In teaching, like in writing much of the work comes from revising and updating your knowledge, your objectives, your formatting, and your implementation. I use the scientific approach in teaching like in research. I need to know what my students already understand at the outset of the semester. A baseline evaluation provides a framework to scaffold further information, introduce new ways to think about existing and newly introduced information. Real learning does not come from rote memorization of facts and dates but in thinking about information in an applied, meaningful way, in a critical way.
I start each class I teach with a comprehensive exam, essentially the final exam that includes all of the information I hope students will take away from the semester. This provides a baseline of information, where they are at the start of the semester. Over the course of the semester, I introduce learning assessments (traditional exams), self-evaluations and class ratings, to see where my students are at all times during the semester and if my pedagogy is effective. At the end of the semester, students provide course and instructor ratings as well. These tools provide a basis for how I might frame subsequent courses, how I might improve my course work, and what learning methods (e.g., case studies, group exercises, laboratories, and lectures) were effective.
My lectures and sometimes my classes are not always a success. But in the classroom, like in writing, research and life, we formulate, implement, evaluate, and revise, revise, revise.
Courses I Teach...
PSY 150 Introductory Psychology
PSY 255 Comparative Animal Learning with Lab
PSY 252 Biopsychology I: Introduction to Neuroscience with Lab
PSY 352 Biopsychology II: Sensation and Perception with Lab
PSY 452 Biopsychology III: Behavioral Endocrinology with Lab
PSY 420 Special Topics: Psychopharmacology
PSY 420 Special Topics: Evolutionary Psychology
PSY 348/349 Research Methods (348) with Lab (349)
PSY 452 Senior Thesis – Behavior Neuroscience Research
NOTE: The majority of my classes require a separate laboratory section, so these are also writing courses (generally at least 6 laboratory write-ups per course). In order to support those students that struggle with academic, empirical writing, I often recruit bright, students who have successfully mastered the material in a previous semester. These “recruits” are encouraged to serve as a teaching assistant for the laboratory sections (PSY 428). When you enroll in any of the courses below, consider this opportunity, the advantages of undergraduate instructional experience for graduate, professional and employment applications are considerable. It can be the difference between a strong professional application and a competitive one.
Affective Antecedents of Risk-Sensitivity
The purpose of this empirical investigation is to:
1.) explore the relationship between emotional (i.e., stress) and physical
(cold pressor stress test and capillary blood glucose measure) discomfort.
Are those who report greater stress and discomfort in their life, more sensitive to
the discomfort associated with the cold pressor stress test?
2.) compare self-reported stress (measured through the Perceived Stress Scale) and
discomfort tolerance (measured through EEG activity during the capillary
blood glucose measure and the cold pressor as well as the ‘giving up time’ during
the CP) with risk-prone and risk-averse responding in the Iowa Gambling Task
(measure of self-control and impulsivity).
Are those who reported more distress in their personal life, more likely to
demonstrate risk-prone behavior through the IGT?
Are those who evidenced higher sympathetic nervous system arousal through the EEG
during the cold pressor stress test more likely to evidence risk-prone behavior
through the IGT?
Are those who evidenced higher sympathetic nervous system arousal through the
capillary blood glucose measurement, more likely to evidence risk-prone behavior
through the IGT?
Brain Whacked: Post-concussive Syndrome Among College Students
This project includes graduate students and faculty (Dr. Hannu Laukkanen) from the College of Optometry as well as undergraduate students.
The purpose of the project is outlined in the following empirical questions:
1.) What is the incidence of post-concussive syndrome among sports athletes
within Pacific University?
2.) What is the incidence of post-concussive syndrome among performance
arts athletes (e.g., dance) within Pacific University?
3.) How are the individual athletic injuries different?
4.) How are the sequelae of injury different between performance arts
and sports athletes?
5.) How do these differential injuries play out in the classroom
(e.g., attention processing, memory retrieval, verbal fluency, chronic pain,
anxiety, visual dysfunction).
Neurobiological Correlates of Temperament
This is an ongoing project to assess the relationship between neuroendocrine markers of behavior with a new, neurobiology temperament measure (Fisher Temperament Inventory). The applied value of establishing both the validity and reliability of this measure with comparative measures of personality and temperament is to provide a reasonable link between long-term romantic matching through an Internet website (Chemistry.com). So many online measures for matching adult, singles are not validated
and do not necessarily provide a good assessment of romantic compatability and longevity. This measure is used in conjunction with value and interest-based questions.
Professional Etiquette: What Professors Expect and Students Know
The purpose of this study is to examine similarities and disparities between professor and student attitudes in professional conduct. Attitudes toward in-class social media-use (including texting, Facebook, Twitter, and various other forms of Internet media) are largely polarized between professors and students. Part of the problem is a lack of clear boundaries regarding acceptable use in high school. Thereby engendering an expectation, that social media-use is both acceptable and tolerated in
professional settings, including college classrooms.
Professors frequently cite a lack of respect on the part of the student when social media is used during class, in the middle of presentations, and in meetings with their mentors and instructors (Stephens, Houser, & Cowan, 2009). However, this may not necessarily be the case, students are often unclear about when social-media use is acceptable. Further, with so many forms of informal communication: Twitter, Tumbler, Facebook and texting, students often do not engage in professional conduct when
emailing inquiries or contacting professors.
