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Research Masters Faculty Interests


Mike Biderman (Ph.D., University of Iowa)

Dr. Biderman teaches introductory and intermediate statistics courses, sensation and perception, and the graduate research methods sequence in the I/O program.  His research interests involve the measurement of faking of personality tests, the measurement and use of response consistency in applicant selection, and investigation of creation of selection tests with minimal adverse impact.

Amanda Clark (Ph.D., University of Waterloo)

Dr. Clark is interested in studying attention-related errors of everyday living and her work focuses on the development of assessments that are ecologically valid and clinically relevant. In her research, she continues to study healthy younger and older adults as well as individuals who experience executive dysfunction due to a traumatic brain injury or stroke. Dr. Clark integrates her research in the courses she teaches, primarily Psychology of Aging, Physiological Psychology, Advanced Seminar in Psychological Processes and Cognitive Aging and Assessment.  Dr. Clark participates in interdisciplinary research activities across the UTC campus and the greater Chattanooga area including:  Research Center for Applied Biomolecular, Behavioral, and Health Studies

Christopher J.L. Cunningham (Ph.D., Bowling Green State University)

Dr. Cunningham teaches organizational psychology, organizational development and change, and quantitative/qualitative research methods to graduate students in the M.S. program in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology.  He also teaches select undergraduate core courses in psychological research methods, statistics, assessment development, and professional ethics and career planning.  His current research addresses multiple OHP topics, including need for resource recovery and recovery from occupational stress, the influence of individual differences in personality and fitness on the stress process, and issues regarding work-nonwork role integrations.  He is also involved as an adjunct clinical research professor at the UT College of Medicine/Erlanger Hospital campus, where he is involved with projects that seek to improve healthcare provider health and wellbeing at work, as well as efficiency on the job.

Preston Foerder (Ph.D., The Graduate Center of the City University of New York)

Dr. Foerder’s research is in the field of comparative psychology, the study of behavior across species. Over the years, Dr. Foerder has trained fish and lizards, studied a captive walrus birth and penguin social systems. His current interests lie mainly in comparative cognition. In research published in the journal PLOS ONE, Dr. Foerder found the first evidence for insightful problem solving in Asian elephants. Dr. Foerder is now taking advantage of the many opportunities for research in the Chattanooga area. He is studying wolf and sandhill crane behavior at the Chattanooga Nature Center and visual and chemosensory discrimination in the giant Pacific octopus at the Tennessee Aquarium. Dr. Foerder will be expanding his research on problem solving to African elephants in the zoos surrounding southeast Tennessee.  Dr. Foerder participates in interdisciplinary research activities across the UTC campus and the greater Chattanooga area including:  Research Center for Applied Biomolecular, Behavioral, and Health Studies  Dr. Foerder secured $15,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga to initiate a collaborative, educational outreach program that will help K-12 public school students gain STEM research experience while working with animals. 


Ralph Hood (Ph.D., University of Nevada)

Dr. Hood is a social psychologist whose major interests are in philosophical psychology and the psychology of religion.  He is co-founder of the International Federation of the Psychology of Religion and co-founder of the International Journal of the Psychology of Religion.  He is apast editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.  He is past president of APA's Division 36 and a recipient of its William James award for excellence in research, as well as its Mentor and Distinguished Service awards.  His major research interests are reflected in his publications.  He is co-author of The Psychology of Religion, editor of The Handbook of Religious Experience and co-editor of the Measures of Religiosity.  Other books include Dimensions of Mystical Experiences: Empirical Studies and Psychological Links; The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism, Blood & Fire, and Them That Believe; The Power and Meaning of the Christian Serpent Handling Tradition.  Dr. Hood and his Psychology of Religion Lab at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Experimental Labs of Dr. Jeff Larsen and Dr. Mike Olson at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation for $253,305.00 to study the conditions that determine how Americans image Jesus.  Dr. Hood secured $73,708 from the Universitat Bielefeld and John Templeton Foundation to assess possible changes in faith development in approximately 300 participants.    

