Department of Psychology 2017 Newsletter

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WELCOME FROM DEPARTMENT CHAIR JOHN BRUNO I am delighted to share our 2017-18 magazine, a continuing publication that we hope will provide you a window into exciting events happening within your Department of Psychology. It is my honor to present this magazine as the new chairperson of the department. As some of you know, I have been a member of the department since 1986 and am a professor in the area of behavioral neuroscience (with joint appointments in neuroscience and psychiatry). Before highlighting some features of the department of which I am particularly proud, allow me to give my heartfelt thanks to our former chair, Richard Petty. Rich steadily guided the course of the department for 11 years, always with a vision toward excellence. Rich served as chair twice, from 1998-2002 and again from 2008-2015; he has since returned to his role as a professor in the social area. We are very grateful to Rich for his dedication and leadership. The department continues its rise into the most elite group of psychology departments nationwide. The U.S. News & World Report 2018 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools, ranks

Ohio State’s Department of Psychology 24th in the country. The department’s social psychology program is ranked 3rd in the country and its clinical psychology program is ranked 36th. The department’s current ranking of 10th among public institutions reflects our world-class faculty, extensive academic opportunities and ongoing commitment to providing a studentcentered environment designed to challenge and support. We have recently hired several new faculty members with specializations in integrative neuroscience. Many of our faculty members are active members of the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Brain Imaging (CCBBI). The CCBBI has encouraged greater collaboration across our graduate training areas, allowing for new types of cutting-edge research projects, created new external grant-funding opportunities and established hands-on learning opportunities for our undergraduates and graduate students. The growth of interest in brain and behavior studies and the exploding amount of scientific research dedicated to this topic is mirrored by student interest at both undergraduate and graduate levels. We are especially proud of our Department of Psychology. We invite you to help us continue to make it better. Please join us in our journey from excellence to eminence. Enjoy the stories found within this and subsequent newsletters. Be sure to stop in when you are on campus. I’d be delighted to meet you!


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DEPARTMENT NEWS New Hires (2016)

Steve Spencer The Robert K. and Dale J. Weary Chair in Social Psychology

Elizabeth Kirby Assistant Professor Behavioral Neuroscience

Mike Vilensky Director Psychology Services Center

STEVE SPENCER is interested in research on self-esteem and its implications, the importance of implicit self-esteem, and the self-concept as it varies across cultures. He also conducts research on stereotyping and prejudice. Spencer earned his PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan, where Claude Steele was his faculty mentor. After brief stints at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Hope College as an assistant professor, Spencer was at the University of Waterloo for 19 years.

ELIZABETH KIRBY is a neuroscientist who focuses on how stem cells behave in the adult brain. The adult brain has several, unique pockets of stem cells that persist well into old age. She is particularly interested in how our own stem cells can help in recovery and regeneration after injury. Kirby came to Ohio State in 2016 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Her PhD in neuroscience is from the University of California, Berkeley.

MIKE VILENSKY earned his PhD in psychology from Ohio State. While in the program, his research focused on mechanisms in the maintenance and treatment of anxiety disorders. He completed his clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at VA Pittsburgh, with a focus on treatment for individuals with substance-use disorders.


For a complete list of all faculty and clinical staff in the department, visit our new website,

Psychological Services Center’s New Substance Use Service This fall, the Psychological Services Center (PSC) launched a new substance use service, free to adults in Franklin County. “Substance use is an enormous problem in our community, both on and off campus,” said MIKE VILENSKY, PSC clinical program manager. “Despite the increasing awareness of this problem, there continues to be a lack of treatment resources and well-trained providers.” The PSC’s new service will address both of these issues: providing treatment resources to those who might not otherwise have access, and training PhD students in evidence-based treatments to prepare them to deal with addiction-related problems when they leave our program. The center is working with a number of partners at Ohio State and in the community to coordinate services and work toward the goal of providing excellent treatment and training. Since 1981, the PSC has provided free evidencebased therapies to adults for a range of mental health issues, including depression,

anxiety and stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Treatments are based on the latest psychological research, utilizing approaches that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials. Therapists are advanced students in Ohio State’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program. Supervision and training is provided by licensed psychologists in the department.