Program Evaluation: The Little Dog Laughed Animal Assisted Therapy
The Little Dog Laughed (TLDL) is a 501-C3 non-profit organization whose goal is to use dog training to support behavioral therapy professionals in their effort to nurture empathy and non-violent problem-solving skills. Linda Keast developed this program, at the request of a Washington County Multidisciplinary Task Force (MDT). The STAR program is one component of the MDT’s esteemed Children and Animal Protections Program (CAPP). STAR therapy dog teams offer Washington County teachers, therapists and counselors a new, cost-free tool for therapeutic intervention. STAR teams, model gentle, safe and respectful interaction with animals, demonstrate positive training as an antidote to use of force. The two therapy dogs are Papillons, selected for emotional nurturing and behavioral therapy because the breed possess calm, easy-going temperaments, so much so that the natural morphology of their mouth results in a perceptible smile. Further, Papillons are a highly trainable breed with a smaller stature, which means they are less threatening, especially to children who may have had negative histories with animals.
The Little Dog-Laughed Animal Assisted Therapy and Training Program as well as the STAR Program have been successful; recently receiving the 2013 Cameron Award for a Multidesciplinary Animal Protection Team (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk7iMGQIASc). However, their efficacy is not empirically documented. This is important if TLDL hopes to apply for grants and to be eligible for federal and state endowments or support.
Definition of Efficacy
The goal of TLDL is to establish meaningful ways to provide social and life skills for
children who have witnessed domestic violence. Efficacy will be defined through positive
changes both in the short term (individual sessions) and in the longer-term (over a period of sessions) in:
- behavioral change
- verbal understanding of each session’s goals (e.g., learn please and thank you through
Voluntary Childless Couples – An investigation of the Demographic
This psychological and sociological study investigates questions pertaining to stigma, lifestyle, professional history, and volunteerism. To date, the bulk of the literature of reproductive refusal among committed couples focuses almost entirely on the explanations, rationalizations, stigma management, identity protection, and social justification of these couples for their lifestyle choice (e.g., Gillespie, 2000; 2003; Morrell, 2000; Park, 2002; Wagner, 2000). Additionally, within the heterosexual literature of
voluntarily childless, dual-income couples, these studies take a decidedly femme-centric perspective, in most cases completely ignoring the male partner’s contribution to the decision and his experience in the social fallout. The purpose of this study is to provide a more holistic investigation of couples (both heterosexual and same-sex couples) that have elected to forgo parenting. The goal is to collect information on life satisfaction, marital (or commitment) satisfaction, goal achievement, financial and
professional happiness, and the breadth of the social network that comprises this demographic of the population. Additionally, we will compare the scores on the New Environmental Paradigm Scale among voluntarily childfree couples and parenting couples, given some literature points to the concern of overpopulation as a contributor in the lifestyle decision (Campbell, 2000). a number of studies have already revealed a positive significant relationship between couples who postpone parenthood and
perceived marital happiness (Freeman, 2008; Gilbert, 2008), we would like to extend this investigation to those who forgo parenting altogether.
Creative Nonfiction Publications
Island, H. (December, 2013). Robust Roast. The Boulevard, Vol. (13),
Island, H. (December, 2013). Speaking French in Panama. The Boulevard, Vol. (12),
Island, H. (October, 2013). When in Panama, Don’t Kiss the Girls. The Boulevard, Vol. (11),
Island, H. (September, 2013). American Gothic. The Boulevard, Vol. (10),
Island, H. (July, 2013). I Ate My Children. The Boulevard, Vol. (9),
Island, H. (June 2013). Freezing Swimmers. The Boulevard, Vol. (8),
Island, H. D., Fisher, H. E., Rich, J., Zava, D., & Brown, L. (In Preparation). Concurrent Validity of the Fisher Temperament
Inventory (FTI) and the NEO Five Factor Inventory. Personality and Individual Differences.
Fisher, H. E., Island, H. D., Rich, J., Marchalik, D., & Brown, L. (In Review). Four Novel Primary Structures of Temperament Based
on Biology: Characteristics, Correlation Analyses and Comparison with the Big Five. Personality and Individual Differences
Fisher, H. E., Rich, J., Island, H. D., Marchalik, D. (2010). The second to fourth digit ratio: A measure of two hormonally based
temperament dimensions. Personality and Individual Differences, 49 (7), 773-777.
Island, H. D. (2010). Game Theory in Psychology. IN: An Encyclopedia of Research Methods in Psychology. Neil Salkind, Sage
Fisher, H.E., Island, H. D., Marchalik, D. & Rich, J. (Oct. 2008). Temperament as a Mechanism for Mate Choice: A hypothesis and pilot study. IN Evolutionary Family Psychology. Todd Shackelford and Catherine Salmon, Eds. Oxford University Press. Pp. 275-312.
Island, H. D. & Szalda-Petree, A. P. (2007) Sex differences in risk-sensitivity under differing point budgets and predictors of choice. Journal of General Psychology, 134, (4), 435 - 452.
Szalda-Petree, A. D., Craft, B. B., Martin, L. M., & Deditius-Island, H. K. (2004). Self-control in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta): Controlling for differential stimulus exposure. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 98, 141-146.
Island, H. D. & Caruso, J. C. (2002). Reliability Generalization of Zuckerman’s Sensation-Seeking Scale Form V., Educational and Psychological Measurement, 62 (4), 728-734.
Undergraduate Mentoring Blog
I maintain a weekly professional blog for undergraduate mentoring. This website is entirely devoted to students, in an effort to help them develop and maintain their professional portfolio. It is available here:
Brain Drain – Neuroscience Competition
Every year at the end of the spring semester, neuroscience scholars are encouraged to participate in this annual, friendly competition to show off their knowledge neuroscience series mastery and to compete for an A in the course (although there is still no precedent of this, as it requires a perfect score), high points for a variety of prizes, and for a the highest score to garner a place on the perpetual Brain Drain trophy displayed in the Behavioral Research and Instructional Neuroscience Lab.