May 11, 2021

Liss, Erchull Discuss Selfie Behaviors on ‘With Good Reason’

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professors of Psychological Science Miriam Liss and Mindy Erchull will discuss their research on selfie behaviors and self-esteem on “With Good Reason” show on Saturday, May 1 through Friday, May 7. With Good Reason airs Sundays at 2 p.m. on Fredericksburg’s Radio IQ 88.3 Digital and at various times throughout the week on stations across Virginia and the United States. Check the website for show times.

Professor of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull

Professor of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull

Entertain Us

More and more often, celebrities are home-grown in front of a ring light and iPhone. As viewers keep scrolling past these insta-celebs, they’re starting to see themselves differently. Miriam Liss and Mindy Erchull (University of Mary Washington) say we compare ourselves to what we see despite knowing all that glitters isn’t gold. And: Have you been running to Twitter to cope with the crazy news cycle over the past year? John Brummette (Radford University) says it’s a common coping mechanism.

Later in the show: Long before social media, there was cancel culture. Carolyn Eastman (University of Virginia) reminds us of Mr. O, the first “cancelled” celebrity you’ve probably never heard of. Plus: Matthew Turner (Radford University) says that all comedy is an inside joke, but some jokes span generations.

Audio files of the full program and its companion news feature will be posted the week of the show to our website: https://www.withgoodreasonradio.org.

Kolar Discusses the Pandemic’s Impact on Personality

Professor of Psychological Science David Kolar

Professor of Psychological Science David Kolar

Professor of Psychological Science David Kolar weighed in on an article in The Alpena News in Michigan how the pandemic and isolation can impact personality.

David Kolar, a psychology professor at the University of Mary Washington, said personalities remain relatively consistent throughout our lifetime.

“While personality certainly can change with age, we tend to keep our rank order on a trait,” he said. “For example, while research shows that we tend to get more conscientious as we get older, people who had higher levels of conscientiousness compared to others at younger ages tend to still have higher levels of conscientiousness compared to their peers as they get older.” Read more. 

David Rettinger: On His Honor

As a student, David Rettinger witnessed his peers cheating. Sometimes he even felt tempted to do it himself.

Instead, he dedicated his career to understanding the psychology behind academic misconduct.

Professor of Psychological Science and Director of Academic Integrity Programs David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science and Director of Academic Integrity Programs David Rettinger

A professor of psychological science at University of Mary Washington since 2006, Rettinger also serves as director of Academic Integrity Programs and faculty advisor to UMW’s Honor Council.

“My mother was a market researcher, so I’ve always been interested in studying human behavior,” said Rettinger, who hails from New York City and earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a master’s and Ph.D. from University of Colorado.

When he first began teaching, Rettinger had a colleague who was researching academic integrity. Fascinated, he decided to apply his own methods to the field. “That led to some collaborative projects on cheating, and my interest has never faded.”

Rettinger’s passion for studying plagiarism led to a two-year stint as president of the International Center for Academic Integrity. He currently chairs ICAI’s Research and Assessment Committee, where his work on an international student survey comes at a critical juncture, given the rise in contract cheating websites and complex challenges caused by remote learning. The combination of stress, lack of support and looser academic structures have made cheating more tempting for students, he said.

Rather than placing all the blame on technology, Rettinger said it’s important to address the disconnect that often happens between faculty and students regarding assessments and expectations. At UMW, for example, the Honor Council has added more faculty advisors in the last decade to guide students in making good decisions moving forward, he said, resulting in fewer repeat offenders.

“We often meet students on their worst day of their college careers. It’s rewarding to know we can help them learn from their mistakes and grow.”

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I used to lead canoe trips for pre-teens and still keep in touch with many of them decades later.

Q: You’ve tweeted a lot of famous chefs. Have you ever gotten a response?
A: Tom Colicchio (from Top Chef) shared some advice with my daughter, who is learning to cook. I see cooking as a window into the cultures and lives of people around the world. I’ve also reached out to Michael Twitty, a food scholar and chef with local ties, whom I look to on social media to help expand my world, rather than stay in my own echo chamber.

Q: What’s the best thing you’ve cooked during quarantine?
A: I experimented with a Thai curry that was very memorable. I think it was the full-fat coconut milk.

Q: What do you like best about the UMW campus?
A: On a warm Friday afternoon, the buzz on Campus Walk is just magical.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: I have a hand-woven carpet I bought in Kathmandu on a study abroad trip to Nepal. It reminds me of fun times of the past and those to come.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: The summer camp where I went as a kid and worked during college has one I’ve adopted: “Help the other fellow.”

Wilson Comments on Boulder Grocery Store Shooting

Laura Wilson, associate professor of psychology

Laura Wilson, associate professor of psychology

Associate Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson was interviewed on the March 22 grocery store shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the North Arkansas Democrat Gazette article entitled, “A closed door, and a prayer: Woman hid as man fired shots in Colorado.”

[Wilson] has focused on post-trauma functioning from mass trauma. She says most people’s exposure and understanding of mass shootings consists of the immediate aftermath.

“They see the news coverage of the crime scene and watch the investigators’ news briefing,” Wilson said. “Within a few days the news trucks leave and people’s attention turns to the next major news event. This is when the grief and recovery work starts for the survivors.”

Wilson said every person will process the events differently. Some will have intense, acute reactions that subside in a few days or weeks. Effects could be chronic for others, and some experience delayed reactions.

“Each person is different, and their recovery will look different,” she said. Read more.

