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Message from the chair

Dear Alumni, Emeriti,
and Friends:

It's been a year of continued growth for the department, as we successfully recruited a new faculty member, Brennan Payne, through our participation in a transformative excellence program designed to galvanize research on the neural basis of behavior, learning, and memory.  The transformative excellence program is a partnership among the Departments of Psychology, Bioengineering, and Neurobiology and Anatomy, in collaboration with College of Social and Behavioral Science and the broader campus Neuroscience Initiative.  This program will ultimately bring three new faculty members to campus. Dr. Payne, who was recently named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, completed his PhD in the Cognitive Science of Teaching and Learning in 2014 at the University of Illinois and a postdoc at The Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois.  His work focuses on the understanding of language and memory systems across the adult lifespan.  Welcome, Brennan!

We also welcome Dr. Monika Lohani (PhD in Social and Developmental Psychology, Brandeis University, 2014; postdoc at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence), who has joined our department as a Research Assistant Professor working with the Strayer lab. Dr. Lohani's research focuses on emotion regulation, as well as the social-emotional aspects of human-machine interaction. She will be joining the faculty of the Department of Educational Psychology as an Assistant Professor in July 2018.





Baby Steps: Trauma & Resilience in Infancy

Ilse Dekoeyer-Laros is sponsoring a one-day conference on the subject of infant mental health in association with Utah Association for Infant Mental Health (UAIMH) at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan on Friday, January 26th from 9:30 AM to 3 PM. 

Link to website



We'd love to hear from you!

We're always glad to hear updates from alumni, emeriti, and friends. If you'd like to be featured in our newsletter, please send your biography and a photo to Angela Newman (

Lisa Aspinwall Receives
Irwin Altman Outstanding Psychology Faculty Award

The Irwin Altman Outstanding Psychology Faculty Award has been established by his family and supported by the university to recognize a faculty member in the Department of Psychology who exemplifies the combined values of teaching/mentoring, research/scholarship and service that Irwin Altman demonstrated throughout his career

The 2017 winner of the award was Dr. Lisa Aspinwall. Her research involves genetic risk notification and its effect on cancer prevention. She also studies positive and negative emotions, their effect on processing negative events, and how positive psychology impacts cancer survivorship and resilience.


Two Faculty Members Presented TEDx Talks in 2017

Samantha Joel and David Strayer have presented their findings on the national stage at a pair of TEDx events, one in Salt Lake City and another in Manhattan Beach, California. Each presentation focuses on a question central to the professors' studies, but explores the way the answers to those questions may help people in their daily lives.

Samantha Joel asks  whether romantic matching algorithms are possible, while David Strayer examines the restorative effect nature has on the mind.


Last Updated: 6/4/21