2018 Convention Speakers

RMPA is hosting an excellent series of speakers this year at the convention. 


Robert Morgan, Ph.D.

Distinguished Alumni Speaker

Robert Morgan, Ph.D.

Dr. Morgan received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Oklahoma State University (1999). He completed a predoctoral internship at the Federal Correctional Institution - Petersburg, Virginia and a postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Dr. Morgan joined the psychology department at Texas Tech University in 2000. He is the John G. Skelton, Jr. Regents Endowed Professor in the Department of Psychology and serves as Department Chair.

Dr. Morgan's research interests are in correctional mental health, specifically treatment of mentally disordered offenders, and professional development/training issues. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Center for Behavioral Health Services & Criminal Justice Research. Dr. Morgan was the 2003 recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award presented by Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) of the American Psychological Association and the 2006 Outstanding Contribution to Science Award presented by the Texas Psychological Association. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), and Past-President of the division of Psychologists in Public Service (APA).

In addition to his Texas Tech duties, Dr. Morgan is also the Director of Forensic Services at StarCare Specialty Health System (a position he has held for approximately 10 years). In this role, Dr. Morgan assisted in the development and currently directs a community based forensic services program emphasizing pretrial evaluations (competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility) and a community based competency restoration program.

His talk is entitled: Beyond Pop Culture: The Application of Science in Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology has taken on “pop-culture” proportions within the larger landscape of psychology. With popular media depicting forensic psychologists as profilers (e.g., Profilers, CSI), increasing numbers of students are drawn to forensic psychology. The real work of forensic psychology science is less dramatic, but has larger impact. I have conducted forensic evaluations on over 950 criminal defendants and worked with thousands of offenders; but my work as a scientist has facilitated the greatest change. In this talk, I share two examples of how science impacts perceptions and treatment of offenders with mental illness and document fact over ideology related to administrative segregation of offenders. The empirical results may surprise many and emphasize the importance of applying science in the field of forensic psychology.

Teaching Conference Keynote Speaker

Wayne Viney, Ph.D.

Wayne Viney, Ph.D. is Emeritus Professor and Emeritus University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of psychology. He received numerous teaching awards from Colorado State University, and he has been President of the Society for the History of Psychology of the American Psychological Association and of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association. 

His talk is entitled: William James as a Teacher: Some Lessons from History about Teaching

As a teacher, William James always placed ideas and content in higher priority than pedagogical methods, gimmicks, or fads. His biographer Ralph Barton Perry noted that James craved a hearing for the truth he believed was in him.  In the spirit of the television star Mr. Rogers, James believed good teaching consists of the capacity to be passionate and to love something in front of an audience. In the classroom he was authentically who he was often a bit disorganized, but always spontaneous, honest, charming, open, and disarming. James embraced a philosophy of education that emphasized the capacity to always see alternatives and to be suspicious of claims that there is a fixed and final word or a definitive conclusion on any topic.  In this talk we will seek to capture the teaching philosophy of one of the great psychologists by gleaning materials from his classic book Talks to Teachers and by reviewing his perspectives on teaching set forth in letters and his major psychological and philosophical works.

Wayne Viney, Ph.D.

Tania Israel, Ph.D.

Diversity Speaker

Tania Israel, Ph.D.

Tania Israel is a Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University and a Masters degree in Human Sexuality Education and a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Israel is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a Past-President of the Society of Counseling Psychology. Her scholarship on interventions to support the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals and communities has been solicited by the Institute of Medicine, Congress, and the White House. Dr. Israel has received honors for her research and advocacy from the American Psychological Association, the California Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, and her local LGBT community. Her TED Talk on bisexuality has been viewed over 40,000 times. Dr. Israel is the Director of Project RISE, a research team at UCSB that develops and studies interventions to support the psychological health of LGBTQ individuals and communities. More information is available at taniaisrael.com

Her talk is entitled: Four Ways Psychologists Can Participate in Social Change

As psychologists, we are known for our ability to support growth and change. Although much of our work takes place on the individual level, our knowledge and skills can be applied to social change, as well. Societal inequities and injustice are at the root of mental health disparities, and our profession has the tools to address these underlying causes of psychological distress. This presentation will describe ways in which psychologists can participate in social change through community engagement, policy advocacy, making information accessible, and teaching social justice. Dr. Israel will share strategies and stories to help psychologists envision and implement their work as social change agents. 