Brian O'Leary (Ph.D., Tulane University)

Dr. O'Leary's research interests focus on the effects of organizational justice on individual, group, and organizational performance.  This is an outgrowth of his interest in the area of racial diversity in the workplace and employment discrimination law, as the ultimate goal of the civil rights movement was to create a just society and a correspondingly fair workplace.  He has also developed, with the assistance of I-O graduate T.J. Clayton, a new construct related to organizational support, described as Perceived Subordinate Support (PSubS), which examines the extent to which supervisors feel supported by their subordinates.  PSubS shows promise for filling a gap in the existing organizational support literature.

Nicky Ozbek (Ph.D., University of Georgia)

Dr. Ozbek regularly consults at Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation and presents annually on topics related to rehabilitation psychology.  She participates in interdisciplinary research activities across the UTC campus and the greater Chattanooga area including:  Research Center for Applied Biomolecular, Behavioral, and Health Studies  Interest in measuring depression in the medically ill, several years ago, led Dr. Nicky Ozbek to examine the relationship between loss of olfactory sensitivity with depression, illness, and injury.. This research led to further inquiry as to the underlying processes that occur when olfactory sensitivity is compromised. The scientific journey that started with measurement has led Nicky Ozbek to collaborative projects with colleagues in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and the Medical community. Current research is focused on the olfactory sensitivity and depression when kidney disease is present.  Dr. Ozbek was elected to the APA's Council of Representatives for 2015

David F. Ross (Ph.D., Cornell University)

Dr. Ross is interested in developmental and social psychology.  He conducts research on children's and adults' eyewitness memory and on adults' views of children's believability as witnesses.  He has edited several books on the topics of children's and adults' eyewitness testimony, and consulted with judges and attorneys on children's and adults' eyewitness issues.  Dr. Ross teaches courses in Social Psychology, Psychology and Law, and Developmental Psychology.  

Due in part to Dr. David Ross’ testimony related to police lineups and eyewitness testimony, as well as his continued commitment to the cause, a Missouri judge has overturned the life sentence (without possibility of parole) of Anthony Williams, who was convicted of 1st degree murder in 1993 at the age of 14

Jill Talley Shelton (Ph.D., Louisiana State University)

Dr. Shelton’s research explores how attention and memory interact in college students and how these processes change in healthy older adults and in those with dementia Dr. Shelton conducts translational research that extends laboratory findings to real-world settings, such as the classroom. There are currently three lines of study within Dr. Shelton’s research program. First, she explores the cognitive processes that support prospective memory (i.e., memory for the future), and how prospective memory demands influence student’s performance in the classroom. Second, Shelton investigates the detrimental effects of phone conversations on classroom performance and on consumer decision-making practices. Third, Shelton examines how individual differences in working memory predict performance in areas, such as intelligence and prospective memory. Dr. Shelton teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in cognitive psychology, aging, and experimental psychology.

Amye R. Warren (Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology)

Dr. Warren is a developmental psychologist with research interests in the development of memory and language skills in preschool and school-aged children. Her current research applications include children's testimony in legal cases, training programs to improve the skills of those who interview child witnesses, perceptions of child abuse allegations, and juvenile interrogations and confessions. Additionally, Dr. Warren’s work examines professional development for educators to facilitate language and literacy development from early childhood onward. She serves as program evaluator for a community school readiness program as well as a U.S. Department of Education grant project designed to increase the number and quality of teachers who work with English language learners. Dr. Warren regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in developmental psychology (child development and applied developmental) as well as graduate courses in teaching psychology and research methods.

Paul Watson (Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington)

Dr. Watson teaches large sections of Introductory Psychology and a junior level course in the University Honors Program entitled Origins of the Social Sciences from 1600 to 1900. His primary research interests are in the psychology of religion and in personality theory. He has published over 200 papers with recent projects in the psychology of religion including samples from Iran, Pakistan, China, Tibet, and India. In personality theory, his research focus centers on narcissism and self-knowledge.

Bart Weathington (Ph.D., University of Houston)

Dr. Weathington's primary teaching responsibilities are for the job analysis and personnel selection courses in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology graduate program.  In addition, he teaches undergraduate research methods.  Dr. Weathington's research currently focuses on issues regarding employee selection, discipline, and compensation.  He also conducts research on the psychology of money and in the area of sport psychology with a specific focus on the coach-athlete interaction.