as Abnormal Psychology, Human Sexuality, and Psychological Testing.

Students who wish to become involved in research with Dr. Smerbeck should contact him at amsgss@rit.edu.

585-475-3953

Currently Teaching

PSYC-240
3 Credits
This course provides an overview of human sexuality through the lenses of biology and psychology. What causes sexual behavior and why do some individuals display different sexual behaviors than others? Human sexual physiology, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are highly diverse. Coursework will examine the ways in which human sexuality varies among individuals, across groups, and throughout the lifespan. Multiple explanations for sexual behavior will be considered, drawing from evolutionary psychology, learning theory, social psychology, and biology. Atypical and harmful sexual behaviors will be addressed as well. Throughout the course, students will learn how social science research techniques have been used to expand the field of human sexuality and how empirical inquiry can differentiate myths from facts.
PSYC-221
3 Credits
This course will serve as an introduction to the study of psychopathology and mental illness. The course examines the major categories of mental disorder not only from the descriptive point of view, but also in terms of the major theoretical explanations of the causes of disorder. The major treatment modalities also are covered.
PSYC-799
1 - 6 Credits
A program of study executed by an individual student with assistance and guidance by an instructor, outside a regular classroom setting. Guidelines for designing and gaining approval for an independent study are provided in College of Liberal Arts Policy I.D.
PSYC-421
3 Credits
This course is intended for students in the clinical track. This course is intended for students in the psychology major to develop knowledge of psychological testing theory, methods, and applications. Students will first learn about the history of psychological testing, types of tests, and uses of tests. Students will learn about test development and standardization procedures including item construction, sampling, norms, reliability, validity, administration procedures, and scoring. A brief review of relevant statistical concepts will be provided. Students will learn how to locate and evaluate available psychological tests. Examples of psychological tests from various areas of application will be reviewed and critiqued.
WGST-240
3 Credits
This course provides an overview of human sexuality through the lenses of biology and psychology. What causes sexual behavior and why do some individuals display different sexual behaviors than others? Human sexual physiology, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are highly diverse. Coursework will examine the ways in which human sexuality varies among individuals, across groups, and throughout the lifespan. Multiple explanations for sexual behavior will be considered, drawing from evolutionary psychology, learning theory, social psychology, and biology. Atypical and harmful sexual behaviors will be addressed as well. Throughout the course, students will learn how social science research techniques have been used to expand the field of human sexuality and how empirical inquiry can differentiate myths from facts.
PSYC-510
3 Credits
This course is intended for students in the psychology major to demonstrate experimental research expertise, while being guided by faculty advisors. The topic to be studied is up to the student, who must find a faculty advisor before signing up for the course. Students will be supervised by the advisor as they conduct their literature review, develop the research question or hypothesis, develop the study methodology and materials, construct all necessary IRB materials, run subjects, and analyze the results of their study. This course will culminate in an APA style paper and poster presentation reporting the results of the research. Because Senior Project is the culmination of a student’s scientific research learning experience in the psychology major, it is expected that the project will be somewhat novel, will extend the theoretical understanding of their previous work (or of the previous work of another researcher), and go well beyond any similar projects that they might have done in any of their previous courses.
PSYC-250
3 Credits
This course will serve as an introduction to research methods in psychology, with the goal of understanding research design, analysis and writing. Topics include examining the variety of methods used in psychology research, understanding research eth-ics, developing empirical hypotheses, designing experiments, understanding statistical concepts, interpreting results, and writing research and review papers in APA style. This is a required course for all psychology majors, and is restricted to students in the psychology program.

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
A, Smerbeck, et al. "Influence of Nationality on the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS)." The Clinical Neuropsychologist 32. 1 (2018): 54-62. Print.
A, Smerbeck. "The Survey of Favorite Interests and Activities: Assessing and Understanding Restricted Interests in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder." Autism. (2017): online ahead of print. Web.
S, Vanotti, et al. "BICAMS in the Argentine Population: Relationship with Clinical andSociodemographic Variables." Applied Neuropsychology: Adult. (2017): online ahead of print. Web.
Smerbeck, Audrey, et al. "Lisdexamphetamine Dimesylate Improves Processing Speed and Memory in Cognitively Impaired MS Patients: A Phase II Study." Journal of Neurology. (2013) Web.
Smerbeck, Audrey, et al. "Fatigue and Depression in Children with Demyelinating Disorders." Journal of Child Neurology 28. 6 (2013): 710-715. Print.
Book Chapter
Smerbeck, Audrey. "Psychopathology of Tic Disorders." Psychopathology of Childhood and Adolescence: A Neuropsychological Approach. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2013. 319-335. Print.
Invited Keynote/Presentation
Volker, M. A. and Audrey Smerbeck. "Determining Substantial Discrepancies between WJ-III Cog Normative Update Tests." 2013 NASP Convention. NASP. Seattle, WA. 12-15 Feb. 2013. Conference Presentation.