From the perspective of an educator, this would suggest that learning is dualistic in nature, for we learn from others as they learn from us. A good example that illustrates this point is the symbol of Yin and Yang, a representation of balance in Eastern philosophy. The Yin and Yang symbol is used to represent an equal balance between two different forces to preserve the harmony of existence. The reason that this is such a powerful example is that it aptly applies to the learning process. In order for the harmony between a student and teacher to exist, the openness to understand and to learn from each other as individuals is crucial. Although the teacher is considered to be a conveyor of knowledge, the ideal teacher needs to learn from his or her students as well. This continual process may not be restricted to course material, as new experiences with one’s students shape the teacher as both an educator and as a person.
The force of YinL The Teacher
As a teacher, there are a great number of attributes that encompass the essence of becoming a driving force in education. The first of these attributes is the ability to understand the perspective of one’s students. If a teacher can understand his or her students, then he or she can develop more strategies that reach more students. One of these strategies involves effective communication of ideas, which is absolutely necessary in presenting material to others. If a teacher can relate to the knowledge base of the students, then he or she has a better chance of demonstrating learning principles with minimal confusion. More importantly, if a teacher makes a mistake in the communication process, then he or she must learn from it and attempt to correct his or her missteps. Another strategy is to demonstrate patience with one’s students if there is confusion in the communication process. An instructor must have compassion and understanding for his or her students in such a situation, as they may differ in both background and in ability. All students are not expected to be equal in the academic process, but the goal of an educator should be to understand these differences and get his or her point across to all students, no matter how unique or dynamic the methods are to achieve this goal.
Another equally important attribute is devotion to the students. Displaying an endless source of support is beneficial to the students’ academic progress, whether the source is from verbal interactions, or whether it involves giving help beyond the classroom. My second goal as an instructor is to demonstrate to my students that I am just as willing to be involved in their learning as they should be to learn from me. For example, I have never discouraged my students in seeking my outside help, for they are the reason why I am in education. By always attempting to be available, the teacher not only gives the students a well-needed surge of confidence, but it portrays the educator as a caregiver as well.
Finally, the last crucial role of the educator is to provide guidance that transcends the boundaries of a semester’s activity. By actively taking a role in the student’s future, one can hopefully enrich a student even after a course has ended. Being in the field of neuroscience, there are many students who have developed interest in the material and wish to pursue this interest. These students need mentoring, and the instructor should take an active role in the student’s future. Whether this assistance comes in the form of becoming an actual mentor in research or leading a student in a particular direction, the role of a mentor should never cease. Thus, the qualities of understanding, devotion, and mentoring truly enhance the force of the educator.
The Force of Yang: The Student
As with the role of the teacher, the role of the student is equally important in a number of ways. Although the educator is primarily responsible for his or her roles inside (and outside) the classroom, the student always provides a strong sense of feedback for the educator to appreciate. On the surface, the student is always going to provide some sense of how the course is being presented, either by written criticism or by simple expressions as the class is being conducted. The student’s evaluation should be monitored continuously, for it prepares him or her for how well the learning process is developing. If the learning process is not progressing as well as expected, then the teacher must adjust accordingly to the students. This serves as a valuable tool as an instructor, for it preserves the balance between student and teacher in a rather harmonious manner.
The other major attribute associated with the role of the student is the level of interest shown through interactions between the student and the teacher. With a greater level of interaction between these two forces, there is a better chance for ideas and interest to be exchanged. This interaction cannot be stressed enough, as it is a direct reflection on the teacher’s performance, and it enables the teacher to understand his students as individuals rather than as part of a collective whole. It undeniably helps the teacher to relate to different people and develop an even stronger sense of understanding for his or her students in the years to come.
The Balance of the Forces
Because there is a need to achieve harmony between these two forces, it is imperative that both the teacher and the student take their roles seriously. If one force offsets the other, then the adjustments need to be made. If the students are not receptive to what the educator is providing, then the educator must be able to adapt and to improve on the weaknesses in the relationship. If the educator is not adhering to his or her goals, then the students will respond. The educator then must be sensitive to the concerns from the students and have the maturity and foresight to amend the situation. In my personal experience as an educator, I have tried to adhere to the principles as well as I can. I know that I am not perfect, which makes me aware that there is always potential for growth and change. I have given my best effort to adhere to my own principles, and in return, I have earned many intrinsic rewards and lessons to continue to grow as a teacher. Because of this balance, I feel that I have been shaped into both a more competent educator as well as a more mature individual.
