Alan Smerbeck Headshot

Alan Smerbeck

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-3953
Office Location

Alan Smerbeck

Associate 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

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
Taylor, Janelle M., et al. "Depression, Anxiety, and Hyperactivity in Youth with HFASDD: A Replication and Extension of Symptom Level Differences in Self-Report Versus Parent Report." Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 50. 7 (2020): 2424-2438. Print.
Satchidanand, Nikhil, et al. "Dalfampridine Benefits Ambulation but not Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis." Multiple Sclerosis 26. 1 (2020): 91-98. Print.
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.

Currently Teaching

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-102
1 - 3 Credits
This course focuses on current issues and subfields in the field of psychology that are not distinctly incorporated in the established Psychology course offerings at an introductory level. This course concentrates on student discussion and interaction related to required readings. Students may repeat the course but may not repeat the topic.
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-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-301
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.
PSYC-460
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.
PSYC-752
3 Credits
The Thesis courses will vary widely but will fulfill the work plan agreed by the student and the adviser. The guiding principles of the Thesis Proposal course are to initiate thesis research including selecting a thesis advisor, choosing and defining a topic, surveying relevant research literature, and planning the research. To complete the course, the student will successfully submit and defend a thesis proposal, which is a detailed and complete plan of the thesis research. The thesis proposal should include exhaustive review of relevant literature, statement of the student's thesis, formulation of hypotheses, operational definitions of independent and dependent variables, and a detailed procedure for carrying out the research. The proposal may also include a section on anticipated results with a detailed plan for analysis of data.
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.

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.