Today, not nearly enough people struggling with addiction get treatment — and even fewer get scientifically supported treatment. I’m happy to say that today, there is one more resource in our community, and it is right here in the PSC. — Mike Vilensky, clinical program manager

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Andersen and Peters Named College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors Two psychology professors have been honored as College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors. This honor recognizes professors whose work has demonstrated significant impact on their fields, students, college and university, or the public. This distinction is reserved for only 10 percent of the faculty across the College of Arts and Sciences. BARBARA ANDERSEN is a pioneer in behavioral medicine, being among the first scientists to study psychological aspects of cancer. The goal of her research is development and testing of psychological interventions for cancer patients, understanding the psychological and biological mechanisms of their efficacy, and their wide dissemination to alleviate patients’ stress and suffering. Andersen has collaborated with basic scientist and oncologist researchers and with the support of the Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center’s leadership and clinical staff. ELLEN PETERS, professor of psychology, and director of Ohio State’s Decision Sciences Collaborative, studies the basic building blocks of human judgment and decision-making, with particular emphasis on how affect and emotion influence risk perceptions and decisions; how numbers in decisions are processed by individuals who differ in number ability (also called numeracy); how decision-making changes across the adult lifespan; and how information can be communicated to facilitate better decisions in health, financial and environmental contexts.



Russell Fazio Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Cheavens Receives Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

RUSSELL FAZIO, the Harold E. Burtt Chair in Psychology, was elected to the 237th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Fazio is an internationally prominent scientist recognized for his groundbreaking contributions to theory and research on attitudes and social cognition.

JENNIFER CHEAVENS, associate professor, psychology, received a 2017 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Cheavens’ true passion for the field of psychology is contagious and creates an environment that fosters excitement in her students. Her research focus is on the treatment of mood and personality disorders, both in younger and older adults. She teaches undergraduate courses on personality and positive psychology and directs the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training clinic, where she supervises and teaches graduate students in clinical psychology.

His extraordinarily innovative work has changed the ways in which researchers think about and measure attitudes. Fazio's research has had extraordinary impact beyond psychology, in such disciplines as the study of consumer behavior, political science, communication, marketing, decision sciences and clinical psychology. The American Academy of Sciences is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. Membership has been considered a high honor of scholarly and societal merit since the academy was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Fazio received his PhD in social psychology from Princeton University in 1978. He began his academic career at Indiana University and came to Ohio State in 2001.

A psychology alumna and nominator said of Cheavens, she is “truly dedicated to teaching at all levels including undergraduate, graduate and even clinical supervision and training. Jen embodies all the qualities we look for in a high quality educator. She is smart, curious, challenging, kind, patient and provides enough support for her students to grow both intellectually and personally.” One of Cheavens’ undergraduate students commented that it was Cheavens who helped her find a sense of belonging. “Professor Cheavens made me feel like I belonged here at Ohio State. She is the best teacher I have ever had.”

Professor ROBERT (BOB) ARKIN died on Dec. 12, 2016; he was 66. Bob was born in Los Angeles on Aug. 12, 1950. After graduating from UCLA and earning a PhD in social psychology from the University of Southern California, he dedicated his life to education. He began his career teaching at the University of Missouri, where he met his wife Carol, before spending nearly three decades at Ohio State, first as undergraduate dean and then professor of psychology. He was highly regarded for his scholarly work, especially for his passion for teaching. As evidence of his commitment, Arkin initiated a teaching certificate for graduate students who participated in a rigorous program to foster their teaching excellence. The department has recently named the Robert M. Arkin Certificate in the Teaching of Psychology certificate in his honor.


Lu to Share in $13.1 million NSF BRAIN Initiative ZHONG-LIN LU, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Brain Imaging (CCBBI) and the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, is one of a handful of research scientists across the U.S. selected to share $13.1 million for 16 new awards that are part of NSF’s support for integrative, fundamental brain research and the BRAIN initiative. Lu and his colleague, Mark Steyvers, professor of cognitive sciences, University of California, Irvine, will apply a new modeling framework that integrates brain imaging with individuals’ behavior information — a new approach that could revolutionize the field of cognitive neuroscience. “Our goal is to predict individual cognitive performance in novel, real-world situations based on observed behavioral and neuroimaging data and contribute to the understanding of cognitive health and wellbeing of individuals,” said Lu.


