Heide D. Island, PhD

UC Box 
Carnegie Hall 305 (Forest Grove)
Areas I Teach 


PSY 150 | Introductory Psychology

PSY 225 | Comparative Animal Learning and Behavior

PSY 252 | Introduction to Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience with Lab

PSY 352 | Introduction to Sensation and Perception with Lab

PSY 452 | Behavioral and Clinical Endocrinology with Lab

PSY 420 | Special Topics: Psychopharmacology

PSY 348/349 | Research Methods (348) with Lab (349)

PSY 350 | Behavioral Statistics

PSY 490/499 | Senior Capstone Thesis – Comparative Biological Psychology Research

NOTE: The laboratory classes (PSY 252, 352, 349) require a separate laboratory section, so these are also writing courses (generally at least 6 laboratory write-ups per course).  To support those courses, 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 448).  


Teaching, like writing, requires revising and updating knowledge, objectives, formatting, and 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 comprehension, new ways to think about existing and newly introduced information.  

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, and what learning methods (e.g., case studies, group exercises, laboratories, and lectures) were most powerful.

Research Projects

Cross-fostering, Aging, and Resilience among Captive Southern Sea Otters

This research is a behavioral project of three captive Southern Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) at the Oregon Zoo. For the last seventeen years, The Oregon Zoo has nurtured and housed two adults, Thelma (female) and Eddie (male).  In May of this year, a third Southern Sea Otter, Juno (female) joined the Oregon Zoo from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Therefore, the goals of this behavioral research are to:

  1. Establish a comprehensive behavioral library of the Oregon Zoo sea otters’ activity budgets.  This information may be useful for comparison both with wild populations and other captive communities.
  2. Create a behavioral library for comparison, following the introduction of new otters into an established, captive community.
  3. Clarify the question of stereotypy in captive sea otters (e.g., do they engage in stereotyped behaviors and if so under what conditions do these emerge?). 

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:

  • attitude
  • behavioral change
  • verbal understanding of each session’s goals (e.g., learn please and thank you throughclicker training)

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.


Migrants, Tracy; Kiyokawa, Janie M.; and Island, Heide (2019) "The Relationship Between Attention, Dyslexia, and Convergence Insufficiency." International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities: Vol. II, Article 1. 

Island, H.D. (In Press, 2017). "Netiquette." In Warf, B. (Ed). Encyclopedia of the Internet. Sage Publication.

Island, H.D., Wengeler, J.,* and Claussenius-Kalman, H.* (2017). The Flehmen Response and Pseudosuckling in a Captive, Juvenile Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis), Zoo Biology, 9999, 1-10. *Indicates student authors

Island, H.D. (2016). "OMG! You Said What in Class? TMI!" College Student and Professor Perceptions of Professional Etiquette Violations, Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4(10), 2477-2482.

Fisher, H.E., Island H.D., Rich, J., Marchalik, D. and Brown, L.L. (2015) Four broad temperament dimensions: Description, convergent validation correlations, and comparison with the Big Five. Front. Psychol. 6:1098. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01098

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 Publication.

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., & Kucera, S. (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.

Professional Program Evaluations and Reports

Island, H.D. (July, 2016). Summative Evaluation Report The Little Dog Laughed (TLDL) Animal-Assisted Therapy Program. Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR Note: Conversion from .docx to .pdf changed some of the formatting, I'm working on fixing this.

Island, H.D. (May, 2015). Formative Evaluation Report The Little Dog Laughed (TLDL) Animal-Assisted Therapy Program. Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR.

Creative Nonfiction Publications

Island, H.D. (December, 2013). Robust Roast. The Boulevard, Vol. 13

Island, H.D. (November, 2013). Speaking French in Panama. The Boulevard, Vol. 12

Island, H.D. (October, 2013). When in Panama, Don't Kiss the Girls. The Boulevard, Vol. 11

Island, H.D. (September, 2013). American Gothic. The Boulevard, Vol. 10

Island, H.D. (July, 2013).  I Ate My ChildrenThe Boulevard, Vol. 9

Island, H.D. (June, 2013). Freezing SwimmersThe Boulevard, Vol. 8

Student Mentoring

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. 

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.


Learn more at heideisland.com.