Psych NUws. The Newsletter of the Northeastern University Psychology Department. From the Editor

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1 Psych NUws The Newsletter of the Northeastern University Psychology Department Vol. 19, Number 2 (January 2013) From the Editor We start this issue by congratulating the many seniors who have put in graduate school applications this season, or are in the process of doing so. This is a stressful process! Store away these words of wisdom: if you don t succeed this time, keep trying! This issue has a report from a former grad about her path to a PhD program in clinical psychology. Sometimes it takes a long time but don t give up, and of course keep building your resume if grad school is your goal. In this issue we offer encouragement and information to undergrads who are less far along in planning their academic future. We offer several articles about graduate options in psychology and in related fields where your psychology background fits right in. And remember that people are here to help and advise read the two articles about mentoring. Looking forward in other ways, we want to remind you that the University s RISE Expo that grand showcase of student-involved research on campus will be coming up in the spring. Our undergrads participate in posters at that event! And, in May there will be the Psychology Department Graduation Ceremony, to which all grads and their loved ones are invited. Think of getting a master s degree: A Great Stepping Stone to PhD studies There are many good reasons to get a master s degree in psychology: (1) You are not quite sure you want to take the leap into a PhD (2) You are not sure what area of psychology you want to commit to (3) You want to build a stronger academic record (4) You want to demonstrate your earnestness about your graduate education (5) You want opportunities for more research experience (6) You need back-up in case your PhD applications don t succeed 1

2 Graduate programs look very favorably on applicants with a master s degree. It means you have a track record showing you can do graduate-level work and it shows that you are dedicated. Some master s program are in general psychology, while others are in specific kinds of psychology, such as social-personality. Some programs offer stipends and other mechanisms of financial assistance. You should regularly check the bulletin board outside the Psychology Office (125 NI) for announcements of programs!! Social Work and Public Health program in particular: The Dual Degree in Social Work and Public Health gives you the Master s in Social Work (MSW) and the Master s in Public Health (MPH). BU s is one of the oldest and largest programs of this type in the country. It has trained hundreds of public health social workers for leadership positions in many areas, including prevention oriented clinical practice, health education and health promotion, management at local, state, national, and international levels, and public health advocacy. Exciting Social Work Programs: Use Your Psychology Background in the Real World Did You Know northeastern Has a master s Program in Public Health?? Social work is a great way to combine psychology and a career in the helping professions. Prof. Snyder helped Psych NUws to put together some information for you in this issue. You may not know that most Master s in Social Work (MSW) programs have tracks in both Clinical Social work (working with families, individuals, and groups), and in Macro Social Work (human service management, community organization, and program planning). Boston University has several very attractive Dual Degree Programs: Social Work and Public Health, Social Work and Theology, and Social Work and Education. They also offer a number of other certificate programs that can be done with a regular Master s in Social Work (such as trauma, family therapy, geronotology, and behavioral medicine). You ll find out much more from the BU website, but here are some features of the Bouve s MPH Program focuses on addressing the most compelling public health problems facing cities today. These include: complex air, water, and food quality management issues control of infectious diseases prevention and treatment of chronic diseases illnesses associated with the built environment health threats connected to density and poverty including substance abuse, community violence, and the potential of international terrorism racial and ethnic health disparities the challenges of effective health education and promotion for diverse populations; and access to timely, appropriate health services 2

