Professional and Biographical Information
Ph.D., Duke University (1997)
M.A., Duke University (1993)
B.A., Haverford College (1990)
Most of my Amherst courses relate to cognitive psychology. On occasion, I have taught Introductory Psychology and I regularly teach Statistics and Experimental Design (which I sheepishly confess is my favorite course). The curriculum at Amherst has allowed me to teach a wide variety of courses (large and small, survey and specialized) both within my field and in interdisciplinary settings. Although each course presents unique challenges, my primary goal in every course is to introduce students to the questions that motivate psychologists and the techniques that psychologists use to derive answers to those questions. One of the things that drew me to psychology is the fact that one can pursue many approaches to answering the same question. All of my courses describe genetic, physiological, and social explanations for important cognitive behavior. Comparing these various approaches and discussing the value (and limitations) of each forces my students to consider problems from multiple perspectives. I have always considered this skill to be a foundation of the liberal arts education. Adopting multiple perspectives also trains my students to treat received wisdom with skepticism and to expect that other explanations might be available to the initiated intellectual.