Special Beacon Project Colloquium: “How do Moral Beacons Foster Community?”

by on April 28, 2018

The colloquium speakers and discussion panel.

 

Do moral beacons enable people to work across differences that exist across different communities (as moral beacons such as Martin Luther King Jr. did), or does the current climate mean that our silo-ed communities are doomed to have their own moral beacons? Can “moral beacons” foster positive societal change? Does a lack of moral beacons in contemporary society indicate deeper problems in our community? (From Beacon homepage, see:  http://www.moralbeacons.org/wfu-reading-groups/community/

These questions and more are some of the issues discussed at the Beacon Project special colloquium, April 17th & 18th   A notable panel of speakers included: Larissa MacFarquhar, staff writer at the New Yorker; Deo Niyizonkiza, Rwandan genocide survivor and protagonist of Tracy Kidder’s book “Strength in What Remains”; and Larry Walker, Professor of Psychology at University of British Columbia, Moral Psychology Research Knowledge Expert.

 

 Each speaker provided unique insights into the issues surrounding how the morally exceptional may play a positive role in fostering character and community development.

 

The event was sponsored by the Templeton Religion Trust Foundation, Rethinking Community and the Provost Office of WFU.

A Stellar Spring for Professor R. Michael Furr

by on April 27, 2018

 

Professor  Furr was on research leave this spring, but he has been VERY busy, indeed!

 

 

The semester began with the release of the 3rd edition of his book:  PSYCHOMETRICS. In this text, he takes a “meaning approach” to concepts,  rather than a  “how to” handbook. He describes his goal as introducing psychometric principles at a deeper and more focused level

than in many texts, and his approach more intuitive than traditionally found in technical publications.

 

Following on the heels of the release of his book, Anna Hartley (former postdoc with the Beacon Project, now a Senior Research Manager with Amazon) and Professor Furr received the Society of Personality Assessment’s Walter F Klopfer award for distinguished contributions to the literature in personality assessment.
The paper was recognized for the best empirical paper published in the Journal of Personality Assessment in 2017. The award was presented  at the recent (March 2018) conference of the Society for Personality Assessment.

 

 

Not long thereafter, Dr.  Furr was selected as the very first recipient of the newly established Annual Psychology Alumni Award at UC Riverside.
 
Dr. Furr received his doctorate from University of California, Riverside in 2000. He will travel back there to address their department and be

Professor  Furr was on research leave this spring, but he has been VERY busy, indeed!

 

 

The semester began with the release of the 3rd edition of his book:  PSYCHOMETRICS. In this text, he takes a “meaning approach” to concepts,  rather than a  “how to” handbook. He describes his goal as introducing psychometric principles at a deeper and more focused level than in many texts, and his approach more intuitive than traditionally found in technical publications.

 

Following on the heels of the release of his book, Anna Hartley (former postdoc with the Beacon Project, now a Senior Research Manager with Amazon) and Professor Furr received the Society of Personality Assessment’s Walter F Klopfer award for distinguished contributions to the literature in personality assessment.
The paper was recognized for the best empirical paper published in the Journal of Personality Assessment in 2017. The award was presented  at the recent (March 2018) conference of the Society for Personality Assessment.

 

 

Not long thereafter, Dr.  Furr was selected as the very first recipient of the newly established Annual Psychology Alumni Award at UC Riverside.
 
Dr. Furr received his doctorate from University of California, Riverside in 2000. He will travel back there to address their department and receive this award in September.

 

Dr. Furr was also a part of the Beacon Project’s Special Colloquium series on the community impact of Moral Beacons (See upcoming article on this site and http://www.moralbeacons.org/wfu-reading-groups/community/ )

 

Congratulations Dr. Furr!

 

 

honored withthis award in September.

 

Dr. Furr was also a part of the Beacon Project’s Special Colloquium series on the community impact of Moral Beacons (See upcoming article on this site and http://www.moralbeacons.org/wfu-reading-groups/community/ )

 

Congratulations Dr. Furr!