3 Central to addressing all of these concerns, but in particular those associated with racial and ethnic health disparities, is the commitment the program undertakes to build a diverse and activist public health workforce, well trained in the complex issues associated with disparate health status and health care access. personality models, clinical applications of personality models For more information: =com_content&view=article&id=196&itemid=78 New PhD Programs Are Eager for Applicants!! There is a newly created Social-Personality Psychology PhD track at Oklahoma State University. The faculty and research interests are as follows: Primary Faculty: Edward Burkley, Ph.D., Self, Self-regulation, motivation, goals, social influence, persuasion and attitude change Melissa Burkley, Ph.D., Stereotypes and prejudice, stigma, implicit attitudes, gender differences, social cognition James W. Grice, Ph.D., Personality assessment, idiographic measurement, multivariate statistical models Shelia M. Kennison, Ph.D., Social and cognitive topics, stereotype information in language comprehension, mortality salience Robert Sternberg, Ph.D., Theories of intelligence, triangular theory of love, creativity Affiliated Faculty: Robert Baron, Ph.D., Cognitive and social factors in entrepreneurship, bridging of psychology and entrepreneurship For more information on the Psychology Department at Oklahoma State university: Don t want to land in the midwest? There is also an exciting new PhD program in Social Psychology at the Graduate Center of City University of New York (CUNY). The Basic and Applied Social Psychology (BASP) program at the CUNY Graduate Center is designed to produce rigorous, competent, and creative researchers who are well versed in the traditional canon of social psychology, but who can apply this knowledge to engage with innovative questions and pursuits. The BASP program brings together accomplished social psychology faculty from across the CUNY campuses. Core participating faculty include E. Brauner, C. Carmichael, B. Chanowitz, C. Hardin, and G. Hass (from Brooklyn College); C. Brumbaugh and J. Storbeck (from Queens College); M. Bull Kovera, D. Glasford, M. Leippe, and D. Wout (from John Jay College of Criminal Justice); S. Golub, J. Parsons, and V. Valian (from Hunter College); T. Revenson (from the Graduate Center); M. Rosario (from City College); and C. Good, J. Park, and K. Sommer (from Baruch College). More details are available at: John M. Chaney, Ph.D., Native American stereotypes and sports mascots, implicit racial bias Stephanie N. Mullins-Sweatt, Conceptualization of personality disorders using general 3

4 MENTORING: Here are two Offers You d Be Crazy to Refuse: Our OWN Mentoring Program to help Undergraduates Get Into Graduate School!! Getting into graduate school is no easy feat. It takes a lot of planning, organization, and rigor to make it through the application process alone. After going through this ordeal themselves, the PhD students in the psychology department decided that our undergraduates should not have to go it alone. This is why they created the graduate school mentoring program. contact and meet with to discuss more individual issues. The 1:1 program is run year round. All students are welcome to Krista Hill at to receive a mentor match. The program has thus far been quite successful. Undergraduate students have responded very positively to the program and many have been accepted into graduate programs. Our graduate students are also benefitting by developing as mentors and giving back to some of our undergraduates who have worked so hard as researchers in the psychology labs. As the program continues we hope to recruit more permanent clinical degree members and possibly mentors who have gone on to law and medical school since many of our students also pursue this avenue. --Krista Hill, 5 th year graduate student The Graduate School Mentoring Program was created in the Fall of The program s mission is to provide guidance and help to undergraduates interested in pursuing graduate school. The program has two components. Biweekly meetings are the first component. Here mentors discuss various topics of interest such as the GRE, the application process, writing a statement of purpose, what graduate school life is like, and interviewing. Our most popular meeting has been the degrees meeting. At this meeting we discuss the various graduate degrees (e.g., PhD, PsyD, MSW) that psychology majors may wish to pursue. Since the mentor program is run by PhD students, we recruit other graduate students from various programs (PsyD programs, Masters programs, etc.) to talk at this meeting. The biweekly meetings are held in the fall. The second component of the program is the 1:1 match program. Here, undergraduates are provided with one graduate student mentor to And in case you missed this in the last issue: Prof. Cisewski provides assistance and guidance to students who are interested in pursuing a clinical track in psychology. She wrote, When I was an undergraduate, many years ago, I did not receive much guidance, and consequently was not well prepared for the process. Learning from my experience, I am committed to making the process much easier for the students at Northeastern University. She can help students choose from the many excellent opportunities available at Northeastern to make their application the most competitive when applying to clinical programs. She is also available to educate students about the various degrees available for graduate training. Unlike other graduate tracks, there are many options available to students interested in clinical work 4