Past-President Address 

 William Douglas Woody, Ph.D.

William Douglas Woody, Ph.D.

William Douglas Woody, Ph.D.

William Douglas Woody, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado.  He received his doctorate from Colorado State University in 1999, and his research interests include the teaching of psychology, psychology and law, and the history of psychology.

Dr. Woody serves as the Portenier-Wertheimer Teaching Conference Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, and he also served the organization as President in 2011-2012.  He has received the RMPA Early Career Award, the RMPA Distinguished Service Award, and the RMPA Mentor Award.  Among other recognition, he has received the Early Career Award for Scholarship in the History of Psychology and the Wilbert J. McKeachie Early Career Teaching Excellence Award, and he has earned numerous college, university, and other teaching and scholarship awards, including the first university-wide Sears-Helgoth Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Northern Colorado.  Additionally, he has been named Best Professor by the students at two of the three universities at which he has taught.


His talk is entitled: Finding the Roots of the Hoffman Report: The Psychology of Coercive Interrogation from the Cold War to Guantanamo

The Hoffman Report revealed some of the darkest events in the history of psychology.  As is now well-known, APA administrators colluded with the Department of Defense to ensure lax ethical guidelines for psychologists, which in turn allowed the psychologists who developed the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques program to maintain their licenses and APA memberships in good standing, even as they waterboarded detainees.  Much has been written about the psychologists who brought EITs to Guantanamo as well as the source of the EITs they brought with them: the training activities in the U. S. Air Force SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape) program.  This talk will investigate the roots of the EITs as developed for the SERE program.  These roots extend into the 1950s and 1960s, at the peak of the Cold War, as psychologists and others studied communist techniques applied to United States POWs during the Korean War, when many POWs confessed falsely to war crimes, including the use of biological weapons in North Korea.  This extensive body of scholarship has largely remained out of public view, despite the involvement of several prominent historical figures in psychological science (e.g., Harlow, Skinner, Schachter, Festinger, Wolff) alongside the individuals deeply invested in the scholarship of coercive interrogation and creation of SERE and related programs (e.g., Biderman, Schein, Lifton, West, Sargant, Meerloo).  This presentation will trace the scholarship of coercive interrogation from the models Ivan Pavlov tested in dogs in the 1920s through World War II and into the Cold War to illuminate the scholarship and applied studies that led to SERE and, decades later, to the use of these techniques against detainees by psychologists.


 Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.  Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University

Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.

Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University

Gardner Memorial Lecture

Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.

Each year RMPA hosts the Gardner Memorial Lecture, and we invite a researcher to speak to us about his/her non-invasive animal research, centered on animal cognition/communication.  Beatrix ("Trixie") Gardner was a long-time RMPA leader as well as a world-renown interspecies communication expert at the University of Nevada-Reno, working with her husband Allen using American Sign Language with infant chimpanzees.  Perhaps she is best known for her work with Washoe.

His talk is entitled: Animal Signals: From Communication To Language


In the past, animal signals traditionally have been considered to be a form of stimulus-response, where a signal made by one animal produces a predictable  signal as a response from another animal. It was widely believed that these signals were based on instinct, and did not vary to any great extent. When animals were said to communicate, the communication was considered to be an exchange of instinct-driven invariant signals. In more recent times, evidence has been accumulating that a number of animal species have the capability to vary their signals within different contexts, and there is an element of intentionality in producing signals. This sets up the scenario that some animal species are capable of producing and understanding what we would call language.

