Psychological Sciences - Opening Minds
The Department of Psychological Sciences seeks to enlighten our understanding of the diversity of human experience that drives behavior as well as to shed light on the mind's mechanisms that underlie this behavior. The Department includes faculty and students who conduct research in one of four domains: industrial/organizational, social/personality, behavioral neuroscience, and cognitive/human factors. Our research is diverse and frequently applies basic scientific research to real-world problems. For more details, please explore individual faculty pages on this web site.
Undergraduates often have the opportunity to work directly with faculty and graduate students in the lab as well as in the classroom. Many of our undergraduates attend national scientific conferences where they present research that they have been conducting, and a surprising number eventually serve as co-authors on published research.
Distance Masters students in our terminal Masters program specialize in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. The two+ year program has been in existence since 2000 and brings students to campus for two weeks each summer with on-line classes during the regular semesters.
Doctoral students in each of our four graduate programs take classes from faculty in nearly every program. Successful doctoral students at K-State learn to reach across our subdisciplines. Students can also be involved in interdisciplinary research that reaches across departments. Many of our doctoral students participate in the Teaching Apprenticeship Program in which they receive formal training and guided experiences that lead to independent teaching. The success of this program is reflected in the numerous local and regional teaching awards that students have received.
The department houses the Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity (CNAP). The Center was established in 2017 and is funded by a 5-year $11.3 million NIH grant. CNAP research focuses on plasticity which is how organisms respond to change. Plasticity can involve the ability to change behavior in response to the environment or it can involve how the brain matures and changes over time.
The field of psychology has a rich tradition in the scientific study of the environmental and biological processes impacting human and animal behavior. If you want the opportunity to be taught by and to work with nationally and internationally renowned faculty and their students, we invite you to join us!
Dr. Kimberly Kirkpatrick was chosen as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.
Ph.D. student Jordann Brandner (Brase advisee) received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship which provides three years of funding.
Undergrad Navanté Peacock received the Kansas State University Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Student in Research.
Alum Joel DiGirolamo has committed to the establishment of the DiGirolamo Student Research Assistantship in Psychological Sciences. This $500,000 deferred estate gift will fund graduate or undergraduate student research assistantships in the I/O area. The target is students capable of producing publishable research for which the student would serve as a co-author.
Doctoral student Amanda Martens was the winner of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Doctoral Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Gary Brase was chosen as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.
Alum Milt Ahlerich was chosen as one of two 2016 Merit Award winners for the College of Arts and Sciences. Milt was the Chief of Security for the National Football League and an Assistant Director for the FBI.
Alum Joel DiGirolamo has established the Joel DiGirolamo Psychological Sciences Faculty Enhancement fund. His $25k gift is for the purpose of supporting faculty attending or conducting teaching workshops, conference travel, presentation opportunities, or other related activities. Thank you to Joel and his family for their support!
Alum Dr. Mitch Brigell and his wife, Deborah, have committed to a substantial deferred gift to the department. Their $125k estate gift will be distributed to the department's Excellence Fund and the GTA Support Fund. Thank you Mitch and Deborah for your continuing support!
Dr. Don Saucier was chosen as a Fellow of Division 9 (Psychological Study of Social Issues) of the American Psychological Association and a Fellow of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology.
Ph.D. student Catherine Hill (Kirkpatrick advisee) received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship which provides three years of funding. Only 12% of the 17,000 applicants were funded.
Other Major Announcements
Our Masters in I/O Psychology distance program ranked 5th nationally by successfulstudent.org.
Joel DiGirolamo, 2006 MIOP graduate, was selected as the 2016 K-State Global Campus Alumni Fellow. He is the director of coaching science at the International Coach Federation and is the owner and president of Turbocharged Leadership in Lexington, Kentucky.
Ph.D. student David Arndt (Cain advisee) received the APAGS (APA for Graduate Students) Basic Psychological Science Research Grant ($1000 - one of 10 recipients nationally).
Ph.D. student Andrew Marshall (Kirkpatrick advisee) received a $1,000 Dissertation Supplement Award from the American Psychological Association. There are only about 30-40 of these given nationally each year, and it’s great to see one of our students receiving such a prestigious award. There have been only three previous student recipients from Kansas universities in the award’s 12-year history.
Dr. Don Saucier received the Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching.
Doctoral student Andrew Marshall was chosen as one of three recipients of the K-State University Distinguished Professors Graduate Research Award. His dissertation is titled "A reinforcement-learning approach to understanding loss-chasing behavior in humans and rats" and is being completed under the supervision of Dr. Kimberly Kirkpatrick.
Sarah Stuebing, who is pursuing a DVM-PhD dual degree, was awarded a T32 National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. The award is administered through the BRITE program in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Sarah will receive a stipend and research support to pursue her PhD work with Dr. Kimberly Kirkpatrick.
Dr. Kim Kirkpatrick was selected as a Fellow of the Eastern Psychological Association.
Our Masters in I/O Psych is receiving recognition for high quality on-line education thanks to the excellence provided by Drs. Knight and Fullagar who run this program.