Anything pop culture (including sports)
Ph.D., Neuroscience, Florida State University, 2003
M.S., Psychology, Florida State University, 2000
B.A., Psychology, Elizabethtown College, 1996
Honors and Awards
- Ben and Janice Wade Teaching Award (Spring 2018)
- Outstanding Professional Paper Nominee, Southeastern Psychological Association (Spring 2016)
- Faculty inductee, Phi Eta Sigma (Spring 2014)
- Psi Chi National Summer Research Grant Recipient (Spring, 2012)
(Mentored Sarah Hester, undergraduate researcher)
- Omicron Delta Kappa Teacher of the Year (Spring 2011)
- Faculty inductee, Phi Eta Sigma (Spring 2011)
- Marsha Merritt Community Service Award (Spring 2010)
- Miller Distinguished Teaching Award (Spring 2009)
- Faculty inductee, Omicron Delta Kappa (Fall 2008)
- Florida Southern College Faculty Service Award (Spring 2007)
- United Methodist Church Exemplary Teaching Award (Spring 2007)
- Panhellenic Teacher of the Semester (Fall 2006)
- Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society’s Lover of Wisdom Award (2006)
I have maintained my research pursuits with students on different collaborations this year. In conjunction with some of the goals that I stated on last year’s report, the following are some descriptions about my work over the past year:
Using Visual Metaphors as Pedagogical Tools in Psychology
For almost twelve years, my students and I have developed new pedagogical materials to better understand the biological influences of human behavior. I have found that psychology students with minimal experience in the natural sciences often get anxious when more biologically oriented aspects of psychology are covered. As someone who tries to get students to “visualize” material with metaphors and analogies to everyday life, I have found such a strategy can be presented in different ways. For instance, most of my work has centered around using graphic novels as ancillary materials in a brain and behavior/neuroscience class. In this area, I have continued the process of revising/resubmitting a manuscript that explored how graphic novelization influences memory of physiological mechanisms behind different neurodegenerative disorders to Teaching of Psychology (which will be resubmitted this summer).
Also, I have also studied how internet memes can be linked to educational content in the psychology. Previous work, which explored how providing neuroscience-linked memes can enhance retention of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators when the memes served as an ancillary study guide, was presented at the 2021 SEPA annual meeting. This year, Katelyn Shibilski and I continued this work in her ongoing honors thesis. Her work investigated differences between using provided memes and captions (passive meme) enabling one to create his/her/their own caption for the meme picture (active meme). This work was presented at this year’s SEPA meeting. I have completed a project comparable to these other collaborations, but instead we used memes to study different leadership styles (and thus explored another area of psychology, I/O psychology).
Multimodal Learning the Alphabet in Preschool Children
Augmentative communication is often used in literacy of younger children, and it involves multimodal interaction of more than one sensory system. While tablets are now used for the development of simple learning skills, the incorporation of “tactile cues” with audiovisual input from tablets has been shown to be an ineffective multimodal implementation for children at the preschool level. My colleague, Melanie Fowler, and I discussed possible projects that would be suitable for people who are interested in careers in developmental and educational psychology. Along with our students, we have constructed materials that enhance tactile sensation with visual cues (i.e., creating linoleum-based tactile blocks whose letters have a texture that begins with the same first letter as the letter that is displayed). These blocks were previously created, and we had collected data at the Florida Southern Preschool Learning Laboratory, but we wish to collect more data for a larger sample size. Moreover, a few of my students (in my Critical Thinking offerings) have developed two more projects that are currently being finalized. The first of these projects is similar to the letter block study, but it will involve number blocks to promote numerical writing in preschool children. We also plan to use learning blocks in the Roberts Academy (for whom Tracey Tedder and others have given us permission to use the academy for research). This project involves fourth-grade children and their learning of novel STEAM-based material (i.e., major parts of the human brain). We have developed “science blocks” that give tactile features for the functions of basic brain structures (e.g., medulla, hypothalamus) as well as the names of the words. We plan to see whether using these blocks facilitate better memory of terms clearly unfamiliar to the children. All of these projects will be sent for data collection in the fall, but there was a lot of preparation that my students and I completed this year.
In spring 2021, I was the advisor to an Honors thesis that explored gender perceptions in different films in the Halloween franchise. Tabatha and I previously characterized how classic slasher films (using the Halloween films) stereotypically portray masculinity and femininity in standard characters within each film, and we explained it in terms of masculinized (i.e., the works of Sigmund Freud) and feminized derivations (i.e., the works of Karen Horney) of psychoanalysis. To further support these trends, we began to quantified these assertions from the literature by having participants rate characters from the film in terms of their masculinity and femininity (using a standardized assessment). We compared character ratings in films ranging from the original (1978) to the most recent sequel (2018). She found that gender stereotypes from the film stills were consistent with the literature when a character is much older than other characters (in this case, Laurie Strode, the “final girl” in the forty-year sequel versus Laurie Strode from the original 1978 film). This year, the work was continued by current students so that a larger literature review was attained, and the methodology was refined to begin more quantitative data collect in the upcoming year.
