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Psychology Research

Current Faculty Research

Students interested in learning more about faculty research projects or about how to become involved research can contact a faculty member directly via email or office phone (see faculty directory).

Emily Cook Ph.D.

Developmental psychology:

Adolescent Risk Factors and Trajectories of Antisocial Behavior. This study uses national data sets to examine the influence of risk factors during adolescence on trajectories of antisocial behavior into adulthood.

Developmental Stressors, Physiological Reactivity, and Adolescent Risk Behavior. This study examines gender differences in the effect of parent-child relationships and peer competency on adolescents' stress reactivity and risk behavior in a community sample of adolescents.

Andrea L. Dottolo Ph.D.

Social Psychology

Social Psychology: Dr. Dottolo’s research explores how social identities are constructed and maintained, and the ways they are shaped by social and institutional structures.  Her work in feminist psychology centers on race, class, gender, sexuality, and qualitative research methods.

adottolo@ric.edu

Beverly Goldfield Ph.D.

Developmental Psychology:

Early Language Development. Our current project examines word comprehension in 14 to 18-month-olds. We use an eye tracker to compare visual attention to two objects (e.g., truck / fish) or two actions (e.g., jump / dance) before and after one of the items is labeled (e.g., "Look at the truck" or "Look at her jump"). This research is funded by a grant from the Rhode Island IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence.

bgoldfield@ric.edu

Benjamin Jee Ph.D.

Cognitive Psychology:

Learning, knowledge representation, and educational applications of cognitive psychology.
Much of my research investigates learning in complex scientific domains, including geoscience, microbiology, and astronomy. My recent projects have explored what sketches reveal about causal and spatial scientific knowledge, how visual comparisons affect learning basic science concepts, and, more generally, how different learning processes affect conceptual knowledge. The main goals of my research are to make new discoveries about the nature of knowledge and concept acquisition, and to use these discoveries to enhance student learning.

George Ladd Ph.D.

Developmental Psychology/Addiction studies:

Adolescent perceptions of scratch tickets. A cross sectional (by age) investigation of adolescents' perceptions of scratch ticket images. Are their developmental differences in how adolescents perceive scratch tickets?

The Gambling Studies Project.

gladd@ric.edu

Thomas Malloy Ph.D.

Social Psychology:

The Intergroup Relations Model (IRM). The IRM predicts that intergroup behavior is most proximally caused by intergroup emotion, that is itself caused by ethnocentrism (i.e., a belief that one's own group is superior to other groups) and negative out-group stereotypes. Thus, the IRM is a mediational model in which cognitive processes determine affect that, in turn, causes intergroup behavior. Our experiments will yield data for adequate testing of the theoretical predictions of the IRM. This research is funded by a grant from the Rhode Island IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence.

tmalloy@ric.edu

Christine Marco Ph.D.

Young Adolescent Sleep-Smart Pacesetter Program. This research is funded by a grant from the national institutes of health.

cmarco@ric.edu

Robin Montvilo Ph.D.

Addiction studies:

Internet-Based Addiction Counselor Education Study. Despite government initiatives to translate evidence based research to substance abuse treatment context, the transmission of research to practicing behavioral health professionals has been limited. Although some internet-learning addiction education programs exist, no Internet-based learning modality currently addresses the evidence-based treatment of individuals with co-occurring addiction disorders and medical problems. In an effort to bridge the gap between research and the evidence-based treatment knowledge of community-based practitioners, the Internet-Based Addiction Counselor Education Study (IBACES) will:

  1. develop and implement a pilot demonstration of an innovative Internet based program for training Chemical Dependency/Addiction Studies (CDAS) students initially, with later generalization to community-based practitioner
  2. disseminate current knowledge about the Addiction Counseling Competencies of Professional Practice and examine their impact on State Certification for Chemical Dependency Counseling.
  3. conduct a randomized controlled trial to measure knowledge transfer and preparation using the Internet.

This research is funded by a grant from the Rhode Island IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence.

rmontvilo@ric.edu

Jason Spas Ph.D., MS, LMFT

Clinical Psychology: Behavioral Medicine and Addiction Studies

My research interests are in clinical research and intervention with medical, underserved and ethnically diverse populations.  More specifically, by targeting behavioral risk factors that include smoking, alcohol misuse, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyles, the most prominent lifestyle risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and some cancers, my goal is to help elucidate the science of multiple health behavior change and promote health, wellness and disease prevention.

jspas@ric.edu

David Sugarman Ph.D.

Social psychology:

The anointed. According to the Pew Institute, Americans are generally accepting of religious diversity; but, what happens when an extremely small group pronounces a theology that stands outside these acceptable limits and behaves in a manner that directly confronts the community's religious and secular norms? This multi-phase investigation examines via in-depth interviews the members of this small sect and the reactions of the community in which the group resides.

Patriarchic ideology and partner violence. A continuing debate within the area of partner violence research surrounds whether patriarchy theory adequately accounts for this phenomenon and whether relationship violence is associated with other factors that this model does not propose. One component of patriarchy theory is its associated ideology (e.g., conservative sex-role norms, positive attitudes towards violence use). Over the past 15 years, a myriad of studies has investigated this relationship and a quantitative literature review seems needed to try to summarize what we know and do not know about this association. Do we find this ideology/violence relationship with married partner only or do we find that it arises with dating violence? Does the level of the violence severity moderate this association? Does the source of the sample (e.g., clinical versus community) constitute a moderator variable?

dsugarman@ric.edu

Steven Threlkeld Ph.D.

Behavioral Neuroscience:

Neurodevelopmental disruption: pathogenesis, treatment and behavioral outcome. Our lab is interested in the anatomical and behavioral consequences of disrupted forebrain development resulting from injury or teratogenic events and how early behavioral experience or prophylactic treatment can improve outcome. Current projects include investigations into the role of inflammation in pathogenesis of neonatal hypoxia-ischemia, behavioral outcome and potential treatment strategies. A second line of work is focused on the consequences of fetal teratogenic exposure and the influence of resultant neurodevelopmental malformations on learning in rodent models. These animal models help us understand the origins, behavioral cost and potential treatment strategies for highly complex neurodevelopmental disorders. This research is funded by a grant from the Rhode Island IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence.

Duncan White Ph.D.

Experimental Psychology:

Insights into memory, its genetic & nervous system substrates. An investigation of operant learning, response preferences, problem-solving strategies and their retention through metamorphosis in the grain beetle (Tenebrio molitor).

dwhite@ric.edu

Page last updated: September 11, 2014