The technical approach will build on and integrate recent advances in cognitive science, neuroscience, statistics and machine learning. Statistical models will integrate data from both brain imaging and behavioral tests to generate predictions that may not otherwise be possible with a single source of data. The research will go beyond establishing and explaining individual differences to predicting individual cognitive performance in a variety of tasks.

Krajbich to Study How the Brain Makes Decisions

Prakash to Investigate Benefits of Mindfulness for Reducing Cognitive Decline

IAN KRAJBICH, assistant professor of psychology and economics, received a five-year, $722,305 NSF CAREER Award for his project focusing on dynamical modeling of the interactions between attention and choice in human decision making. Krajbich’s research intersects social science and neuroscience, combining tools from both to investigate mechanisms behind decision-making.

RUCHIKA SHAURYA PRAKASH, associate professor, and director of the department’s Clincial Neuroscience Laboratory, was awarded a five-year $1.8 million NIH grant to conduct a rigorous randomized controlled trial examining the benefits of mindfulness meditation for reducing cognitive decline in older adults. Prakash, an expert in neuropsychological rehabilitation, will be leading the effort with her collaborators, Janice KiecoltGlaser from the College of Medicine and Rebecca Andridge from the College of Public Health.

Krajbich is recipient of the 2017 Society of NeuroEconomics Early Career Award, for significant contributions to understanding the neural basis of decision making and the impact of this knowledge on formal understanding of decision behavior.

In 2016, Prakash was awarded the Springer Early Career Achievement in Research on Adult Development and Aging Award by the American Psychological Association.


Is Colorblindness Really Good For Society? People who claim they “don’t see race” when they evaluate others may think they all have similar beliefs about racial justice – but they’re wrong. In fact, the belief in “racial colorblindness” unites people who range from liberal to conservative and hardened racists to egalitarians, according to Philip Mazzocco, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State Mansfield. Mazzocco is author of the new book, The Psychology of Racial Colorblindess: A Critical Review. In his book, Mazzocco outlines a new model of what it means to be racially colorblind in today’s society. He disentangles the different meanings and comes up with four categories of colorblindness: protectionist, egalitarian, antagonistic and visionary.


Mazzocco doesn’t believe that any type of racial colorblindness is good for society, although some of the four types are clearly more offensive than others. His model focuses on whites, but could be used for all races.

all failed. That led him to examine the benefits of nicotine, coffee, chocolate and finally marijuana. Marijuana was the first drug that produced real positive changes in brain physiology and behavior.

“There are real struggles and real costs. If you pretend like race doesn’t exist, you put people who are struggling at a real disadvantage.” One alternative to colorblindness is multiculturalism – the ideal that society tolerates and even embraces differences in culture. Under multiculturalism, people don’t pretend racial differences don’t exist — they celebrate the diversity. Some white people have bristled at multiculturalism because they believe it means they and their culture aren’t valued, Mazzocco said. But multiculturalism can be all-inclusive in a way that says all people, including whites, are valued. “When this inclusive form of multiculturalism has been studied, whites have reported a much more positive experience.” Mazzocco said he hopes his book will inspire more research.


“A Puff is Enough” May Benefit the Brain GARY WENK, professor of psychology, neuroscience, and molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, is a leading authority on brain aging. The primary focus of his research during the past 25 years has been the effects of brain inflammation. Wenk spent years testing experimental drugs from pharmaceutical companies; they

“Research in my laboratory has demonstrated that stimulating the brain’s marijuana receptors offers protection by reducing brain inflammation,” said Wenk. “Thus, later in life, marijuana might actually help your brain, rather than harm it. It takes very little marijuana to produce benefits in the older brain. My lab coined the motto ‘a puff is enough’ because it appears as though only a single puff each day is necessary to produce significant benefit.” Wenk is the author of the best-selling book, Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings. His new book, The Brain: What Everyone Needs to Know, was published in March 2017.

