Psychology Department Overview

by Public Relations

Cedarville University’s psychology program teaches students how to think biblically and critically about human behavior across genders, cultures and ages as students are encouraged to relate psychological principles to daily living. Students and professors in the department also work rigorously each year to expand their knowledge and their field in the area of research.

Two of those students who have been busy researching are senior psychology majors Erin McGuire and Trevor Moffitt, who have been working with Milt Becknell, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, and Chi-en Hwang, Ph.D., professor of psychology, on a study involving procrastination and circadian rhythms. Their findings suggest that college students claiming to be “night owls” score higher on levels of procrastination than those who are early risers.

Senior psychology majors Jessica Robb and Stephanie Merritt also completed a project with Hwang and Charles Dolph, Ph.D., professor of psychology, investigating the relationship between accents and credibility. Participants in this study rated accuracy, credibility, deceptiveness and guilt among other factors after listening to auto accident testimonies from a Hispanic accented speaker and a Middle Eastern accented speaker or after reading a transcript. The study revealed that gender of those hearing the testimonies significantly affected the ratings as more female participants rated accented speakers more positively than the transcripts.

Students also have the opportunity to share their work with others in the field. Dolph will accompany McGuire, Robb and Merritt to Washington, D.C., where students will present their research at the annual meeting of the Association of Psychological Science.

Cosette Fox, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, has also been working with students on a variety of projects concerning the effects of glucose on memory. The main theme of Fox’s program of research is the effect of glucose and emotional arousal on memory performance. Most of the study used general psychology students as participants, but one study included elderly volunteers. Some participants showed that glucose caused more emotional arousal on memory whereas others did not, so the question is still being addressed. Results of these various studies have been presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual conference for the last three years, and Fox is collaborating with colleagues in the field to publish several scientific articles.

Michael Firmin, Ph.D., professor of psychology, and Cedarville University will also host the 23rd Annual Ethnographic & Qualitative Research Conference for professionals this summer. Professionals from across the nation will come and present their research.

Most recently, 13 students from the psychology department did poster or podium presentations at the Second Annual Cedarville University Research and Scholarship Symposium. Topics included “Stress Coping Methods of University Students,” “Eating Attitudes and Body Image,” and a collaborative study with the School of Pharmacy on “Student Motivations for Pursuing Pharmacy as a Vocation.” 

Faculty and students have been busy collaborating together this year to create a dynamic learning and research experience. The intentional practice within the psychology department allows students to gain real-world capabilities and contribute to their field as undergraduates.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,200 undergraduate, graduate, and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at