 

 

 

 

 

The Beacon Project announces a special colloquium series: April 17th and 18th

by on April 6, 2018

The Beacon Project announces an upcoming colloquium at Hanesbrand Theater in Winston-Salem, NC on Tuesday April 17th and Wednesday 18th, 2018. Registration is required (see link below). If you would like a copy of either of the author’s books, please stop by the Beacon Project Lab Room 419.

 

Speakers are:

Larissa MacFarquhar, staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. Her subjects have included John Ashbery, Barack Obama, and Noam Chomsky, among many others. She is the author of “Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help.”

Deogratias Niyizonkiza, protagonist of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder’s bestselling book Strength in What Remains, Deogratias (“Deo”). Deo was a medical student in Burundi during the ethnic civil war between the Hutus and the Tutsis.

Larry Walker, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia. Dr. Walker’s program of research focuses on the psychology of moral development, particularly in terms of moral reasoning, personality, motivation, and identity.

Topic:

Do moral beacons enable people to work across differences that exist across different communities (as moral beacons such as Martin Luther King Jr. did), or does the current climate mean that our silo-ed communities are doomed to have their own moral beacons? Can “moral beacons” foster positive societal change? Does a lack of moral beacons in contemporary society indicate deeper problems in our community? We believe that the time is ripe for a discussion of the role “moral beacons” have in fostering community and dialogue across different communities, as well as their place in contemporary society.

Schedule:

Tuesday April 17

5:30 – 6pm Refreshments provided by Providence Restaurant and Catering

6pm – 6:10 Opening Remarks

6:10 – 6:50 Larry Walker, Professor of Psychology at University of British Columbia, Moral Psychology Research Knowledge Expert

7:00 – 7:40 Deo Niyizonkiza, protagonist of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder’s bestselling book Strength in What Remains

7:40 – 8:00 Reception, books for sale by Bookmarks

Registration for Tuesday April 17

 

 

Wednesday April 18

5:30 – 6pm Refreshments provided by Providence Restaurant and Catering

6:00 – 6:05 Opening Remarks

6:05 – 7:00 Larissa MacFarquhar, the author of “Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help”

7:15 – 8:00 Panel Discussion with all speakers

8:00 – 8:30 Book Signing, books for sale by Bookmarks

Registration for Wednesday April 18

Event is sponsored by Wake Forest University, the Templeton Religion Trust, and the ReThinking Community Initiative.

Contact Kathleen Stimely, Beacon Project Program Manager at beacon@wfu.edu for more information.

We are saddened by the loss of our esteemed colleague and friend, Professor James Schirillo

by on April 4, 2018

Professor James Schirillo

 

We are saddened to announce that James A. Schirillo, former professor of psychology, died March 31.

The memorial will be at St.Annes Episcopal Church on Friday April 20 @1:00pm.

Donations can be made to St Anne’s Episcopal Church or K B Reynolds Hospice Home.”

Professor Schirillo joined Wake Forest’s psychology faculty in 1996.

We grieve Professor Schirillo’s death and extend our condolences to his family and friends, as well as those at Wake Forest who had the opportunity to know him.

Wake Forest offers support and counseling services for all students, faculty and staff.  The Counseling Center may be reached at 336-758-5273, the Chaplain’s Office at 336-758-5210.  For faculty and staff, there is also the Employee Assistance Program at 336-716-5493.