How the Brain Represents 3-D Information JULIE GOLOMB, assistant professor and director of Ohio State's Vision and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, is lead author of a new neuroimaging study revealing, for the first time, how different parts of the brain represent an object’s location in-depth, compared to its 2-D location. Golomb, along with Nonie Finlayson, a former postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Ohio State, now at University College London, and Xiaoli Zhang, a psychology graduate student at Ohio State, used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of volunteers as they used 3-D glasses to look at simple images. Results showed that when the images first enter their visual cortex, the brain codes the 2-D location. However, as the brain continues its processing, the brain shifts to decoding the depth in information. Golomb said many scientists have investigated where and how the brain decodes two-dimensional information; other researchers have looked at how the brain perceives depth; However, this is the first study to directly compare both 2-D and depth information at one time to see how 3-D representations emerge and interact in the brain, she said.

OGY’S IMPACT ON TODAY “This is an important step in understanding how we perceive our rich, three-dimensional environment,” Golomb said.

foods including fish, nuts and beans as a key to preventing or reducing that pain. “It’s not just the quantity of the food you eat that plays a role in pain for heavier individuals, but the quality of food as well,” said Emery.

Mediterranean Diet May Decrease Pain Associated with Obesity Eating a Mediterranean diet could decrease the chances an overweight person will experience regular pain, according to Psychology Professor CHARLES EMERY. Emery, a member of Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, found that a well-established connection between body weight and chronic pain might be explained by inflammation in the body, and the study points to anti-inflammatory

Emery and a team of researchers developed a model to help them determine whether components of an anti-inflammatory diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, played a role in the likelihood a person’s weight would contribute to pain. And they found a clear pattern. Eat Your Fish and Veggies . . . According to Emery, eating more fish and plant-based proteins such as nuts and beans was linked with less pain,

regardless of body weight. “Obesity and pain are significant public health problems. This was an attempt to take a very detailed snapshot of how they might be related,” Emery said. “We were interested in the possibility of an inflammatory mechanism explaining the connection, because we know there’s a high degree of inflammation associated with obesity and with pain.” The researchers accounted for other factors that could influence their results, including age, depression, analgesic medication use and joint pain. And they tested the model using three different measures of weight – body-mass index, waist circumference and bodyfat percentage. In all three cases, they found evidence that anti-inflammatory proteins may explain the link between increased weight and pain.


PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR TEAMS UP WITH COSI TO TEACH THE SCIENCE OF LANGUAGE Students in the course "Training in Science Education Outreach" spend most of their class time at COSI (Center of Science and Industry) performing science demos with museum visitors and working in a research pod. Not exactly a traditional class setting, but that’s the point, according to LAURA WAGNER, associate professor, psychology, and one of three faculty members team-teaching the course.

Fourth year student MARISSA LAVIGNA was thrilled to get real, hands-on experience engaging visitors.

“The course’s main aim is to teach undergraduate and graduate students how to speak to the public about science, focusing specifically on language science,” said Wagner. “And what better place to do it than in a science museum?”

Student BRANDON NICIU describes working on the floor and in the Language Pod as one of the best experiences of his college career.

Collaborating with Wagner on the course is KATHRYN CAMPBELLKIBLER, associate professor, linguistics, and LESLIE MOORE, associate professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology. Students work up to six hours a week at COSI, demonstrating concepts from the science of language through the use of portable exhibits and several research-inspired games created by Wagner, Campbell-Kibler, Moore and other research scientists from Ohio State’s Buckeye Language Network (BLN), The demonstrations provide accessible, interactive illustrations of concepts, ranging from basic physical and biological facts about speech (the physiology of the larynx; the anatomy and physiology of the human ear) to complex phenomena such as how language conveys meaning from one mind to another.


“It’s one thing to read course material and talk about it in class,” said LaVigna. “But when you’re on the floor at COSI, you’ve really got to know your stuff. You have to be able to talk about very complex concepts to all age groups and keep people interested.”

