Department of Psychology News

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.

Wired: If You Spank, Don’t Console

A UT study suggests that communicating with children positively after spanking them can cause them to exhibit depressive symptoms. The report was originally published in the journal Child and Adolescent Mental Health and was featured recently in Wired magazine. The study posits that having a parent who is the source of both stress and comfort may confuse children.

Welsh is New Head of Psychology

Deb Welsh

Deborah Welsh is the new department head of psychology. She served as associate head for the past year and has been the director of the graduate program in clinical psychology. She is a graduate of the 2010-11 UT’s Women’s Leadership Program.

Psychology Today: From Promise to Promiscuity

Kristina Gordon, psychology professor, was interviewed for a lengthy piece entitled “From Promise to Promiscuity” on infidelity in Psychology Today. The national publication spoke to Gordon about her research into the “other woman.”