Alan Smerbeck Headshot

Alan Smerbeck

Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts

Office Hours
Fall 2019 - MWF 10:00-11:00 & M 12:30-1:30
Office Location

Alan Smerbeck

Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts


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


<p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>Dr. Smerbeck teaches courses such as Abnormal Psychology, Human Sexuality, and Psychological Testing.</p><p>Students who wish to become involved in research with Dr. Smerbeck should contact him at <a href=""></a>.</p>


Currently Teaching

3 Credits
This course examines the ways in which people deviate from typical development throughout the lifespan. The specific course content will vary depending on the expertise of the instructor, but might include topics like developmental disabilities, disorders of aging, disruptive behavior disorders, or the effects of maltreatment on development. This course is part of the developmental track for psychology majors.
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.
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.
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.
1 Credits
This professional development course is intended for students in the psychology major to prepare for their careers. Topics include identifying career interests and values, learning how to effectively search for co-ops and jobs, preparing a resume and CV, identifying appropriate graduate programs, preparing graduate school applications, interview skills, and professional communication. Students will use career-planning resources such as the Psychology Career Center on campus and the Psychology Career Center community site on myCourses. This course is required for students majoring in Psychology.

In the News

  • July 9, 2019

    Book cover titled: Gender Diversity: A Guide of Higher Education Faculty

    Gender diversity guide aimed at helping faculty learn more about gender

    Assistant Professor Alan Smerbeck is working with Q Center director Chris Hinesley on an updated edition of Gender Diversity: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty, which is set to come out in spring 2020. Originally published in 2016, the guide is meant to serve as a base-level reference book for learning about gender diversity, labels and pronouns, and the do’s and don’ts of talking about gender identities.

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.