Alum J.P. Bilbrey, 1978 BS and current CEO and Chair of the Board of the Hershey Company, was selected as the 2015 K-State College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Fellow.
Alum Dr. Linda Simon, 1994 PhD and current Senior VP at DirectTV, was selected as the 2015 K-State Graduate School Alumni Fellow.
Dr. Don Saucier did a TV interview for the Huffington Post on the social nature of eating on Thanksgiving, which was picked up on several news outlets.
Dr. Wendong Li was chosen by a Human Resources group as one of the 30 most influential I/O Psychologists alive today. His selection was based on his ground-breaking and novel work in genetics and proactive behaviors.
Alum DeKeta Schuckman (nee Nicholson) and her husband, Mark, recently endowed the Nobuko S. Nicholson Opportunity Fund for Psychological Sciences. The purpose of the fund is to perpetuate the memory of DeKeta's mother, Nobuko, who was a wonderful inspiration to DeKeta and many others. Nobuko believed that opportunities could be created and seized with education and a strong work ethic.
Our alum, Janet Gee, established and endowed the "Curtis Lee and JB Gee Psychological Sciences Scholarship" in January, 2014. The scholarship will be granted to one psychology major every spring. A big thanks goes out to Janet for establishing this wonderful way of honoring her family's ongoing commitment to K-State!
Dr. Mary Cain was selected to be a Fellow of the Midwestern Psychological Association.
The Department of Psychological Sciences presented its Distinguished Alumnus award to Mr. J.P. Bilbrey, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hershey Company. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in Psychology in 1978.
Grants and Research Awards
Dr. Kimberly Kirkpatrick received a four-year $1.35M grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. This is a continuation of her previous grant on timing, reward processing, and choice and will run through February, 2020.
Dr. Greg Monaco is the co-Principal Investigator for a $1M grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will form a Digital Agriculture Spoke as part of the Midwest Big Data Hub which will help collaborators across institutions to build partnerships to address emerging issues such as precision agriculture, ecosystem management and services, socio-economic impacts, and specific data-related issues.
Dr. Greg Monaco received a one-year $50k grant from the National Science Foundation to examine the role of regional organizations in improving access to the national computational infrastructure starting August 2015.
Dr. Greg Monaco received a two-year $130k grant from the National Science Foundation to leverage partnerships across the Great Plains to enhance campus advanced networking, that started October 2014.
Dr. Mary Cain received a two-year $73k Diversity Supplement on her NIDA grant to support a graduate student from a diverse background starting August 2014.
Drs. Les Loschky, Sanjay Rebello (K-State Physics), and Andy Bennett (K-State Mathematics) received a 3-year $1.2M grant from the National Science Foundation to study the use of visual cueing and feedback to facilitate physics problem solving that started January 2014.
Earlier Grants and Research Awards
Dr. Michael Young received a 5-month $50k grant from the Hershey Company to study the factors affecting consumer product choice, August 2014.
Dr. Mary Cain was selected to be a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 6 (Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology), August 2013.
Dr. Mary Cain received a 3-year $436K grant from the National Institute for Drug Abuse to study the effects of differential rearing on glutamate homeostasis and addiction in May 2013.
Dr. Greg Monaco, Director for Research and Cyberinfrastructure Initiatives of the Great Plains Network and Research Assistant Professor of Psychology at Kansas State University, was a member of a team receiving a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Dr. Gary Brase and Dr. Eugene Vasserman (Computing and Information Sciences) received a 2-year $148K grant from the National Science Foundation to study Education-optional Security Usability on the Internet, in September 2012.
Dr. Les Loschky and Dr. Sanjay Rebello (K-State Physics) received a 2-year $399K grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the effects of cueing attention on Physics problem solving, in January 2012.
Dr. Lester Loschky was awarded a 3-year $1.4M grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to create a new measure of attentional breadth for use in simulators in September 2011.
Dr. Kim Kirkpatrick received a 5-year $1.3M R01 grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health in 2010.
Teaching Awards Won by Faculty and Graduate Students
2017: Amanda Martens, Ph.D. student, was the winner of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Doctoral Excellence in Teaching Award
2016: Dr. Donald Saucier received the K-State Book Network Faculty/Staff Award given for demonstrating enthusiasm and creative use of the common reading selection
2016: Amanda Martens, K-State Graduate Student Council Award for Teaching Excellence for a doctoral student
2016: Chelsea Schnabelrauch Arndt, Honorable mention for the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award in the Doctoral Category
2016: Chelsea Schnabelrauch Arndt, APAGS (APA of Graduate Students) Teaching Excellence in Psychological Sciences Award. She was one of two recipients nationally for this award.