Rettinger Quoted in Forbes Article

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger, who is also director of UMW’s Academic Integrity Programs, was quoted in a Forbes.com article entitled “If You Can’t Stand the Cheat, Get Out of the Kitchen.”

As David Rettinger of University of Mary Washington noted on The Key, “If you’re going to give a 50 question multiple choice test, that’s pretty much the most cheatable possible assignment online. Even if you just change that to 10 five-question multiple choice quizzes, you’ve made it less likely that students will cheat, because you’ve reduced the stakes and the pressure.” Read more.

Rettinger Comments on Cheating During Remote Learning in Teen Vogue

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger, who is also the director of Academic Integrity at UMW, recently contributed to a Teen Vogue article about remote learning and the rise of cheating.

“I call it a game of whack-a-mole,” says David Rettinger, president emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) and director of academic integrity at the University of Mary Washington. New sites are constantly rising in popularity, he explains, making it harder for professors to prevent students from seeking answers online, especially now. Read more.

Dr. Rettinger also offered comments on the West Point cheating scandal:

West Point Honor Code Under Scrutiny as the Military Academy Grapples with Another Cheating Scandal (WSHU)

Most of the West Point Cadets Who Cheated on A Virtual Exam Will Be Allowed to Remain Enrolled (WVIK)

Rettinger Appears on Inside Higher Ed Podcast

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger was a guest on Inside Higher Ed’s The Key podcast. Rettinger, who is the director of academic integrity programs at UMW and president emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity, discussed issues of cheating, test proctoring tools and academic misconduct.

Miriam Liss: Research Persistent

After her first interview for an academic position – at Mary Washington – Miriam Liss knew right away she wanted the job.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

“It was so much fun. I loved everything about it,” said Liss, who earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut. “The people were wonderful. The students were wonderful. The town was charming.”

That was 20 years ago. Since then, she has risen in rank from assistant to full professor in the Department of Psychological Science. This fall, she’ll take on the role of chair.

Along the way, her life has woven itself into her work, which always focuses on students. With them, and with many fellow faculty members, she’s explored and published on myriad topics, from feminist identity and body image to sensory processing and self-injury. When Liss became a mother herself – to Emily, 12, and Daniel, 14 – her research turned toward the subject of parenting.

More recently, she’s embraced the concept of mindfulness. The results of a three-year study – with UMW professors Mindy Erchull, Dan Hirshberg, Angela Pitts and David Ambuel – appear in the current issue of The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry. Their research, a collaboration between the departments of Classics, Philosophy and Religious Studies, along with Psychological Science, found decreased levels of depression and anxiety in students who take UMW’s Contemplative Practice course.

Miriam Liss has pursued a wide range of research at UMW, involving students every step of the way. Results of a recent study conducted with felllow faculty members were published in the current edition of 'The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry.'

Miriam Liss has pursued a wide range of research at UMW, involving students every step of the way. Results of a recent study conducted with felllow faculty members were published in the current edition of ‘The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry.’

Liss hopes to instill the idea of mindfulness, and its effects on mental wellness, at an even earlier age, by collaborating with Mary Washington students and a social worker at Spotsylvania’s Riverview Elementary School to implement a first-grade curriculum. She’s guiding her research team to get the program off the ground and evaluate its effects, and to explore how mindfulness might protect against a variety of mental health outcomes in college students.

From the first course she taught, after that “fun” and fortuitous interview, to the classes she’s teaching, virtually, this semester – Psychology of Women, using the textbook she wrote with Erchull, and Abnormal Psychology – students have remained front and center.

“That’s one of the things I like so much about Mary Washington,” Liss said. “We’re allowed to develop our research agenda in any way we want as long as we’re involving students.”

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Working with students, especially my research students, and allowing their interests, along with my own, to shape what I do. Over the years I’ve worked with so many amazing students.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: Balancing everything. Sometimes I feel like I have so many balls in the air I’m afraid I’m going to drop one.

Q: Any big plans as department chair?
A: My colleagues and I have been working to develop a course through the Department of Psychological Science to prepare students for careers after college.

Q: What’s the one thing people would be most surprised to learn about you?
A: They might be surprised to know how involved I’ve been with theater. I made my Fredericksburg début in 2015 as the mother in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I love singing. I can do a mean show tune. My true fantasy is to retire and get on the stage.

Q: Any mottos you live by?
A: Don’t get so tangled up in your thoughts. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Also, I have a general motto of self-acceptance. We’re all going to mess up. It’s OK. We can still love all the parts of ourselves, not just the great parts.

Rettinger Comments in New York Times

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger, who is also Director of Academic Integrity Programs at UMW, offered comments for a New York Times article entitled, “Backlash Over Leniency at West Point After 73 Cadets Are Accused of Cheating.”

“It’s a complex tug of war,” he said. “You have emerging adults who genuinely want to serve their country at the highest levels. It’s heartfelt and honorable. Some may say to themselves, ‘Am I going to allow calculus to be the thing that keeps me from being the patriot I am?’ or, ‘Am I going to let the fellow cadet fall behind?’ From that point of view, they don’t necessarily see cheating as an unalloyed bad thing.” Read more.

Rettinger Discusses Cheating on Enrollment Growth University Podcast

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger

Professor of Psychological Science David Rettinger, who is director of Academic Integrity Programs at UMW, was a guest on the Enrollment Growth University podcast. According to the podcast’s website, he discussed “changing the incentives altogether and prevent the very need for online cheating in the first place.” Listen here.