 

Dr. James Schirillo started his career as a psychologist at Franklin and Marshall College, majoring in 1979 in clinical-behavioral psychology. He worked as a counselor after graduation until 1985, but then, deciding that scientific work would be more to his taste, came to study for his PhD with Adam Reeves at Northeastern University, essaying an older interest in visual perception sparked by Eugene Wist at Franklin and Marshall. His 1990 PhD thesis work on pi-mechanisms of color vision revealed inter alia that middle-wave cone isolated stimuli, when briefly flashed just above threshold, evoke not green sensations, but blue ones (Schirillo & Reeves, CRA, 2001). He also began studies of color constancy and achromatic perception with Larry Arend, finding especially that lightness and brightness differ fundamentally in how they depend on perceived depth (Schirillo et al., P&P, 1991). In 1991 Jim transferred to the lab of Steven Shevell at the University of Chicago, where as a post-doc he studied chromatic induction and the role of articulation on the perception of brightness and illumination (keynote: ECVP, Trieste, 1998; Schirillo & Shevell, Perception, 2002). Jim joined the Department of Psychology at Wake Forest University in 1996.  He regularly taught courses in Perception and Physiological Psychology, as well as specialty seminars that intersected with his interests in the arts and the philosophy of mind, such as the Psychology of Art and Psychological Utopias.  He was driven by a strong desire to understand aesthetics and emotional responses to art and architecture; for instance, he applied his knowledge of perception and brain lateralization to help understand human emotional responses to the portraits of Rembrandt and the paintings of Mondriaan.  Jim also mentored undergraduate and Master’s-level students in research that examined interactions between visual and auditory perception (Schirillo, AP&P, 2011).  Altogether, Dr. Schirillo published more than 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts.  Many of those publications arose from research accomplished with his students, several of whom developed scientific careers of their own. He delighted in his work with his students, and they fondly remember his warm, patient and demanding mentorship style.  His work earned him the rank of Full Professor at Wake Forest University in 2009.  Jim died on March 30th, 2018, of kidney failure. He will be deeply missed, by his family, his church, his students, and his colleagues.

Professor J.V. Petrocelli’s recent research highlighted in public and professional press

by on March 26, 2018

.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal (March 19th:  See BS meter copied above)

In the digital age, misinformation—from nonsense to lies—spreads faster than ever and is becoming an area of serious research

Understanding the causes and consequences of B.S. is a recent theme in recent research conducted by  John V. Petrocelli, Ph.D., Scott Family Faculty Associate Professor of Psychology., and this work is recently highlighted in both academic and popular press.

You can read his scientific research on this topic: The Antecedents of Bullshitting, (in press) in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology ….   AND recently discussed in….March 19th, The Wall Street Journal: “Fine tune your BS detector: You’ll need it”  

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fine-tune-your-b-s-detector-youll-need-it-1521471721.

 

Professor Petrocelli recently chaired a SPSP symposium: “Bullshitting:Empirical and Experiential Examinations on Pervasive Social Behavior” (2018 meeting of the Society of Social & Personality Psychology, Atlanta, GA).   In this symposium, Dr. Petrocelli explained that:

 

Bullshitting involves communicating with little to no regard for evidence

or truth. Very little is known, empirically, about this seemingly pervasive

social behavior. This symposium demonstrates the value of understanding

bullshitting by examining its antecedents and consequences, when people

are receptive and sensitive to it, and conditions under which people identify

it for what it is.   JVP,


 

Angelica Puzio (WFU MA, 2017) receives the Judith L. Gibbons Award

by on March 15, 2018

  Angelica Puzio (WFU MA, 2017) was recently awarded the Judith L. Gibbons Award for Research on Culture and GenderThe award was presented  at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for  Cross-Cultural Research, February 21-21, 2018, in a symposium titled: Gender Socialization in Context: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Empowerment of Women and Girls.

The award  was based on research conducted for her WFU Master’s thesis, The Socialization of the Adolescent Voice: Self-Silencing as an Expression of Culture and Context –thesis advisor:  Deborah L. Best.   Ms. Puzio is presently a PhD student at NYU.

Judith L. Gibbons Award for Research on Culture and Gender

This award is in honor of long time SCCR member Dr. Judith L. Gibbons, Professor Emerita of Psychology at Saint Louis University. The award is given yearly to a graduate student or early career professional (within 7 years of receiving their PhD) who presents research on culture and gender at the annual SCCR meeting.