Psi Chi Distinguished Lecturer

 Nadine J. Kaslow, Ph.D., ABPP

Nadine J. Kaslow, Ph.D., ABPP

Nadine J. Kaslow, Ph.D., ABPP

Nadine J. Kaslow, Ph.D., ABPP is a Professor with tenure, Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Chief Psychologist, Grady Health System; and Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. In 2012, she received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Pepperdine University. The 2014 President of the American Psychological Association (APA), she is President Elect of the APA’s Division of Public Service (Division 18), the Psi Chi Annual Giving Campaign Chair, and the Chair of Psi Chi’s Summit on Help-Seeking. Dr. Kaslow is Past President of APA’s Divisions of Clinical Psychology (12), Family Psychology (43), and Psychotherapy (29), as well as the American Board of Clinical Psychology and the American Board of Professional Psychology. She is the Former Chair and Board Member Emeritus of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). She was the Editor of the Journal of Family Psychology from 2008-2014. Dr. Kaslow was a Primary Care Public Policy Fellow through the United States Public Health Service, a fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program, and a Fellow of the Woodruff Leadership Academy. She has received numerous awards including APA’s Distinguished Contributions for Education and Training Award, an APA Presidential Citation for assisting displaced interns and postdoctoral fellows in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, APPIC’s Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Training, a Heiser Award for her legislative advocacy efforts, the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for inspiring her junior colleagues to develop effective programs in the community, the Grady Health Foundation’s Inspiring Mentor Award, and Emory University’s Thomas Jefferson Award. The recipient of multiple federal and foundation grants, she has published over 300 articles and three books. A member of Rosalynn Carter’s Mental Health Advisory Board, she is a nationally recognized expert in suicide, intimate partner violence and child maltreatment, depression in children and adolescents, posttraumatic stress disorder, and psychology education and training. Dr. Kaslow is the psychologist for the Atlanta Ballet and a frequent media guest

Her talk is entitled: Uniting Psychology for the Future

This presentation focuses on current trends in psychology related to education, science, practice, and the public interest. The implications of these trends for the future are examined. Attention is then paid to the value and importance of uniting the education, science, practice, and public interest components of the discipline psychology and ways to accomplish such unification. For psychology to be effective and thrive in the future, we must capitalize on our strengths as a discipline and profession and proactively create new opportunities for current and future generations of psychologists. 

Participants will:

(1)  Become more effective in their implementation of competency- and capability based education and training, competent communities, interdisciplinary education, educational delivery platforms, and preparing trainees for alternative career paths

(2)  Increase their understanding of strategies for translating psychological science to the public

(3)  Gain an increased appreciation of the significance of evidence-based practice, consultation, e-mental health, and specialization for their practice

(4)  Enhance their commitment as psychologists to diversity, human rights, benefiting society and improving lives, globalization, community engagement, and advocacy including social justice advocacy

RMPA Distinguished Lecturer

Steve Lindsay, Ph.D

BIO: I'm a cognitive psychologist. Most of my research explores human memory. I am especially interested in determinants of the subjective experience of remembering, source monitoring (the inferential processes by which people identify the origins of mental events such as memories), and the application of theories concerning these processes to everyday memory phenomena (e.g., eyewitness evidence). I collaborate with several terrific psychologists, and I have had the great pleasure of working with many wonderful students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Check out my Google Scholar profile.

His talk is entitled: Replicability in Psychological Science

Many psychologists are adopting practices designed to increase the replicability of the research they publish.  Most of these practices are pretty commonsensical things, such as writing a plan for a research project before beginning the project, using software tools to minimize the rate of keystroke errors in data files, and making anonymous data available to other researchers for purposes of confirmation.  These practices greatly increase the transparency of the research process, and they better align the ways data are analyzed with the ways they were collected.  I will discuss a number of practical steps that most researchers can quite easily take to increase the replicability of their research.  Replicability is not the only important consideration for researchers -- psychologists also want their work to be interesting and relevant and useful -- but replicability is foundational for any science.  

 Sally Spencer Thomas, Ph.D.

Sally Spencer Thomas, Ph.D.

Continuing Education/Professional DevelopmentSpeaker

Sally Spencer Thomas, Ph.D.

Her talk is entitled: Innovation in Men’s Mental Health: Using Humor, Media and Digital Engagement to Promote Mental Health and Prevent Suicide for High Risk Men

Abstract: Men of working age often do not seek mental health services or disclose suicidal thoughts because of stigma. This presentation will describe an innovative, award-winning, multi-media mental health program called Man Therapy that uses humor and digital engagement to engage men to think differently about their mental health conditions.

Outline, Goals and Learning Objectives:

“Women seek help, men die” was the stark conclusion of one suicide prevention researcher. The truth is that the burden of suicide rests largely on the shoulders of men of working age – about 70% of all suicide deaths fall into this category, and those men at highest risk are often the ones least likely to seek help. These facts point to the need for communities to think differently about how to reach men struggling with suicidal behavior. 