“Being able to get out on the floor and teach people a little bit of what I know is an awesome feeling. The best part is when a kid’s face lights up and you can tell they are genuinely interested and want to know more about the amazing things we present at the pod.” When not on the floor, the students work in The Language Pod, one of several COSI research pods called the Labs in Life, part of a larger COSI exhibit on the life sciences. The pods are glassenclosed research spaces where museum visitors can observe actual scientific research as it is occurring. JOSHUA SARVER, senior director of experiences for COSI, believes that the partnership between COSI and Ohio State has been a win-win. “COSI guests are able to engage with working scientists in a robust and meaningful way, while Ohio State researchers (faculty and students) have found that they can greatly expand the amount of research they can conduct by working on-site at COSI.”

Numbers are important, whether you like them or not. And nowhere are they more important than when it comes to your health. — Ellen Peters, professor of psychology and director of Decision Sciences Collaborative

CANCER PATIENTS RISK BAD DECISION-MAKING WHEN THEY IGNORE THE NUMBERS Many of the toughest decisions faced by cancer patients involve knowing how to use numbers – calculating risks, evaluating treatment options and figuring odds of medication side effects. But for patients who aren’t good at math, decision science research can offer evidencebased advice on how to assess numeric information and ask the right questions to make informed choices. “The ability to understand numbers is associated with all kinds of positive health outcomes, including for cancer patients,” said ELLEN PETERS, professor of psychology. “The problem is that too many people aren’t good with numbers or are afraid of math. But we’re starting to figure out the best ways to help these patients so they aren’t at a disadvantage when it comes to their treatment.” If a patient recognizes that he or she is not good with numbers, how can he or she cope? Peters said research suggests four strategies: Ask for the numbers. This may seem counter-intuitive, but research backs it up. Ask what the numbers mean. Doctors should be able to tell you what the numbers mean in practical terms. “If 80 percent of people are helped by this particular drug, is that good or bad? Ask your doctor to say if this is above or below average, if it is a fair, good or excellent treatment compared to other options,” Peters said. Ask for absolute risk. Saying that a particular drug doubles your risk of a dangerous side effect sounds scary. But this is what is called a relative risk. The absolute risk is more important. “If you’re doubling your risk from 0.01 percent to 0.02 percent, that is much less threatening than if you are doubling from 10 percent to 20 percent,” Peters said. Cut down the choices. If you’re given a bewildering list of choices for treatment, ask your doctor to choose the best two options to consider. “They should be able to identify the most critical information for you to consider.”


SUPER STUDENTS Psychology major KATE CONROY will be heading into her final year as an undergraduate this fall. She has been a Psychology Student Ambassador since her sophomore year. Here, Kate talks about her passion for helping others and why she loves being an ambassador.

Why did you choose to major in psychology?

Why did you want to be a Psychology Student Ambassador?

Psychology originally pulled me in because I wanted to be able to help people. This major is so applicable to so many fields and is relevant to any career you may want in the future. No matter where you are going after your undergraduate studies, whether that is directly into a career or into more schooling, you are going to want to understand people.

When I was a first-year psychology major, the ambassador program was a huge resource for me. The events were so much fun and they encouraged me to get involved with the department. I get to meet a large portion of the incoming class of psychology majors every year and help them throughout their semester. It is so rewarding to see them shift from being nervous kids on their first days of college to thriving on campus and thinking that I had some small part in that transition.

Tell us about the research project you presented at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum? My project analyzed data from a group of 47 sexually-active women who were survivors of gynecologic cancer. We found that sexual distress is associated with both pain with sexual activity and general distress, including depression and mood disturbance. We can see that many of these women have these sexual side effects, which predict mental health side effects. In order to fully acknowledge quality of life concerns in these survivors, we need to discuss and treat sexual concerns just as we would physical and mental health concerns. What are your plans after graduation?

This major is so applicable to so many fields and is relevant to any career you may want in the future.


I plan on continuing my studies and research in sexual health and psychology by pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology. My ideal career would include doing research as well as providing treatment to clients and mentoring or teaching other future psychologists.


Psychology Student Ambassadors are an enthusiastic and diverse group of students selected to represent the department in various activities and capacities. Ambassadors welcome prospective and new psychology students, encourage student engagement in the department and facilitate student-faculty interaction. Each psychology freshman and transfer survey course has at least two Psychology Student Ambassadors who serve as course assistants, providing the student perspective, as well as serving as a resource for incoming students.


