Department of Psychology News

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.

UT Psychologists Offer Five Tips for Healthy Relationships


As Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, romantic relationships are on many of our minds. Experts at UT are offering tips to ensure relationships stay healthy and strong. Kristina Gordon, professor of psychology and director of RelationshipRx, a project seeking to make it easier for couples to take good care of their relationship health, says there are some easy steps people can take to build more intimacy and strengthen their relationships on a daily basis.

Big Idea: Psychology GTA Helps Students Bond


Christi Culpepper, a graduate teaching associate in psychology, has a big idea that will make her class a little friendlier. Culpepper teaches Psychology 110, a class of mostly freshmen, and noticed that many of her students did not know anyone else in the class. This semester, she’s putting her students into groups and designing discussion areas on Blackboard so they can talk and get to know each other.

UT Researcher Finds ‘First Time’ Could Predict Sexual Satisfaction

Turns out your first time really matters. Research conducted by Matthew Shaffer, a doctoral psychology student, reveals that the first sexual experience can set the tone for the rest of one’s sexual life. The study is published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy and is the first to look at whether the circumstances of losing one’s virginity have lasting consequences.