Psychology Faculty Mentors

Rebecca Brand, Ph.D

University of Oregon, 2002
Associate Professor of Psychology
Office: TOL 333; Phone: 610-519-7940
E-mail: rebecca.brand@villanova.edu

Dr. Brand’s areas of expertise are General psychology, Developmental Psychology, and research methods.  Her areas of interest are Developmental Psychology, Infant Social Cognition, "Motionese" or Infant-Directed Action, and Evolutionary Psychology.

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Michael Brown, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley, 1985
Professor of Psychology
Office: TOL M-52; Phone: 610-519-4748
E-mail: michael.brown@villanova.edu
Web site: http://www.homepage.villanova.edu/michael.brown

Dr. Brown’s research interests are in the area of animal learning and animal cognition. He uses
the results of behavioral experiments to make inferences about the systems controlling simple
behavior and behavioral change. Recently, his efforts have focused on spatial memory in rats
and honeybees. His students study rats in several laboratory procedures, including the radial-arm maze. He is interested in determining the nature of the representations and decision processes used in spatial tasks. The honeybee work has centered on the question of whether honeybees use a working memory system similar to the one that has been shown to exist in many species of vertebrates. This work has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation.

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Charles Folk, Ph.D.

Johns Hopkins University, 1987
Professor of Psychology
Office: TOL 252; Phone: 610-519-7464
E-mail: charles.folk@villanova.edu

Dr. Folk's primary interest is in models of visual selective attention, specifically the interaction
between "top-down" goals and "bottom-up" stimulus factors in the allocation of visual attention in tasks such as visual search. His research has shown that the extent to which a particular stimulus is able to distract or "capture" attention is dependent on whether one is "set" for a particular stimulus property. He does research with older adults to investigate the effect of age
on attentional processes.

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Irene P. Kan, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania, 2005
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Office: Tolentine 331; Phone: 610-519-4739
E-mail: irene.kan@villanova.edu
http://www.homepage.villanova.edu/irene.kan

Dr. Kan's research interest is in the cognitive architecture and neural bases of human memory. Research in her lab focuses on the investigation of different long-term memory systems, namely semantic memory and episodic memory. Whereas "semantic memory" refers to our general world knowledge (e.g., Bacon is a breakfast meat), "episodic memory" refers to memory for personally experienced events (e.g., I bought bacon at the grocery store last night). Another area of research investigates the executive processes that support accurate memory retrieval.  We take a multi-disciplinary approach in our investigation: by combining behavioral, neuropsychological, and electrophysiological methods, we hope to gain a better understanding of how different memory functions complement and interact with each other.

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John Kurtz, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University, 1994
Professor of Psychology
Office: TOL 320A; Phone: 610-519-4217
E-mail: john.kurtz@villanova.edu
Web site: http://www72.homepage.villanova.edu/john.kurtz/

Dr. Kurtz teaches courses in counseling and clinical psychology, personality theory and psychological testing. His current research program focuses on change and stability in normal personality traits. While contemporary theories of personality stress the stability of individual differences in adulthood, Dr. Kurtz is interested in the causes and consequences of personality change during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. His recent studies have focused on the assessment of traits using structured questionnaire methods and, in particular, the relative accuracy of self-reports versus informant ratings in the prediction of behavior. These studies have examined the impact of traits for personal adjustment in college students based on peer and roommate relationships, alcohol use and academic achievement. Dr. Kurtz is also a licensed
clinical psychologist in Pennsylvania with experience in assessment and psychotherapy for
patients with traumatic brain injury, geriatric disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders.

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Thomas C. Toppino, Ph.D.

University of New Mexico, 1974
Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology
Office: 334 Tolentine Hall; Phone: 610-519-4722
E-mail: thomas.toppino@villanova.edu

Dr. Toppino’s teaching interests focus on human cognitive processes, especially learning and memory.  In his research, Dr. Toppino explores how variations in the way we practice affect how well we learn and remember.  He also investigates people’s metacognition (i.e., knowledge about their own knowledge and their own cognitive processes) and how it affects the strategies people adopt when they are learning something new.   

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Hear from our Students

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