Professors Jayawickreme and Masicampo recognized for excellence in teaching and research!!!

by on

We were thrilled to learn that two or our colleagues were honored at Convocation for their excellence in research and teaching. Professor Masicampo received the Reid-Doyle Prize for Excellence in Teaching  and Dr. Jayawickreme received the Excellence in Research Award. Congratulations to Drs. Masicampo and Jayawickeme!

Former honor student presents Faculty Distinguished Lecture – Professor Cynthia Edwards

by on

Professor Cynthia Edwards, a former Honor student in psychology, presented the Faculty Distinguished Lecture at Meredith College earlier this year.  Her presentation was titled: “Mix Your Own Palette: The Power of Friendships to Color Your Future” in which she will present results from her longitudinal research program on the role of family and peer social support in mediating the stressors associated with adolescent and early adult life transitions.

Following graduation from Wake, Professor Edwards received her PhD in Developmental Psychology at UNC. She joined the faculty at Meredith College in 1991,where she is the head of the department of Psychology and Social Work She is also guiding the development of a new graduate program in I/O psychology.

Professor Terry Blumenthal named APS Fellow

by on February 8, 2018

Professor Terry Blumenthal was recently recognized as a  Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

 

“Fellow status is awarded to APS Members who have made sustained outstanding contributions to the science of psychology in the areas of research, teaching, service and/or application.” (APS website)

Dr. Terry Blumenthal has worked with the startle reflex for many years, and he advises and consults with labs all over the world in how to use startle in their research. Some of the recent questions and applications for which Dr. Blumenthal has advised other labs, all involving the startle response, include:

–          A better diagnostic for tinnitus (“ear ringing”)

–          Predicting the probability of a second suicide attempt in first-attempt survivors

–          Using plants to decrease stress in astronauts living in space habitats

–          Making atrial defibrillators less painful

–          Protecting information processing in telephone and online marketing environments

–          Keeping grey seals away from commercial fish feeders

–          Decreasing the pain of dental procedures

–          Information processing changes in cocaine addicts

–          Effects of divorce during childhood on subsequent anxiety sensitivity in adulthood

–          Police officer reactions during and after a gun-related incident

–          Mindfulness as an inoculation against anxiety

 

Congratulations for this well-deserved honor!

 

C

Wake Forest Fellows

by on January 22, 2018

 

Wake Forest Fellows

 

Nine seniors will remain in the Wake Forest campus community after graduation  as Wake Forest Fellows. Six of these nine new Fellows are Psychology majors or minors. They will work across the campus, including in the offices of the President, the Provost and the Dean of the College.

Since 2008, the Wake Forest Fellows program has provided exceptional Wake Forest college graduates with the opportunity to work in higher education administration for a year. Each fellow will serve as a full-time Wake Forest staff member, starting this summer. In addition to working with top administrators, the fellows will participate in leadership activities and interact with faculty, staff and students to learn about the inner workings of higher education.

The Wake Forest Fellows for 2017-18 are:

  • Campus Life: Allison Chambers, Raleigh, psychology/minor, health and human services
  • Dean of the College: Anita Patel, Winston-Salem, health and exercise science/minor, chemistry and psychology
  • Information Systems: Elliot McCoy, Silver Spring, Md., economics/minor, psychology
  • Officer of Personal and Career Development: John Idzick, Atlanta, psychology/minor, health and human services
  • Pro Humanitate Institute: Cazandra Rebollar, Elon, psychology/minor, Latin American and Latino studies
  • President’s Office: Sydney Feinglass, Charlotte, economics/minors, French studies and philosophy
  • Provost’s Office: Mia Harris, Chicago, biology/minors, neuroscience and psychology
  • Reynolda House: Ashley Laughlin, Reno, Nevada, English and French/minor, creative writing
  • Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Frank Dy, Fayetteville, economics

Alumni of the Wake Forest Fellows program have pursued careers in many fields, including law, medicine, public policy and more.  Fellows have since received prestigious academic honors such as Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships.