Welcome to the Psychology Department

Psychology is a science that studies behavior from psychological, biological, and social perspectives.

Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience - from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental healthcare services, "the understanding of behavior" is the enterprise of psychologists.


  • Conduct Research
  • Study and Contribute to the Work Environment
  • Promote Physical & Mental Health
  • Help People Learn
  • Work in the Community

Psychology in the News:

November 2022:

Katie Agenbroad - Undergraduate Student Research Showcase

The UCCS Aging Center has a new community Fact Sheet on Supporting Caregivers and Cognitive Care available now: UCCS Aging Center Fact Sheet - Supporting Caregivers  Cognitive Care Sept 2022

This educational resource shares findings from our recent community project funded by NextFifty Initiative and includes information about the importance of cognitive health, the UCCS Aging Center’s new Cognitive Care Advocate service and advancing caregiver resiliency through the Caregiver Family Therapy Model © by Dr. Sara Qualls.

October 2022:

Grai Calabro - Undergraduate Student Research Showcase

Research Achievements (Faculty, Staff, Students & Alumni):

Recently Funded Awards:

Leilani Feliciano - Psychology PhD Clinical Praticum PPEJC. Pikes Peak Elder Justice Center

Magdalene Lim - Supporting the UCCS Aging Center Aging Families and Caregiver Program. Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments

Heather Littleton - The Role of Stigma in Partner Violence: A Social Psychological and Ecological Perspective. University of Nebraska Subaward


Wynn, Thomas Grant and Frederick L. Coolidge. 2022. An Introduction to Evolutionary Cognitive Archaeology. New York, NY: Routledge.

Recent Publications:

Pick, Cari M., Ahra Ko, Douglas T. Kenrick, Adi Wiezel, Alexandra S. Wormley, Edmond Awad, Laith Al-Shawaf, et al. "Fundamental Social Motives Measured Across Forty-Two Cultures in Two Waves." Scientific Data 9, no. 1 (2022): 499. doi:10.1038/s41597-022-01579-w. https://rdcu.be/cTKXY

Parhoon, Kamal, Alireza Moradi, Hamid Alizadeh, Hadi Parhoon, Dhwani P. Sadaphal, and Frederick L. Coolidge. "Psychometric Properties of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Second Edition (BRIEF2) in a Sample of Children with ADHD in Iran." Child Neuropsychology 28, no. 4 (May 19, 2022): 427-436. doi:10.1080/09297049.2021.1975669

Ramos, Isabel F., Kharah M. Ross, Gabrielle R. Rinne, Jennifer A. Somers, Roberta A. Mancuso, Calvin J. Hobel, Mary Coussons-Read, and Christine Dunkel Schetter. "Pregnancy Anxiety, Placental Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone and Length of Gestation." Biological Psychology 172, (Jul, 2022): 108376. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2022.108376.  https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2022.108376.

Daniels, Elizabeth A., Morgan C. Jerald, and JoAnna Dieker. "Putting a Sexy Self Forward on Tinder: What do Viewers Think about Sexualized White Men?" Sex Roles 86, no. 7-8 (Mar 25, 2022): 428-440. doi:10.1007/s11199-022-01278-1.

Lac, Andrew, and Candice D. Donaldson. "Development and Validation of the Drama Triangle Scale: Are You a Victim, Rescuer, Or Persecutor?" Journal of Interpersonal Violence 37, no. 7-8 (Apr, 2022): NP4057-NP4081. doi:10.1177/0886260520957696

Christodoulou, Joan, and Andrew Lac. "Examining the Communication of Gender Roles to Parents: A Quantitative Content Analysis of Online Birth Congratulations Cards." Psychology and Sexuality 13, no. 3 (Jul 3, 2022): 640-651. doi:10.1080/19419899.2021.1902378

Littleton, Heather, Katie M. Edwards, Kayla E. Sall, Stephanie Lim, and Victoria Mauer. "COVID-Specific Coercive Control among Emerging Adults Attending College: A Brief Note." Journal of Family Violence (May 10, 2022): 1-7. doi:10.1007/s10896-022-00403-8.

Littleton, Heather, Laura Haney, Alex Schoemann, Ashley Allen, and Charles Benight. "Received Support in the Aftermath of Hurricane Florence: Reciprocal Relations among Perceived Support, Community Solidarity, and PTSD." Anxiety, Stress, and Coping 35, no. 3 (May 4, 2022): 270-283. doi:10.1080/10615806.2021.1956480.

Mauer, Victoria A., Heather Littleton, Stephanie Lim, Kayla E. Sall, Laura Siller, and Katie M. Edwards. "Fear of COVID-19, Anxiety, and Social Support among College Students." Journal of American College Health ahead-of-print, no. ahead-of-print (Mar 12, 2022): 1-8. doi:10.1080/07448481.2022.2053689.