Banaji Named 2016 Psychology Alumni Award Winner “Implicit bias” is the idea that individuals may unconsciously develop hidden biases from a lifetime of experiences with members of different groups. MAHZARIN BANAJI (PhD, 1986; MA, 1982), one of the world’s leading experts on this topic, began her work to understand this bias and its effects as a graduate student at Ohio State.

Ohio State was a transformative experience. I was surrounded by brilliant people who took their craft seriously, who set unimagined standards of excellence to aspire to, and who lit the path of learning to become a scientist for me. I am deeply grateful.


A prolific scientist since leaving Ohio State and joining the faculty first at Yale and then Harvard, Banaji has published more than 190 works, including journal articles, books and chapters, including the popular press book Blindspot with co-author and collaborator Anthony Greenwald. Still, more important than the number of her publications is the impact of her work – Banaji has been cited more than 50,000 times, and many of her publications are among the most significant in the field of social psychology. Her body of work has focused on how the human mind works in social settings, more specifically on how unconscious, automatic processes impact our feelings, judgments, and decisions about both ourselves and others. Professor Emeritus Gifford Weary, who presented Banaji the award, said of her work, “With her important research findings and her careful and thoughtful multimethod approach to understanding the human mind, Mahzarin has quite literally changed the field of psychology. More than that, she has changed the world with her commitment to educating generations of students and numerous lay audiences.” In January, Banaji received the 2017 American Psychology Association (APA) Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions, the APA’s highest honor. Banaji shares the award with Anthony Greenwald. Banaji is the founder of a new project, Outsmarting Human Minds, a set of videos and podcasts aimed at bringing psychological science to broader understanding. You can find these at


MYRA SAEED (BA, 2017) graduated last spring with majors in psychology, and new media and communication technology, and a minor in global health. Saeed was a member of Ohio State’s Honors and Scholars, the Muslim Student Association, and a Psychology Student Ambassador. This fall, Saeed begins graduate school at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Why did you choose Ohio State Psychology?

How did your experiences as an undergraduate prepare you for graduate school?

In high school, I discovered a love for learning why and how people did certain things. I loved Ohio State’s psychology program because it gave me numerous opportunities in various subfields, especially social psychology and it opened the door to a variety of careers.

The coursework was extremely beneficial, both in terms of content and in application. I was lucky enough to do an honors thesis, which taught me so much about research and collaborative thinking, and I was a Psychology Student Ambassador, which opened up leadership and teamwork opportunities for me.

How is psychology relevant to your future plans? I want to study mental and behavioral health in minority communities, specifically how these aspects are influenced by policy when you try to increase low income communities’ access to healthcare.

MANDI (GRUMM) HINTON BA, 2011 Hinton works as an educational audiologist at the Ohio School for the Deaf. During her psychology undergraduate experience at Ohio State, she was active in psychology research, participated in the psychology study abroad trip to England, was involved in the scholars program and held a work-study position at the psychology undergraduate advising office. Hinton pursued dual bachelors’ degrees in psychology and speech and hearing science, and continued on to graduate school at Ohio State where she graduated with a doctorate degree in audiology (AuD) in 2015. “A background in psychology gave me a strong foundation for providing audiologic counseling for a diverse range of students at the Deaf School,” explained Hinton. “I work with a team with students, families, teachers, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other educational specialists.”


IMPACT OF GIVING GIFFORD "GIFF" WEARY, professor emerita of psychology and former divisional dean of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, and her husband DAVID J. ANGELO and The Weary Family Foundation endowed the ROBERT K. AND DALE J. WEARY CHAIR IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. Weary named the chair in honor of her parents, who instilled in her the value of education. “My father grew up in Kansas and earned an undergraduate and a law degree from Harvard,” said Weary. “He saw higher education as the key that unlocked the world. He and my mother believed so deeply in the power of knowledge, and I wanted to honor that legacy.” In early 2016, STEVE SPENCER was named the first Weary Chair in Social Psychology. Weary beams when asked about the new hire. “I’m thrilled. Steve does a lot with stereotyping, especially gender bias.” “He almost did his graduate work at Ohio State, but chose Michigan,” Weary