5 (see article below on Social Work). Prof. Cisewski can offer students assistance in deciding which degree will meet their educational and career goals, and in navigating the application process, from choosing graduate programs to helping them obtain recommendation letters and put together a competitive application. If you are interested in pursuing a career in clinical psychology, please contact her to discuss your academic plan and future goals. The earlier you get started, the better prepared you will be when you start applying to graduate programs. You can contact Prof. Cisewski at Introducing our Almost-new psychology staff member: Rebecca Schachter Hello, Psych NUws! I m Rebecca, the new (or notso-new, anymore!) Staff Assistant in the Psychology Department, and I work primarily with the graduate program and on the department website. I started at Northeastern back in the beginning of August, and I m thrilled to be here. Although my roots are in New York (I was born in Albany, grew up in Rochester, and have family all over the state), I m not new to the Boston area I attended Wellesley College, from which I graduated in 2011 with a major in English and a minor in psychology. At Wellesley, I was pretty heavily involved with residential life, serving as an RA for two years and a House President during my senior year, and admissions, where I had the opportunity to actually serve on the committee and help decide who would be admitted. These two experiences definitely helped me to realize how much I enjoyed working in a college/university environment, which was part of what led me to this position! I also spent my time at Wellesley volunteering with an early literacy program and tutoring for the English and computer science departments (the latter to no one s surprise more than my own, after an intro class I took just to fill a requirement ended up revealing that I had a pretty decent head for website design). My senior year, I became involved with the beginnings of a campaign to provide need-based stipends for students holding campus leadership positions, thus expanding the accessibility of those opportunities to students who might otherwise have had to turn them down in favor of paying jobs. This was something that, as a student leader myself, I felt very passionately about, and so I m pleased to say that our efforts were largely successful, and that students are still working to expand the program today. After graduation, I spent some time back in western New York, where I worked as an administrative assistant for the religious school at Temple Sinai in Rochester, while spending much of my free time plotting a move back to Boston, which I d fallen in love with during my time at Wellesley. Now that I ve returned, I m very excited to have joined the Northeastern community and the Psychology Department in particular. I m particularly enjoying the opportunity to work on the department website, and of course I ve loved getting to know everyone, even if it has taken me slightly longer to learn all of your names than I d like to admit! Having been a psych minor myself, I definitely fit right in here, and everyone s been incredibly welcoming. If I haven t met you yet, feel free to stop into 125 Nightingale and say hi I m the person at the front desk, and I d love to meet you! --Rebecca Schachter 5

6 Newest Psychology Staff Member: Sarah Brown We are happy to introduce Sarah Brown to you! Sarah divides her efforts between the Psychology Department and the Linguistics Program. Psych NUws asked Sarah to write about her background and it is exciting! If you have international postgraduate plans, you ll find her story inspiring: I joined Northeastern s Psychology Department and Linguistics Program in October, 2012 coming from a background and interest in psychology, experience with teaching, and a love for international travel and languages. In 2007 I graduated from Bucknell University, where I was a psychology major with a French minor. There I was one of the founding members of Bucknell s step team, rowed with the crew team, and volunteered teaching Hebrew at a local synagogue. With a passion for learning new languages I studied abroad in Senegal, West Africa where I sought fluency in French and learned the native language, Wolof, while studying the culture. I spent the following summer teaching English in France. Following my graduation I tutored in and around Dorchester, Mattapan and Malden, and tutored and mentored at an after-school program at Madison Park in Roxbury. I love tutoring math one-on-one, but left to participate as an inaugural faculty member at the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in Johannesburg, South Africa. I worked at the academy for its first three years and saw it develop tremendously. The academy recruits top students from all 54 countries in Africa and provides a rigorous academic curriculum, while requiring leadership, entrepreneurship, African studies, and community service. The audacious goal underlying the academy is to develop and encourage future positive leaders on the continent of Africa and I had the privilege of working with three class years worth of extraordinary and inspiring students. Upon graduation from the academy, students often attend top universities all over the world, and three of my former students are now at Northeastern! I am very pleased to run into them often. At ALA, I taught math, ran the Cultural Exchange Committee to put on cultural diversity shows and food fairs, advised students from all over Africa, and lived in a residential hall, supervising and running activities for about 25 female students. By chance I was in Johannesburg to witness the first World Cup in Africa. If you are interested in hearing more about the unique academy please feel free to ask me or check out africanleadershipacademy.org. Back in Boston following my three-year excursion, I am thrilled to be working for Northeastern University and it is a huge pleasure to be involved in the psychology and linguistics communities. In the mornings you can find me on the fifth floor of Nightingale as the Linguistics Program s sole administrator and in the afternoons I join Yvonne, Maribel, and Rebecca in supporting the Psychology Department, following long-term Administrative Assistant, Gwyneth s, retirement. Having traveled a lot and studied French, Wolof, Italian, Arabic, and Hebrew, I am particularly interested in linguistics and, of course, with a major in psychology I feel right at home. Thank you to everyone who has so kindly welcomed me here thus far and I look forward to meeting more new faces as you pass through 125 and 545 Nightingale this year! --Sarah Brown 6