Earlier Teaching Awards
2015: Chelsea Schnabelrauch Arndt, K-State Graduate Student Council Award for Teaching Excellence for a doctoral student
2015: Dr. Don Saucier, Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching
2015: Dr. Don Saucier, Coffman Chair and a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar
2015: Dr. Lora Adair (2015 PhD), William L. Stamey GTA Teaching Award
2015: Dr. Mary Cain, University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research
2015: Whitney Jeter, K-State University Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for a Graduate Teaching Assistant
2014: Whitney Jeter, K-State Graduate Student Council Award for Teaching Excellence for a doctoral student
2014: Dr. Donald Saucier, Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award
2013: Tammy Sonnentag, Midwest Association of Graduate Schools' (MAGS) Doctoral Level Teaching Excellence Award
2012: Dr. Satoris Culbertson, The College of Arts and Sciences William L. Stamey Teaching Excellence Award
2011: Dr. Donald Saucier was awarded a Kansas State University Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Service & Other Awards
2016: Sarah Buchanan, Undergraduate Student Advisor, won the K-State College of Arts and Sciences Stamey Award for Undergraduate Advising.
2015: Dr. Mary Cain is President of Division 6 (Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.
2015: Dr. Heather Bailey began serving as a Consulting Editor for Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
2015: Dr. Les Loschky began serving as a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.
2015: Dr. Laura Brannon was appointed to the editorial board of the journal Health Communication.
Earlier Service and Other Awards
2014: Dr. Kim Kirkpatrick was appointed as an Associate Editor for the journal Behavioural Processes.
2013: Dr. YoungAh Park was selected to participate in the "Early Career Work and Family Scholars Program," a year-long scholar development program managed by the Work and Family Researchers Network (funded by the Sloan Foundation). She was one of only 15 early career scholars selected for this year's program.
2013: Dr. Mary Cain selected for the APA Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology.
2013: Dr. Mary Cain, APA Division 6, Clifford T. Morgan Distinguished Service Award, for continuing exceptional contributions to the Division.
Undergrad Navante Peacock won the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Undergraduate Poster Award for research he conducted with Dr. Saucier and his lab.
Undergrad Navante Peacock (working with Dr. Saucier) won a Society for Personality and Social Psychology Diversity Fund Undergraduate Registration Award.
Undergrad student Emily Nelsen won the best undergraduate student poster award at the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in 2016. "Beyond Sexual Purity: An Examination of Modern and Traditional Conceptualizations of Feminine Honor." Nelsen, Quinmill Lei, Amanda Martens, Stuart Miller, and Donald Saucier.
PhD student Stuart Miller was runner-up for the best graduate student poster award at the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in 2016. "Perceptions of Racism in the Context of Police Shootings: False-Positives or False-Negatives in Observers’ Attributions to Prejudice?" Miller, Navanté Peacock, and Donald Saucier.
Earlier Other News
Graduate student Judy LaValley was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the Army Research Institute for extraordinary achievements in scholarship and exemplary contributions to ARI. She will be leaving ARI to take a prestigious summer internship with RAND Corporation in California.
Sooyeol Kim, Dr. YoungAh Park, and Lucy Headrick's paper "Employees' micro-break activities and job performance: An examination of telemarketing employees" was selected for the 2015 Academy of Management Meeting as one of the best accepted papers.
Donte Bernard (2013 BS), Dr. McManus (2013 PhD), and Dr. Saucier received a Diversity Article Award from the Psi Chi Diversity Committee and Board of Directors for an article they published in the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research.
Dr. Barnett served as a domain expert for a book on narcissism written by Time Science Editor, Jeffrey Kluger. Excerpts from the book appeared in the latest issue of Time.
An article by Dr. Brase and his graduate student, Lora Adair, titled "Explaining Sex Differences in Reactions to Relationship Infidelities: Comparisons of the Roles of Sex, Gender, Beliefs, Attachment, and Sociosexual Orientation" was featured in an article in the Huffington Post.
A recent book titled "Social Skills Assessment Through Games: The New Best Practice" features Dr. Chelsea Bartel, a graduate of the Department of Psychology at Kansas State University. She is a researcher at 3C Institute, which is an organization that develops programs to improve social and emotional learning for children and adolescents.
Graduate student Ryan Ringer (Loschky advisee) won both the "Best Student Paper" award and the "Best Long Paper" award at the ETRA (Eye Tracking Research & Applications) Conference in Safety Harbor, FL. The work will appear as an Association for Computing Machinery proceedings paper.
Graduate student Taylor Wadian (Barnett advisee) won 2nd place for his presentation in the K-State Graduate Research Forum's Social Sciences, Humanities, and Education Oral Session.
Dr. YoungAh Park's grad student Sooyeol Kim's study has been featured on the homepage of SIOP (Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology). He will be presenting the study this May at the SIOP Annual Conference.
Dr. Loschky's research with recent PhDs Drs. Larson & Freeman and current grad student Ryan Ringer, "The Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Scene Gist recognition," and Drs. Kirkpatrick and Loschky's research, “Scene Gist Categorization by Pigeons," are both being featured in APA PeePs (Particularly Exciting Experiments in Psych).
Dr. Donald Saucier's article, Angels and Demons Are Among Us: Assessing Individual Differences in Belief in Pure Evil and Belief in Pure Good, has been getting a lot of press! It was featured in an article in the Huffington Post and another article in Scientific American.