Music Genre and the Depiction of Substance Use in Music Videos
In addition to the above-mentioned honors theses, I am also mentoring another thesis proposal (with Allen Shorey) that started last spring. The project explores how stereotypical genres of music that depict abused substances in music videos elicits differential reactions amongst viewers. This project, whose proposal was defended, will be further developed in the upcoming year.
Gender and Graphic Novels
In addition to the above-mentioned areas of research focus, I am collaborating, on a few other projects with colleagues. The first project (with Chastity Blankenship) explores how implicit gender biases influence how gender roles are depicted in graphic novels. This is currently being developed for Critical Thinking students to explore next year, but the design and IRB were developed in Spring 2022.
Publications and Exhibitions
Book Chapters/Essay Anthologies:
Smith, P.L., (2016). Psychological significance within post-apocalyptic film: Two unique approaches to adaptation. In the last midnight: Critical essays on the depiction of the apocalypse in millennial media. Mcfarland Publishing: New York, NY.
Ready, E. J., Bologna, H.S., Goodmon, L.B., & Smith, P.L. (2021) The relationship between homonegativity, sexual harassment myth acceptance, harasser and target sex, and perceptions of sexual harassment. Modern Psychological Studies, 26(1), 1-28.
Ready, E. J., Smith, P.L., Goodmon, L.B., Welsh, B. C., & Pridgeon, M.. (2020) Branded: The effects of LGBTQ+ marketing on consumer and flavor perceptions of food. North American Journal of Psychology, 22(4), 633-648.
Smith, P.L., Howard, J., & D’Alessandro, M. D. (2020) The use of magazine spreads as a tool in neuroscience pedagogy. Psychology and Education, 57(3), 391-397.
Bacharz, K., & Howard, J., & Smith, P.L. (2020) Game on! The influence of computer simulations on understanding cancer-based therapies. North American Journal of Psychology, 22(2), 221-242.
Goodmon, L.B., Parisi, A., Smith, P.L., Phillips, E., Cox, T., Dill, L., & Miller, A. (2019). Improving attention and memory in children with dyslexia using aesthetically pleasing and unique photographs. Dyslexia, 25(4), 411-428.
Smith, P.L., Goodmon, L., Jewell, R., Howard, J., Hartzell, K., & Hilbert, S. (2019). Graphic novelization effects on recognition abilities in students with dyslexia. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics,1-18.
Smith, P.L., Goodmon, L.B., & Hester, S. (2018). The Burtynsky effect: Aesthetic reactions to landscape photographs that vary in natural features. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts., 12(1) 34-49.
Goodmon, L., & Smith, P.L., Ivancevich, D., & Lundberg, S., (2014). Actions speak louder than personality: Effects of Facebook content on personality perceptions. North American Journal of Psychology, 16(1), 105-119.
Smith, P.L., & Stoltzfus, D. (2012). The effects of temperature on conditioned salivation responses. North American Journal of Psychology, 14(3), 597-608.
Bias, P.V., Smith, P.L., & Jansson, H. (2012). In defense of the rationality assumption. Research in Business and Economics Journal-Special Edition Florida Economic Symposium, 1-16.
Smith, P.L., Smith, J.C., & Houpt, T.A. (2010). Interactions of temperature and taste in conditioned aversions. Physiology and Behavior, 99, 224-233.
Professional Paper Presentations
Smith, P.L. (October, 2013). Fido and Freud: The need for ego in a zombie apocalypse.
Presented at the Florida Collegiate English Association Annual Meeting, Ybor City, FL.
Smith, P.L. (March, 2013). The psychological significance of Children of Men: A unique perspective on “adaptation.” presented at the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Annual Conference, Orlando, FL.
Smith, P.L., Mauldin, M., Weber, T., & Tyes, B. (March 2015). Saliency of visual and auditory cues in anticipatory flavor conditioning. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting, Hilton Head, SC.
Smith, P.L., & Esparza, J. (March 2015). Slow but not steady: Studying patterns when using online resources. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting, Hilton Head, SC.
Smith, P.L., Haynes, C., & Bradshaw, E. (January 2015). Your brain on graphic novels: and what your body says. Presented at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology Meeting, St. Petersburg, FL.
Miller, A, Dodson, T., Smith, P.L., & Goodmon. L.B. (March 2014). Children’s preferences and recognition of different landscape photographs. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting, Nashville, TN.
Dyess, S., Perez, A., & Burgess, N., Dyer, C., & Smith, P.L. (March, 2014). Your brain on graphic novels I: Enhancing static neuroscience concepts. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting, Nashville, TN.
Burgess, N., Dyess, S., Lord, C., & Smith, P.L. (March, 2014). Your brain on graphic novels II: Enhancing dynamic neuroscience concepts. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting, Nashville, TN.