The research tells us that our traditional way of doing suicide prevention doesn’t work – and that we must find new partners and new perspectives to reach suicidal men. In particular, we need to change our messaging strategies and the way we engage men to “fix themselves.”

This presentation will give participants an insider’s view to the development, implementation and impact of the innovative Man Therapy™ campaign – a mental health literacy campaign that uses humor to reach men of working age by “manning up” mental health. Outcome measures indicate the program is having its intended effect – about 80% of the visitors are men, they spend a considerable amount of time exploring the resources on the “virtual therapy office” website portal, and over 250,000 of them have self-screened for depression, anxiety, substance abuse and anger.

Goals of Man Therapy:

1.     Create social change among men and the general population about mental health and overall wellness.

2.     Empower men to take action/ownership of their mental health and overall wellness by increasing help-seeking behavior.

3.     Reduce suicidal thoughts and deaths among men (long term)

Presentation leaning objectives:

1)     To describe why suicide prevention needs to target working aged men

2)     To identify key elements of focused communication strategy aimed at “double jeopardy” men and how these are tied to a successful suicide prevention strategy

3)     To list promising outcomes demonstrating the Man Therapy™ program's effectiveness

Fred Coolidge 2014 V1.jpg

RMPA Invited Speaker

Fred Coolidge Ph.D.

Frederick L. Coolidge received his BA, MA, and PhD in Psychology at the University of Florida and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology. He is currently at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). He has received three Fulbright Fellowships (India), three teaching awards, and two outstanding research awards including the lifetime-title of University of Colorado Presidential Teaching Scholar. In 2015, he was appointed Senior Visiting Scholar at Oxford University. He co-founded the Center for Cognitive Archaeology at UCCS and has authored or co-authored eight books including, How to Think like a Neandertal, Cognitive Models in Palaeolithic Archaeology, and The Rise of Homo sapiens: The Evolution of Modern Thinking. With archaeologist Thomas Wynn, they have published in Current Directions, Evolutionary Anthropology, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Current Anthropology, Journal of Human Evolution, Journal of Anthropological Research and others. Professor Coolidge’s latest book, Evolutionary Neuropsychology: An Introduction to the Evolution of Structures and Functions of the Human Brain will appear in 2018. 

His talk is entitled: Neanderthals: Who were they, Why did they go Extinct, and What can Psychology tell us about them?

Neandertals were our distant genetic cousins with whom we shared a common ancestor about 500,000 years ago, which was about the time our two lineages diverged. About 80,000 years ago, a massive volcanic explosion occurred, and a group of anatomically modern Homo sapiens left Africa, migrated to Europe, and within about 5,000 years, the last Neandertal died. So what can the discipline of psychology tell us about them and their extinction? By using modern neuroscientific methods, we know that Neandertals had bigger brains than us, larger occipital lobes, smaller cerebellums, smaller olfactory bulbs, and smaller temporal and parietal lobes. From archaeology, we know they lived in smaller groups, buried their dead without grave goods, used personal ornaments sparingly, and never made figurines or painted in caves. We also know they practiced exocannibalism (eating other Neandertals). What are the implications of these physical and behavioral phenotypes for Neandertals’ extinction? Come to Professor Frederick L. Coolidge’s talk on the emerging discipline of Cognitive Archaeology and find out! 

President’s Symposium:

The Role of Psychological Science in Suicide Prevention

 Susan Becker Ph.D., Colorado Mesa University

Susan Becker Ph.D., Colorado Mesa University

Susan Becker Ph.D.,  Matthew Genuchi Ph.D., Jeffrey Rings Ph.D., 

This presentation will cover a variety of ways psychology contributes to suicide research and the importance of psychology’s involvement and growth in suicide research.  Research summarized will include presentations on program evaluation and intervention training, gender differences in suicide interventions, and the processes of suicide ideation in bereavement as indicators of risk.   We will conclude with suggestions for new areas psychological science can contribute to suicide research to enhance prevention and intervention. 


 Susan Nolan, Ph.D.  Seton Hall University 

Susan Nolan, Ph.D.

Seton Hall University 

Worth Publisher Speaker

Susan Nolan, Ph.D. 

