Dr. John Akamatsu - Professional and ethical issues in clinical psychology; gender and ethnic differences in depression; cognitive factors in social behaviors.
Dr. Yossef S. Ben-Porath - Objective personality assessment with emphasis on the MMPI instruments, including applications in a variety of settings (clinical, correctional, forensic, and pre-employment screening) and computerized adaptive testing.
Dr. John Gunstad - Clinical neuropsychology, including the effects of disease on neurocognitive function; and environmental factors that adversely impact cognitive function.
Dr. Mary Beth Spitznagel - Clinical neuropsychology; cognition in aging; particularly correlates of healthy cognitive aging and factors associated with disease processes impacting cognition in older adults.
About the Assessment Psychology Program
Assessment Psychology is the field of behavioral science concerned with methods of identifying similarities and differences among people in their personal characteristics and capabilities. Psychologists aren’t psychic—they can’t read your mind and solve all of your problems. Like detectives, assessment psychologists gather multiple pieces of information to learn about individuals. The psychological assessment process involves giving tests, conducting interviews, and reviewing existing records in order to answer questions about the individual being assessed.
The Assessment Psychology graduate specialty at Kent State features cutting-edge research from expert faculty in a number of areas including:
- Assessing personality and psychopathology
- Effects of age and disease on the brain and behavior
- Conducting psychological assessments in forensic settings
Research Training in Assessment Psychology
Assessment research focuses on the development and validation of ways to gauge important individual differences. At Kent State, we concentrate on widely used psychological tests designed to assess personality and psychopathology in adults and adolescents (MMPI-2, MMPI-2-RF, and MMPI-A) and neuropsychological tests to determine the impact of age and disease on brain function and behavior. Students are involved in grant-funded studies and have opportunities to present their own research at national scientific meetings. Many of our graduate students publish their research in leading psychology journals.
Examples of current assessment research activities at Kent State include:
- Validation of a new, shorter version of the MMPI-2, the MMPI-2 RF (Restructured Form)
- Detection of misleading responding to psychological tests
- Brain function in persons with heart disease and those undergoing bariatric surgery
- The potential benefits of diet and exercise on conditions like Alzheimer's disease
Coursework in Assessment Psychology
Students interested in the Assessment Psychology specialty are expected to complete departmental and clinical core course requirements. In addition, they should register for elective assessment courses related to their research interests and career goals. Advanced courses include Child Assessment, Behavioral Assessment, Neuropsychological Assessment, and Forensic Psychology. Some other elective courses may be waived to give students more time for involvement in additional research projects.
Clinical Experiences in Assessment Psychology
Assessment Psychology students are exposed to a wide variety of clinical problems and procedures during the second year clinical practicum. While the emphasis is on psychotherapy, assessment is an integral part of the training provided. Brief assessments are conducted with all adult clients, and more comprehensive assessments are conducted with selected clients. Students can select a third year specialty practicum that focuses on personality and neuropsychological assessment. Fourth year community placements at a forensic assessment facility, a medical center, and community mental health centers can further enhance assessment skills. Internship selection provides another opportunity for students to acquire more assessment experience.
Recent Ph.D. Graduates in Assessment Psychology
- Andreana Benitez, Ph.D.
- Stephanie Miller, Ph.D.
- Brian O’Reilly, Ph.D.
- Martin Sellbom, Ph.D.
- Dustin Wygant, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow in Assessment Psychology
- Curtis Mattson, Ph.D.
Current Graduate Students in Assessment Psychology
- Michael Alosco
- Danielle Burchette
- Jude Chamberlain
- Wendy Dragon
- Sarah Garcia
- Lynn Kakos
- Tayla Lee
- Lindsay Miller
- Omar Sandoval
- Ashley Smith
- Kelly Stanek
- Ashley Szabo
- Anthony Tarescavage
- Carlo Veltri