2018 Spring Psyclone Newsletter


Vol. 43 No. 2

The longest running departmental newsletter on campus.


With Hannah Friesen on SST this semester, the writing off the newsletter returns to me. After a long, long (did I mention very long) winter, spring has finally arrived with its luscious green grass and beautiful tulips! This season of growth and rebirth is coupled with anticipation as graduation sends students on their way to life after Goshen College.  Here is a glimpse into some of those endings and beginnings.

-Julie Reese, PhD, Department Chair


Butler Conference:

On April 13, 5 senior psychology majors attended the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference in Indianapolis, IN. The 30th year for this conference, students from several states and numerous disciplines presented their research throughout the day. Students gave 15 minute presentations to other undergraduates and professors on the results of experiments they completed during the year in Research Methods I and II. . “Effects of Classical Music on Stroop Test”, by Erin Strock, Ryan Hartig, and Olivia Wenger, examined whether listening to classical music would yield a poorer performance on the Stroop Test. Cheyenne Petty and Mary Seeck, “Embodied Cognition: The Influence of Stable and Unstable Environments”, explored the impact of stable or unstable (wobbly) furniture on perceptions of stability in romantic couples. For the first time, the presentation times were in the last hour of the day, allowing for us to listen to more student presentations than in the past. While some heard statistics that they did not understand, most were encouraged by their breadth of knowledge in psychology.

The group of students and faculty are pictured below from left to right: Ryan Hartig, Julie Reese, Olivia Wenger, Cheyenne Petty, Erin Strock, Mary Seeck, and Amanda Sensenig.


Alumni Updates:

Prashansa Dickson ’16 is currently pursuing a Masters in Science in Forensic Psychology at Maastricht University. As part of her program, she will be interning at Ashworth Hospital in Liverpool where she will be conducting research with Jane Ireland, PhD on gaslighting and psychopathology.

Melissa (Mackowiak) Smith ’15 will begin a Master’s in School Counseling at St. Bonaventure this fall.

Erin Strock ’18 is moving to Indianapolis, IN to begin her Masters in Mental Health Counseling at the University of Indianapolis.

Nick Yoder ’18 will spend the next four years serving as a secondary English and Language Arts teacher with Urban Teachers Dallas/Ft Worth Texas. This program combines the job of teaching along with the pursuit of graduate glasses culminating in a Master’s of Science in Education.


In the Research:

Those of you who were around in the 1990s may remember the strong push to “build self-esteem”, particularly in the schools and in the home. Why is that mantra not commonly heard today? The answer may be found in a 2003 study by Baumeister and Vohs.

Recently, the March Perspectives on Psychological Science journal focused on the 30 most cited articles in the Association for Psychological Science and invited the researchers of those articles to comment.  Baumeister and Vohs (2003) discovered, contrary to the widely-held belief that high self-esteem is essential, only initiative (self-action) and happiness (subjective well-being) were strongly associated with high self-esteem. Indeed, the self-esteem research to that point had revealed correlations to favorable qualities, such as healthy filial and romantic relationships, leadership skills, academic performance, and happiness.

In retrospect, Baumeister and Vohs (2018) assert that the enthusiasm behind building self-esteem may have reflected the common error of believing correlation is causation. In addition, most studies utilized self-report measures, thus disregarding the human tendency to rate one’s self as above average even in the absence of objective support. More importantly, those who have high self-esteem give themselves excellent ratings on nearly all measures.

Baumeister and Vohs advocate that self-esteem remains an important area to explore, specifically, in better understanding the relationship between self-esteem and its confounding variables. Moreover, research indicates that self-control correlates with self-esteem and likely plays a larger, more enduring role, thus, meriting the attention of researchers.



Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger,

I., & Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does high

self-esteem cause better performance,

interpersonal success, happiness, or

healthier lifestyles? Psychological

Science in the Public Interest, 4, 1-44.


Baumeister, R. F., & Vohs, K. D. (2018).

 Revisiting our reappraisal of the

(surprisingly few) benefits of high self-

esteem, 13, 137-140.