October 25, 2021

Liss Interviewed by WalletHub.com on Women’s Equality

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss was interviewed for a WalletHub.com article entitled “2021’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality.”

The US is currently ranked 87th globally when it comes to the gender gap in health and survival. What is driving this? What should be done to close this gap?

One factor driving this is the fact that health insurance and access to healthcare are contingent on employment. If we had a universal health care system, women who are not working or are underemployed would have better access to healthcare and better health outcomes. Women are much more likely than men to live in poverty and often must make tough choices about paying for healthcare and paying for other needs such as food or diapers for their children. Thus, their own healthcare and well-being often get sacrificed. Other policies that would help close the gap would be universal childcare because women often cannot seek preventative care because they do not have adequate childcare. Read more.

2021’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality (WalletHub)

Liss Discusses How Being ‘Quirky’ Makes People Seem More Attractive With BBC.com

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss was quoted in a BBC.com article entitled, “Why ‘quirky’ people are attractive.”

Subtle differences in our appearance can make a big difference. Slight changes in dress make women seem more trustworthy, competent or attractive. As psychologist Miriam Liss of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and her co-authors found, to look honest and competent in a career setting, or even electable as a politician, a woman must dress conservatively and not sexily. Read more.

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.

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.

UMW Presents Top Faculty Awards

The University of Mary Washington bestowed honors on several professors at the general faculty meeting on Monday.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award, presented by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger.

Established in honor of 1952 alumna Shirley Van Epps Waple, the nomination-based award recognizes instructors who have made significant contributions to their scholarly or creative area of expertise. The recipient must be a full-time faculty member for at least seven years.

“Exemplifying the UMW teacher-scholar model,” Liss has coauthored published research with more than 40 students in her two decades at Mary Washington, presented at numerous professional conferences and written several books, Mellinger said. “In the words of her department chair, Liss’s ‘ongoing record of stellar and consistent professional activity places her in the very top tier of our talented faculty.’”

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award.

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award.

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award for her contributions to the University and her involvement and leadership in the greater community. Since 2003, this award has been presented annually to a member of the full-time teaching faculty who has served at UMW for at least seven years and has a significant record of service accomplishments.

In her 28 years at Mary Washington, Poska has served on or chaired over 20 university committees, said Assistant Professor of Biology Parrish Waters, who presented the award.

She also helped establish UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies major, serving as chair for six years. Poska “elevated the program’s stature through impactful speakers, a student research forum and making it an integral and essential part of the UMW experience,” Waters said.

In the community, Poska “brings a strong voice to advocate for those who may otherwise go unheard,” said Waters, citing her service to local organizations like Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, Empowerhouse and the Fredericksburg Food Bank.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award.

Several awards traditionally given at Commencement were also presented, with the exception of the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award, which will later be selected by the Class of 2020.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious honor for excellence in undergraduate teaching, given to a senior faculty member.

Known for “extremely challenging but exceptionally creative courses,” Davies creates materials and assignments tailored specifically for his students, said Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, who presented the annual award. He’s also authored three textbooks that have been adopted by other UMW instructors for their classes, she said.

“He treated my knowledge with respect and curiosity,” said one of Davies’ students, “driving home for me the important lesson that the most learned people always seek to expand their knowledge and are humble about whom they learn from.”

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, presented annually to an exceptional member of the faculty who has served the institution for at least two years but no more than five.

Praising Wynn’s empathy and enthusiasm as both a faculty member and director of UMW’s First-Year Experience, Andrew Dolby, University Faculty Council chair, presented the award to his colleague. “[Wynn] is thoughtful, diligent and meticulous in carrying out every service or obligation she agrees to take on,” Dolby said.

“She is a fantastic professor and a truly wonderful person,” said one of Wynn’s students. “Her classes are streamlined, organized and hyper-efficient – but boy, are they fun!”

John Burrow, a lecturer in the College of Business (COB), was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award, showcasing an exceptional full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate teaching and professional leadership in a graduate program. The person selected must have served in a full-time position at UMW for at least two years.

John Burrow, a lecturer in the College of Business, was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award.

College of Business Lecturer John Burrow was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award.

Presenting the award, COB Dean Lynne Richardson quoted a recent student, who said that “everyone respects and thinks highly of Burrow.”

At UMW, Burrow has established relationships with local organizations to provide real world challenges for his students, Richardson said. He also helped create a project management certificate and MBA opportunities for cohort classes at the Dahlgren Campus, she said, “extending the reach” and “enhancing the brand” of both UMW and COB.

Erchull, Liss Win Award for ‘Psychology of Women and Gender’ Textbook

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professor of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull

Professor of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull

Professors of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull and Miriam Liss, along with co-author Kate Richmond, won the 2020 Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology for their textbook published last year by Norton: Psychology of Women and Gender.

The Distinguished Publication Award is given in recognition of significant and substantial contributions of research and theory that advance our understanding of the psychology of women and promote achievement of the goals of the Association for Women in Psychology (AWP). Every year since 1977, AWP has given one or more awards for books and/or articles published the prior year that make a significant contribution to feminist psychology. The book by Erchull, Liss and Richmond is the most recent in a body of distinguished publications to merit such an honor. The authors have also been invited to present an award address at the 2021 virtual AWP conference. Learn more about the award here:  https://www.awpsych.org/distinguished_publication.php.

Liss’ Intensive Parenting Study Featured in Refinery29.com Series

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Psychology Professor Miriam Liss’ study on intensive parenting was featured in an article on Refinery29.com as part of a series entitled “No Bad Moms.” The article states that modern mothers are chastised whenever they speak openly about being the “center of their own world”

Not only is this narrow definition of motherhood stifling, it’s also harmful. In a study on the effects of intensive parenting — a style of over-involved parenting where moms and dads heavily involve themselves in all the decisions and aspects of a child’s life, leaving little space for the parent to exist outside the child — University of Mary Washington psychologist Miriam Liss found that women who believed parenting should be child-centered had reduced life satisfaction. Read more.

Selfies and Mental Health (WVTF)

Liss, Erchull Study on Selfies and Self-Objectification Featured on WVTF

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professors of Psychological Science Miriam Liss and Mindy Erchull’s recent study into selfies and self-objectification among young women was recently featured on WVTF 88.3 Radio IQ.

YouTube is loaded with videos advising young women on how to take a good selfie.

“You just have to find your good side. Like this is my good side, but this side is a no!” says one.

Professor of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull

Professor of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull

Which is why psychology professor Miriam Liss chose to take a closer look. She and her colleague Mindy Erchull studied 165 female students at their school – the University of Mary Washington. They found some girls took as many as 30 selfies before posting one.

“They’re thinking ‘How does my body look? Is my tummy looking big, are my arms flabby, does my nose look too big?’” she explains. “We’re often putting ourselves in a state of self-objectification.”

And that could lead to serious psychological problems: eating disorders, depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, a loss of a sense of flow, which is the ability to be in the moment and enjoy what you’re doing. Read more.