7 News of Our Grads We publish short updates from our BA and BS grads because current undergrads can learn a lot from reading about the ups and downs of life after NU. Irina s path shows that one can build steadily and eventually get to a long-awaited goal. Irina Zilberfayn, 95 Here is a little bit about my path from Northeastern to now. I moved to Houston and started working as a preschool teacher and volunteered in a research lab at the University of Houston and applied to several clinical psychology and counseling programs. I was accepted into UH Clear Lake Counseling program that offered classes in the evenings, and I decided to go on with counseling training and continue working full time. I completed UHCL in 1998, found two postgraduate LPC (Licensed professional counseling) internship sites and completed all requirements and became licensed in I have been practicing as a professional counselor and enjoyed working in public schools. I have also continued doing research (my other passion) part time at Baylor College of Medicine at a neurocognitive lab for several years. I have also gotten into the field of Employee Assistance, continuing to expand my clinical experience, and I learned crisis intervention and short term counseling approaches. I am now working as a professional counselor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. And, good news I have been accepted into a Clinical Psychology program at Fielding University (it took me a long time). I have a 10 year old daughter and a three year old son. I will be juggling two kids activities, but I am so excited about being able to be in a psychology program and doing things that I wanted to do for a very long time. The Psychology of False Confessions: A Very Complex Psychology Indeed Social psychologist Saul Kassin has been studying confessions and that most fascinating subgroup, false confessions for many years. People really do falsely confess to doing things they did not do, even heinous crimes. False confessions are not a new or novel phenomenon and they occur on a regular basis in all parts of the world and in criminal justice, military, and corporate settings, said Prof. Kassin in a recent article in the American Psychologist.* False confessions can also be rather easily induced in laboratory experiments. Ironically, when people are innocent (in any setting), they trust that the system will find them innocent and they are much less on guard for manipulative tactics and less likely to censor their own self-damaging behavior during the process. They assume the physical evidence will exonerate them in the end, which paradoxically makes it easier for them to confess under pressure in the short term either to get relief ( Okay, I ll say I did it, but you ll see that I didn t ) or because they actually come to doubt themselves ( They told me I ve had a memory lapse but if I m innocent they ll find out from the evidence ). Sadly, the exoneration often does not come. Prof. Kassin has published many works probing the reasons why innocent people confess. Typically the confessor is not a crazy person or an attention seeker. False confessors are usually normal people who are manipulated by interrogators into doubting themselves or who don t behave in their own best interests because of their confidence in their innocence. Once police believe the suspect is guilty, they can 7

8 create an environment that overwhelms the suspect. Police may threaten and call the person a liar; police may say (falsely) that physical evidence was at the scene or that there were witnesses; they may tell the suspect that he/she is involuntarily repressing the gruesome deed. Police will even feed information about the crime scene to the suspect, which then turns up in the confession, seeming like sure proof that the suspect has guilty knowledge. Prof. Kassin s newest concern is with what the existence of a confession does to the criminal justice processes that follow. Once there is a confession, everyone behaves as though the case is closed. Police and prosecutors may skip steps in the process, such as recording interrogations, conducting hasty and flawed collection of evidence. They may stop seeking or even suppress evidence of innocence. Prosecutors sometimes deny the possibility of a confession being false and refuse to believe firm evidence such as DNA analysis. As Prof. Kassin said about one dramatic case of a college girl accused of murdering her roommate, once the stress, shock, and exhaustion of the interrogation produced a confession (which the suspected girl soon recanted), there was set into motion a hypothesis-confirming investigation, prosecution, and conviction. The girl was convicted of murder and spent four years in prison before she earned an acquittal, with the appeals court affirming there was no credible evidence, motive, or plausible theory of guilt. The psychology-rich question for Prof. Kassin is why police, prosecutors, judges, juries, and appeals courts routinely believe false confessions, even in the face of many warning signals of their falseness and they do, as shown in many documented cases. Once they do, the belief is extremely hard to reverse. Write something for psych nuws!! If it interests you, it will interest other people too!! UNDERGRADS! Write something about your psychology-related activities on or off campus. Or interview someone on a psychology topic. Or summarize an article you enjoyed reading. Science journalism and the narrower specialty of psychological science journalism is a growing career path! If you like writing and networking, become a contributor to Psych NUws. I would love to have an Assistant Editor! You can put it on your resume!! --Prof. Hall Psych NUws is a joint effort of the members and grads of the Northeastern University Psychology Department. Direct your inquiries and contributions to the Editor, Prof. Judith Hall * Why Confessions Trump Innocence, American Psychologist, September 2012, pp

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