added. “He still teases me about that. So we’re very pleased to have him at Ohio State, in the end, as our social psychology chair.” “Today, as issues of identity grip the nation, our ability to attack problems like stereotyping and prejudice hinges on our capacity to understand them. Thanks to the social psychology program’s unyielding focus on science, and through hires like Steve Spencer, we have not just hope, but knowledge, that can unlock a better world.” Spencer is honored to hold the new chair and believes that he has a strong responsibility to use it wisely. “The endowed chair allows me to focus on my research and to plan the research that I think is most relevant and most likely to make an impact on society,” he said. “As an endowed chair I can support more graduate students, support a post doc or fund research for which it would be hard to obtain a grant. One of Spencer’s larger projects is a

multi-site project investigating ways to increase girls’ and women’s participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. He is collaborating with seven other social and developmental psychologists on four longitudinal projects that examine ways to increase girls’ and women’s involvement and success in STEM field. He also is examining how threat to the self-concept can motivate people to stereotype others and studying how people respond to overt acts of bigotry.

I genuinely believe this is the best social psychology program in the world. — Gifford Weary, professor emerita

“My colleagues here are exceptionally thoughtful and collaborative. It is a wonderful environment in which to work,” said Spencer.

Scholarship Allows Student to Realize her Goal The Psychology Students First Scholarship Fund was established in 2009 to award scholarships to undergraduate students with financial need. The award goes toward tuition and fees. Psychology major ANGELA REID is the recipient of the scholarship for fall 2017.

Why did you choose Ohio State? I chose to attend Ohio State because of all the opportunities available at the school, including a wide range of academic study areas, a surplus of student organizations and a stellar list of faculty members. I know I made the best decision of my life by attending Ohio State.

Why did you choose to major in Psychology?

What does the Psychology Students First Scholarship mean to you?

In high school, I remember being excited to attend class, complete homework, and study for exams in my AP Psych class. There’s something about learning why people behave the way they do that pulled me in, and I think it’s interesting how humans can have such similar physical makeup, while having such contrasting personalities, values, and behavioral tendencies.

This scholarship has helped lessen the financial demand of my accumulating student loans for the extensive cost of out of state tuition. With the help of this scholarship, I’m able to embrace my educational goals at Ohio State and prepare to make my career dreams a reality.

Students shouldn’t have to worry about how much their textbooks cost. I contribute to this fund each month because I see it as just another way I can help students succeed in and out of the classroom. — Dr. Melissa Beers, program director, Introduction to Psychology

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I hope to obtain a position in the human resources field, such as recruiting, where I can use my psychology training to select the candidates who will be the most successful given the company’s goals and culture.




Invest in Our Future Gifts to the Department of Psychology make a tangible difference in the daily life of our students, faculty and staff. They build on our strong foundation and help to assure a bright future for the department. You can make a gift in any amount, and designate its use toward a general or more specific fund.

The Psychology Students First Scholarship Fund (313079) supports undergraduate students, like Angela Reid, with financial need.

The Psychology Advancement Fund (307063) supports many varied pursuits of psychology students, staff, and faculty with investments that enhance research, build community, and improve facilities. This fund has helped faculty member Jay Myung continue professional research collaborations through his affiliation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This fund also supported graduate student Emily Weichart’s work in Psychology’s electroencephalogram (EEG) facility, where faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students collect neurophysiological data.

The Buckeye Language Network Fund (315004) supports language research, including outreach activities at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) Language Sciences Research Lab. A scholarship from this fund allowed undergraduate Samantha Arthurs to develop a video demonstrating strategies that children use to learn the meaning of words. You can see her video here:

If you would like to make a gift online, visit Gifts can also be mailed to The Ohio State University Foundation at 1480 West Lane Avenue, Columbus, OH 43221. Please make checks out to The Ohio State University Foundation and include the appropriate fund number. If you would like to support these or any other Department of Psychology funds, or discuss other opportunities to give to the Department, please contact Amanda DeWees at 614-292-2717 or


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