Mahoney, C. T., S. R. Lawyer, S. E. Pemberton, and K. M. Marchant. " A Laboratory Examination of Risky Sexual Behavior among Female Sexual Trauma Survivors." Wiley Online Library (July 22,
 2022). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35867981/.

Mahoney, Colin T., Danielle R. Shayani, and Katherine M. Iverson. "Longing for Sleep After Violence: The Impact of PTSD Symptoms, Avoidance, and Pain on Insomnia among Female Veterans." Psychiatry Research 313, (Jul, 2022): 114641. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2022.114641.

Morgan, Jonathan. "The Promises and Pitfalls of Facilitated Spiritual Experiences for the Study of Religion." Religion, Brain & Behavior ahead-of-print, no. ahead-of-print (Jul 13, 2022): 1-7. doi:10.1080/2153599X.2022.2091008.

Okun, ML, Walden, A, Robertson AC, Oltz, K, Ingram, REFeliciano, L. In Press. Psychological and Physical Health Behavior Deviations in Students amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of American College Health.

Roncoroni, Julia, Michele Okun, and Amy Hudson. "Systematic Review: Sleep Health in the U.S. Latinx Population." Sleep (New York, N.Y.) (Apr 23, 2022). doi:10.1093/sleep/zsac092.

Overmann, Karenleigh A, Thiago Chacon, and Annick Payne. 2022. “Desana Numerical Symbols: An Indigenous Creation Narrated by Diakuru and Kisibi.” Written Language & Literacy 25 (2): 133–158.

McPartlan, Peter, Dustin B. Thoman, Jennifer Poe, Felisha A Herrera, and Jessi L. Smith. "Appealing to Faculty Gatekeepers: Motivational Processes for Intentions to Adopt an Evidence-B Ased Intervention." Bioscience 72, no. 7 (Jul 1, 2022): 664-672. doi:10.1093/biosci/biac029. https://search.proquest.com/docview/2683004584.

Helm, Peter J., Uri Lifshin, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski. "Will Life Extension Affect our Social Judgments? Evidence that the Possibility of Indefinite Life Extension Increases Harshness Toward Social Transgressors." Psychological Reports 125, no. 2 (Apr, 2022): 1041-1067. doi:10.1177/0033294121988997.  https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0033294121988997.

O'Malley, Kelly A., and Sara H. Qualls. "Validation of a Comprehensive Measure of the Family Caregiver Experience: The Caregiver Reaction Scale." Clinical Gerontologist 45, no. 3 (May 27, 2022): 503-513. doi:10.1080/07317115.2020.1774455.

Samuelson, Kristin W., Kelly Dixon, Joshua T. Jordan, Tyler Powers, Samantha Sonderman, and Sophie Brickman. "Mental Health and Resilience during the Coronavirus Pandemic: A Machine Learning Approach." Journal of Clinical Psychology 78, no. 5 (May, 2022): 821-846. doi:10.1002/jclp.23254.

Ehman, Anandi C., Andrew J. Smith, Hannah Wright, Scott A. Langenecker, Charles C. Benight, Shira Maguen, Jeffrey M. Pyne, Irene J. Harris, Nathaniel Cooney, and Brandon J. Griffin. "Exposure to Potentially Morally Injurious Events and Mental Health Outcomes among Frontline Workers Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic." EPub (August 4, 2022). doi:10.1037/tra0001345.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35925697/.

Ashburn-Nardo, L., Moss-Racusin, C. A., Smith, Jessi. L., Sanzari, C. M., Vescio, T. K., & Glick, P. (2022). The Reproducibility Movement in Psychology: Does Researcher Gender Affect How People Perceive Scientists With a Failed Replication? Frontiers in Psychology13https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.823147

Smith, Jessi L., L. Lynn Vidler, and Michele S. Moses. "The "Gift" of Time: Documenting Faculty Decisions to Stop the Tenure Clock during a Pandemic." Innovative Higher Education (Jun 28, 2022): 1-19. doi:10.1007/s10755-022-09603-y.

Stone, Lisa E.,
 Daniel L. Segal, and Frederick L. Coolidge. "Impact of Self-Reported Cognitive Dysfunction on the Alternative Model of Personality Disorders among Older Adults." Aging & Mental Health ahead-of-print, no. ahead-of-print (Mar 21, 2022): 1-7. doi:10.1080/13607863.2022.2056141.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13607863.2022.2056141.

Walden, Allison, and Leilani Feliciano. "A Virtual Reality Intervention to Reduce Dementia-Related Agitation using Single-Case Design." Clinical Gerontologist 45, no. 4 (Aug 8, 2022): 1044-1054. doi:10.1080/07317115.2021.1954121.

White, Kaitlyn P., Stanisław K. Czerwiński, Rachel Mulhearn, and Peter K. Jonason. "How Disgust Predicts the Adoption of Mate Shortage Solutions." Personality and Individual Differences 196, (Oct, 2022): 111734. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2022.111734.

September 2022:

Feliciano & Okun - COVID-19 was bad for college students’ health. How should universities respond?