Smith, P.L., & Burgess, N. (January 2014). I wish I knew what I know now: Hindsight bias within the training of psychology undergraduates. Presented at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology Meeting, St. Petersburg, FL.
Good, B., Martin, B., Pike, K., & Smith, P.L. (March, 2013). You are what you eat: Personality influences on food preference. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting, Atlanta, GA.
Smith, P.L., Lord, C., & Darby, B. (March, 2013). This “moves” me: Psychoanalytical motifs in perception of animated art. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting, Atlanta, GA.
Hester, S., & Smith, P.L. (March, 2013). Putting your best face forward: Manipulation effects on aesthetic appreciation of faces. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association annual conference, Atlanta, GA.
Smith, P.L., Lord, C., Dyess, S.M., & St. Jean, T. (January, 2013). Getting graphic with the brain: The incorporation of graphic novelization into neuroscience pedagogy. Presented at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology Meeting, St. Petersburg, FL.
Quinlivan, D.S., Goodmon, L.B., Darby, B., & Smith, P. (January, 2013). Crimeopoly! Engaging with Monopoly to decrease the just-world bias. Presented at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology Meeting, St. Petersburg, FL.
Hester, S., Goodmon, L., Darby, B., & Smith, P.L. Picture This: Parameters in evaluating manipulated landscapes. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting, New Orleans, LA, February, 2012.
Stoltzfus, D., Johnson, N.K., & Smith, P.L. When I grow up: Moral and ethical development in undergraduates. Poster accepted at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2011.
Smith, P.L., Goodmon, L.B., & Darby, B. Undergraduates and mental health: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Poster accepted to the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2011.
Gold, A., Owen, K.A., Mann, A.N., & Smith, P.L. Unconditioned love: Relationships between music preference, affect, and memory. Poster accepted at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2011.
Buechel, K., & Smith, P.L. Eat your heart out: Social influences on feeding behavior. Poster accepted at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2011.
Smith, P.L., Darby, B., & Goodmon, L.B. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: Potential concerns about understanding mental illness in undergraduates. Poster accepted at the Annual Meeting of the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology, St. Petersburg, Florida, January 2011.
Ison, A, Osburn, M, Colbert, A., & Smith, P.L. Parameters of brand recall with body images as salient stimuli. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Charlotte, NC, March 2010.
Lisko, L.A., Primarolo, L.P., Smith, P.L., & Darby, B.W. Psychological assessment of non-traditional art media. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Charlotte, NC, March 2010.
Conlon, A.C., Rockwell, S, Stewart, L., & Smith, P.L. Memory responses to underweight women in advertisements. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Charlotte, NC, March 2008.
Anderson, S.A., Conlon, A.C., Eguizabal, C., Rockwell, S., & Smith, P.L. The effects of temperature on taste sensitivity in coffee samples. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Charlotte, NC, March 2008.
Conlon, A.C., Anderson, S.A., Allegood, A., & Smith, P.L. Sensory determinations of coffee and its additives. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Charlotte, NC, March 2008.
Flynn, K.L., Anderson, S., Howie, L., Conlon, A., Weaver, C.T., & Smith, P.L. O-R-E-Oh! Sensory and perceptual determination of hydrogenated and non-hydrogenated cookies. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in New Orleans, LA, February 2007.
Smith, P.L., Claywell, T., Strickland, A., Flynn, K.,L., & Weaver, C.T. Gator or Nole? social factors that affect food perception. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in New Orleans, LA, February 2007
Kaufmann, D.A., Bridges, S.A., & Smith, P.L. The effects of color schemes on card memory. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in New Orleans, LA, February 2007
Mulvaney, M., & Smith, P.L. Changes in the Social Behavior of an Autistic Child During Relationship Development Intervention Therapy: A Case Study. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Atlanta, GA, March 2006.
Smith, P.L., Flynn, K.L., & Weaver, C.T. Effects of knowledge of hydrogenated ingredients on perception of brownies. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Atlanta, GA, March 2006.
Bridges, S.A., & Smith, P.L. Music familiarity and its effects on memory recall. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Atlanta, GA, March 2006.
Lindberg, K., Freedman, K, Stuart, J.L., Smith, P.L., & Lawson, A.L. Effects of Examiner Skepticism on Concealing Information. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Atlanta, GA, 2004
Stuart, J.L., Lindberg, K., Smith, P.L., & Lawson, A.L. Indexing deception using a condition suppression technique. Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting in Atlanta, GA, 2004.
Smith, P.L., Smith, J.C., & Houpt, T.A., (2010). Interactions of temperature and taste in conditioned aversions. Physiology and Behavior, 99, 324-333.