Psychology Department

Barbara Held on the ‘Tyranny of the Positive Attitude’ (Newsweek)

The power of positive thinking is often touted by self-help gurus as the path out of hardship toward an improved quality of life. But, as a recent Newsweek article points out, a number of studies find that negative emotions have an important role to play in a person’s overall psychological health.

Nancy Jennings and Suzanne Lovett Discuss ‘Practice for Life’ on WCSH’s ‘207’

Bowdoin’s Nancy Jennings and Suzanne Lovett shared insights from their book, ‘Practice for Life: Making Decisions in College,’ co-authored with two peers from Wellesley College, on the WCSH newsmagazine ‘207.’

Jennings, Lovett Offer ‘Practice for Life: Making Decisions in College’ — Advice, Research and the Value of Liberal Education

New book draws on a five-year study following more than 200 students at seven New England liberal arts colleges—to argue for substantial changes to how students make the most of college.

Sex Talk: Invited Scholars Assess Impact of Alfred Kinsey 1916

The contribution of renowned sexologist Alfred Kinsey, class of 1916, was front and center at a recent two day symposium organized by Bowdoin and feauring invited panelists.

Bowdoin Student Tackles Dementia Care Using ‘Person-Centered’ Approach

The aim of person-centered care is to focus on the individual and not the disease, on what they’ve retained rather than what they have lost.

Bowdoin Teams up With Mid Coast Hospital for New Mindfulness Health Program

Bowdoin professor collaborates with staff at Mid Coast Hospital to teach a new course in Mindulfness-based Stress Reduction: a meditative technique that reduces harmful stress levels in the body

Nine New Courses Offered This Semester

The following is a complete list of new Bowdoin classes as they are described in the course catalog, plus comment from the faculty teaching the course.

Bowdoin’s Putnam Finds Dutch, Finnish Babies Smile, Cuddle More than US Babies

Professor of Psychology Sam Putnam has for the past eight years collected data from different countries on infant temperaments. In two recently published studies, he and his research collaborators discovered marked differences in U.S. babies from Dutch and Finnish infants before they are 12 months old.

Neuroscientist Erika Nyhus Studies Memory, With Hope of Improving It One Day

Encouragingly, neuroscientists like Bowdoin’s Erika Nyhus are making headway in understanding how memory works — how our brains make, retain and retrieve memories. The work Nyhus is doing in her lab in the basement of Kanbar Hall could even one day lead to better diagnoses and treatments for people with disordered memories.

Nicole Von Wilczur ’18 Researches the Parental Roots of Human Temperament

This summer, Nicole Von Wilczur ’18 split her week between research on toddler temperament and working at the Children’s Center where she often had to to moderate the temperaments of toddlers.

McKeen Center Shines Light on Students Engaging with the Community

Each year, students majoring in subjects that span the curriculum incorporate community projects into their studies, partnering with local agencies from across the street to organizations in places as far away as Asia and Africa.

Brain Waves, Phobias, and Bacterial Sugars: Bowdoin Research in Human Health

Professors and students at Bowdoin are probing an array of topics with implications for human health, from understanding Alzheimer’s and treating anxiety to developing therapeutics that combat dangerous bacteria.

A Bowdoin Reading List

Somehow, in the midst of all of their teaching and research, professors at Bowdoin also find time to write books. Check out these recent and upcoming titles by faculty members.

Bowdoin Professors on Sabbatical, All Over the Map

This year, more than three dozen Bowdoin faculty members have dispersed to all corners of the map for sabbatical projects. See where they’ve gone.

Three Professors Say Their Goodbyes to the Classroom

Three longtime Bowdoin professors taught their last classes this week: Nancy Jennings (Education), Barbara Held (Psychology), and Paul Schaffner (Psychology).

Bowdoin Opens Academic Year with 213th Convocation

The College’s annual Convocation ceremony, marking the official opening of the 213th academic year, was held Wednesday, Sept. 3, in Pickard Theater of Memorial Hall.

Dennett on Free Will and Moral Responsibility

In a recent lecture at Bowdoin, philosopher Daniel Dennett of Tufts University argued that although free will is constrained by biological boundaries, humans should still be held accountable for their actions.

Seven Faculty Members Promoted to Full Professor

Seven Bowdoin faculty members have been promoted from the rank of associate to full professor: Aviva Briefel, Philip Camill, Kristen Ghodsee, Samuel Putnam, Patrick Rael, Shu-chin Tsui, and Tricia Welsch.

Finding the Role of Culture in ‘Nature vs. Nurture’

Compared to an American childhood, does a Danish upbringing make for a happier kid? Temperament has traditionally been considered an innate trait, but Associate Professor of Psychology Samuel Putnam and Ariye Krassner ’14 think there’s more to the story.

The Downside of Positivity

Is there a negative side to positivity? In a recent lecture at Bowdoin, psychology researcher Cynthia Stifter explored that question in “exuberant” children.