Department of Psychology News

Voice of America: Crocodiles, Alligators May Lure Prey with Sticks

The research of Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, has been featured in multiple media outlets including CNN,  Voice of America and Science magazine. Dinets’ work observes two crocodilian species—muggers and American alligators—using twigs and sticks to lure birds, particularly during nest-building time. Dinets’ research is the first report of

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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.

The New York Times: Coldblooded Does Not Mean Stupid

According to a New York Times article, humans have no exclusive claim on intelligence. Across the animal kingdom, all sorts of creatures have performed impressive intellectual feats. ordon Burghardt, a psychology professor, was interviewed for the piece. “Reptiles don’t really have great press,” said Burghardt. “Certainly in the past, people didn’t really think too much

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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.

BBC: Why do ‘single’ birds dance?

The groundbreaking research of Gordon Burghardt, Alumni Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, was cited in a BBC article about cranes dancing. Burghardt studies animals at play. He defines play as a repeated behavior that should not contribute to survival. It is spontaneous and voluntary, performed when the

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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.