Faculty Research Interests

Jennifer Cooper

Professor Cooper welcomes students interested in researching educational applications of cognitive psychology. Students would have opportunities to engage with all areas of this research, from study design to working with the data and disseminating the results (i.e., publishing/presenting). Currently, Professor Cooper’s research is focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL), which is research focused on improving classroom experiences and student learning. In particular, her research plans include the effect of collaboration during tests on students’ learning and how retrieval practice affects learning.

Another area of research for Professor Cooper considers how reasoning and problem solving relates to interests, attitudes, and ability. In one set of questions, she has investigated the effect of diagrams on middle school and college students’ mathematical problem solving (Diagrams and pictures aren’t always helpful!), finding a critical role for students’ ability and attitude. In addition, her research has also looked into college students’ development of statistical literacy (Why are graphs hard to understand sometimes? How does learning statistics while doing a research project affect attitudes towards statistics and research?). Students with related interests are also encouraged to reach out to Prof Cooper about getting involved in research projects.

Bonnie Klentz

Professor Klentz’s interests in group decision making and the application of psychology to legal settings has led her to conduct research on jury decision making. Because of the four-camera, multiple-audio-track recording capabilities in the Psychology department research space, she is able to record mock juries deliberating to decide the guilt or innocence of a defendant. She is interested in examining how jurors discuss different types of evidence and the extent to which extralegal factors may influence decisions.

Students may be involved in designing the study, including preparing a “case” for the mock trial, running participants and observing deliberations, coding and analyzing data, preparing manuscripts for publication, and/or presenting the research at conferences. She conducts additional research projects examining group members’ ability to determine if their group has made a good decision (group metacognition).

John McCoy

Professor McCoy’s research is in collaboration with a research team at the Laboratory of Neuroscience at West Roxbury Veterans Affairs Hospital and affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

The laboratory conducts preclinical basic research focusing on a number of key questions related to sleep and wakefulness, such as:
1) How does the brain wake us up, put us to sleep and switch between
different states of sleep?
2) Which brain mechanisms make us sleepy when we stay awake for
prolonged periods?
3) Can we develop animal models of human sleep disorders or
4) What molecular, cellular and neurobehavioral changes are associated
with sleep loss/disruption?

Research internships in the laboratory are available to students on a competitive basis.

Jane Nash

As a cognitive psychologist, Jane Nash is interested in understanding complex thinking and learning. She is a collaborator at heart, so her research has taken her in various directions within this broad framework because of opportunities to collaborate with wonderful colleagues both at Stonehill and other universities. For example, she collaborated with Stonehill colleagues in computer science and chemistry as she tried to understand the structure of knowledge in these domains and how students’ knowledge changes during a college course in these topic areas. She also collaborated with a Stonehill colleague in economics as they explored several studies in behavioral economics, an interdisciplinary field of study that applies psychological insights into human behavior to explain economic decision-making. Most recently, she collaborated with a developmental psychologist at Bryant University as they investigated children’s perceptions of peers with an illness and factors that might influence these evaluations such as peer acceptance and their knowledge of the illness.

Erin O’Hea

Professor O’Hea has been conducted a number of cancer related studies, funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health. Her research has examined psychosocial interventions to help individuals living with cancer, cancer survivorship planning and quality of life in women ending treatment for breast cancer. Professor O’Hea has also received grant funding for her work in health disparities as she is interested in how race/ethnicity and gender impacts health, disease, and access to health care. Professor O’Hea presently works with colleagues at University of Michigan and Wake Forest developing a group intervention for food addiction. Finally, Professor O’Hea and some Stonehill students are examining COVID-19 and its impact on mental health and health behaviors in college students. Students would have opportunities to assist with all areas of these on-campus projects, including study design, recruitment of participants, running of participants and disseminating findings through conference presentations or publications.

Lillian Reuman

Symptoms of anxiety and traumatic stress – ranging from occasional exam-related stress to clinically significant OCD or PTSD – are common among college students. These symptoms also occur within an interpersonal system; friends and family members often become involved in helpful (and unhelpful!) ways. A primary goal of my current research is to better understand college students’ experiences of anxiety and explore the ways in which education and skills training for the individual and their close social contacts (e.g., roommates, teammates, family members) may help to address anxiety and related concerns. To carry out this line of work, my students and I use mixed methods (e.g., surveys, interviews, and focus groups) to inform a brief, accessible intervention that promotes well-being. Ongoing projects include the SAVE (Student Anxiety Views and Experiences) and PAVE (Parent Anxiety Views and Experiences) studies.

Students in the Partnering with Anxiety Lab (P.A.L.) are involved in developing this program of research in various ways. For example, students contribute to designing the studies and associated materials (e.g., survey and interview development), preparing materials for Institutional Review Board (IRB) review, collecting data (e.g., interviewing), analyzing data (e.g., coding), and preparing manuscripts for publication.

Contact us with any questions.

Erin O'Hea

Erin O'Hea

Professor of Psychology, Department Chair