Department of Psychology News

UT Study Finds Crocodiles are Cleverer than Previously Thought

A mugger crocodile balances twigs on its nose to tempt birds collecting small branches to build nests with, at Madras Crocodile Bank, Tamil Nadu in India. Photo credit: Vladimir Dinets

Turns out the crocodile can be a shrewd hunter himself. A UT researcher has found that some crocodiles use lures to hunt their prey. Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is the first to observe two crocodilian species—muggers and American alligators—using twigs and sticks to lure birds, particularly during nest-building time. Dinets’s research is the first report of tool use by any reptiles.

UT Research Finds Newlyweds Implicitly Know If Marriage Will Fail

Newlywed bliss can overshadow serious marital problems, but a new study by UT researchers shows that signs of a failed marriage are often there from the beginning—if couples look closely. The study, by Michael Olson, associate professor of psychology, and Jim McNulty of Florida State University, finds that spouses’ automatic attitudes, not their more thoughtfully held conscious attitudes, are a good predictor of marital satisfaction.

In Memoriam: Kathleen Lawler Row

Kathleen Lawler Row, a former professor in the Department of Psychology, passed away Saturday at the age of 66. Her career at the university spanned more than thirty years during which she taught courses in child psychology, positive psychology, and the psychology of religion. Her research focused on health psychology, earning her national recognition for her work. She received the University Studies Award in 2003 for outstanding contribution to interdisciplinary studies and the Chancellor’s Award in 2002 for research and creative achievement.

Lecturer Investigates Response to “Bad” Art

Websites like Tumblr catalogue pieces of what are deemed “bad art” such as a painting of a dog with colorful stars for teeth or a crying horned animal with human-like hair. Is what makes this art “bad” its unfamiliarity? Would people come to like them if they became more familiar with them? This was a question asked by an international team of scholars including a UT philosophy lecturer.

College of Arts and Sciences Names Graduate Studies, Diversity Leaders

The College of Arts and Sciences has appointed two new associate deans to enhance the college’s graduate studies and diversity initiatives. Brent Mallinckrodt, professor of psychology, has been appointed associate dean for graduate studies, and Angela Batey, James Cox Professor of Music, has been appointed associate dean for diversity.

What’s Your Big Idea?—Steve McAmis

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are sharing the big ideas that make a difference in their world. Steve McAmis, a sophomore studying psychology, has the big idea of de-stigmatizing mental illness. Through the help he’s received at UT’s Counseling Center, he’s learned that mental illness is something you have, not who you are.