Susan A. Nolan is a professor of psychology at Seton Hall University. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Susan studies interpersonal consequences of mental illness and the role of gender in STEM careers, the latter funded in part by the National Science Foundation. She was a 2015-2016 U.S. Fulbright Scholar in Bosnia and Herzegovina where she researched psychology higher education. Susan co-authors statistics and introductory psychology textbooks, and enjoys teaching a wide range of courses, including Introductory Psychology, International Psychology, and Statistics. Susan is a member of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Committee on International Relations in Psychology and Vice President for Diversity and International Relations for the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. She is a past president of the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA), and a Fellow of EPA, APA, and the Association for Psychological Science.

 Her talk is entitled: Critical Thinking and Diversity: Using News (and Fake News!) to Make Your Courses More International and Multicultural

Although political fake stories get the most attention, science fake stories are dangerous, too. Fortunately, science “fake news” has a silver lining in that it offers us a ready-made teaching tool. As psychology instructors, we can use evidence-based news from a variety of media sources to teach real-world applications of psychology, including in global and multicultural contexts; however, we also can use “fake news” to teach critical thinking and scientific literacy skills. In this presentation, I’ll first explore cognitive and social psychology research on why news that is either truly fake or simply misleading is simultaneously compelling and divisive. I’ll also discuss why we’re particularly challenged when we try to judge information from outside our experiences, and how this difficulty presents an opportunity to bring other countries, cultures, and experiences into our classrooms. Throughout, I’ll consider how we can layer lessons about critical thinking onto these discussions, teaching students to differentiate among good, questionable, and fake news sources, as well as to develop the “need for cognition” that leads us to actually enjoy thinking critically about new information.

APA Distinguished Scientist Lecturer

Brent W. Roberts, Ph.D.

Brent W. Roberts is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois, in the Social-Personality-Organizational Division. Dr. Roberts received his Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1994 in Personality Psychology and worked at the University of Tulsa until 1999 when he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He received the J. S. Tanaka Dissertation Award for methodological and substantive contributions to the field of personality psychology in 1995. He has since been awarded the Carol and Ed Diener Mid-Career award in Personality Psychology, The Theodore Millon Mid-Career award in Personality Psychology, the Henry Murray Award, and was recently acknowledged by Thomson Reuters as a highly cited researcher for 2016 & 2017 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Psychology from the University of Basel.  He has served as the Associate Editor for the Journal of Research in Personality, and Psychological Science, as a member-at-large, Executive Officer, and President for the Association for Research in Personality, as a member of the Data Monitoring Committee of the Health and Retirement Study, and on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Review, and Perspectives on Psychological Science.   He is currently the Chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Initiative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

   Metropolitan State University of Denver 
 /* Style Definitions */
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
    Brent W. Roberts, Ph.D.  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Brent W. Roberts, Ph.D.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

His Talk is entitled: The long and short of personality stability and change


A critical mass of longitudinal research has led to a number of well-accepted conclusions about personality stability and change. The cumulative science on personality development supports the perspective that personality traits are quite stable over the medium-term (5 to 10 years), show signs of growth and maturity in adulthood, and are responsive to life experiences. Several important questions, however, have not been addressed by prior research. In particular, is personality stable over very long stretches of time?  Concretely, if you track people from childhood to old age, would they be recognizable to you? Conversely, since personality traits do change, can we actively change personality traits through intervention over the short term?  In this talk, I will present data from new research addressing the questions of long-term stability over a 50-year period and efforts to change personality traits over the short term through intervention. The research on long-term stability shows that personality traits are as stable as expected over a 50-year period and show marked changes in the direction of maturity.  The intervention research confirms that personality traits can be changed, even over short periods of time. I will discuss the new questions that arise from these long and short perspectives on personality development.

Ellis-Battig Memorial Symposium: Lori E. James, Ph.D.

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 9.32.37 AM.png

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Chair: Aaron Richmond (arichmo3@msudenver.edu

The University of Colorado-Boulder first sponsored the Ellis-Battig Memorial Lecture.  The symposium was typically chaired by the Lecturer who also brought in colleagues to participate.  After UC-Boulder discontinued sponsorship, RMPA decided to continue with the Ellis (named for Henry Ellis)-Battig symposium but without funding.  The lecture has a focus on cognitive psychology.