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Elizabeth R. Graham

Teaching approach 

I believe in actively engaging students in the learning process. I do not want students to passively listen to me lecture, but would rather they analyze, question, and integrate the material. I rely on several techniques for engaging students: ensuring they can see my passion and enthusiasm for the subject matter, using examples and demonstrations that are relevant to students' interests, presenting material in multiple formats to meet different learning styles, and including "hands-on" activities in which the material must be applied.

A luxury of teaching psychology is that much of the material can be demonstrated reasonably well in a classroom setting by the instructor, and even more importantly, by the students themselves. For example, I have students lead a demonstration in which they ask their classmates to try and remember two lists of information. For one list, the class thinks about the meaning of material as they are studying it. For the other list, they simply try to read or recite the material over and over. The students find that thinking about the meaning of the material leads to better subsequent memory. We use the finding from this demonstration to discuss different ways in which memory works (or doesn't work). Then, we think about how they could apply this finding, and others like it, to help them improve their own memory for course information or other things they find difficult to remember.

Personally, I have been fortunate to have several wonderful teaching mentors that I try to emulate. I strive to match their ability to present difficult material in a clear and concise manner, their creativity in finding ways to engage students, and their desire to continually evaluate themselves and their students in the interest of improving student learning. 

Courses 

Inferential Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (PSYC 103)

Experimental Psychology (PSYC 105)

Cognitive Psychology (PSYC 115)

Adulthood and Aging (PSYC 133) 

Research 

I am a cognitive psychologist with a focus on age-related changes. My research investigates how cognitive skills, such as attention, language, and memory differ when comparing healthy adults in their 60s, 70s, and 80s to young adults. One of my primary areas of interest is in the experience of inattentional blindness: when a person is involved in an attention-demanding task, and fails to notice an object that appears right in front of their eyes. My earliest research in this area demonstrated that older adults are more likely to experience inattentional blindness, compared to younger adults. Currently I am examining other individual characteristics that may make both young and older adults more or less likely to experience inattentional blindness.

Curriculum Vitae