Weiskittle & Stone - UCCS researchers find support for local grief center

July 2022:

Daniels speaks on Natalia Dyer, that controversial TikTok and when cosmetic "advice" backfires

Welcome to new Assistant Professor of Quantitative Psychology, Kristen Rudd.

Coolidge - An Introduction to Evolutionary Cognitive Archaeology

June 2022:

Smith - The Reproducibility Movement in Psychology: Does Researcher Gender Affect How People Perceive Scientists With a Failed Replication?

Lac - What is the expectation effect, and why does it matter? 

Finding career success with motivation, application, and execution - Jason Griffin (alumnus)

Littleton - Featured panelist on podcast about Impact on Mass Shootings

May 2022:

Undergraduate Research Academy 2022 Cohort Awardees - Daniels, Francis, James, Weiskittle, Selmeczy, Segal & Littleton (mentors)

Dr. JoAnna Dieker (alumna) Daniels (mentor) - Men who pose shirtless on Tinder are perceived as less competent and more risky to sexual behavior

April 2022:

Mahoney - Psychology CRCW 2022 Awardee 

March 2022:

Al-Shawaf - 2022 Students’ Choice for Educator of the Year Award

Al-Shawaf - 2022 Faculty Award for Excellence in Research 

Coolidge - Has COVID-19 Changed Our Dreams?

February 2022:

Tom Pyszczynski receives 2022 Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the International Society for the Science of Existential Psychology

Daniels - Olympic athletes like Chloe Kim and Erin Jackson can change how girls see their bodies

January 2022:

Resources to support student inclusion at UCCS

Smith - Still avoiding life admin? How to motivate yourself to do even the dullest of tasks

Daniels - Sports Illustrated Wants Its New Swimsuit Issue To Empower Women, But Will It Succeed?

Feliciano - Why older adults are more resilient in the face of pandemic

October 2021:

Bob Durham Award Fund in Psychology - To provide awards for outstanding undergraduate students enrolled in the Psychology Department in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at UCCS. If $25,000 is reached, the fund will convert to an endowment.

Dr. Kadija Williams Scholarship Fund - To provide graduate student scholarship awards, which may include research-related expenses, for graduate students enrolled in the Psychology Department at UCCS. If $25,000 is reached, the fund will convert to an endowment.

September 2021:

Student Research Showcase: Naila Tagoilelagi

August 2021:

Welcome to new Assistant Professor of Trauma Psychology, Steve Bistricky

July 2021:

Al-Shawaf - Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Welcome to new Assistant Professor of Trauma Psychology, Colin Mahoney

Faculty Feature: Heather Littleton

June 2021: 

APA - The growing demand for geropsychologists

Congrats to Dr. Jessi Smith (PI) and Dr. Beth Daniels (Co-PI) for their recent funded grant from NSF. Project Title: Adaptation: Project CREST - Changing Research Experiences, Structures, and (in)Tolerance through the Adaptation of Promising Equity Practices.

Dr. Sheri Gibson - Helping patients coping with COVID19 grief

Funded Awards:

Michele Okun, Leilani Feliciano - Insomnia Phenotypes and their Impact on Maternal and Infant Health. National Institutes of Health


Swanson, Chelsea L., Lori E. James, and Rebecca E. Ingram. "Incidental learning of proper names and “earwitness” recall." Memory (2021): 1-8.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2021.1925301

Christodoulou, Joan, and Andrew Lac. "Examining the Communication of Gender Roles to Parents: A Quantitative Content Analysis of Online Birth Congratulations Cards." Psychology & Sexuality (2021). https://doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2021.1902378

Carroll, Judith E., Kharah M. Ross, Steve Horvath, Michele Okun, Calvin Hobel, Kelly E. Rentscher, Mary Coussons-Read, and Christine Dunkel Schetter. "Postpartum sleep loss and accelerated epigenetic aging." Sleep health (2021). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2021.02.002

Overmann, Karenleigh Anne. "A Cognitive Archaeology of Writing: Concepts, Models, Goals." In The Social and Cultural Contexts of Historic Writing Practices, eds. P.J. Boyes, P.M. Steele, N.E. Astoreca, 55-72. Oxford: Oxbow, 2021.

Brimbal, Laure, Christian A. Meissner, Steven M. Kleinman, Erik L. Phillips, Dominick J. Atkinson, Rachel E. Dianiska, Jesse N. Rothweiler, Simon Oleszkiewicz, and Matthew S. Jones. "Evaluating the benefits of a rapport-based approach to investigative interviews: A training study with law enforcement investigators." Law and Human Behavior 45, no. 1 (2021): 55. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/lhb0000437

Roberts, Jennifer R., and Molly Maxfield. “A 2-Study Psychometric Evaluation of the Modified Dementia Worry Scale.” American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias, (January 2021). https://doi.org/10.1177/1533317521995322.

Leckey, Sarah, Diana Selmeczy, Alireza Kazemi, Elliott G. Johnson, Emily Hembacher, and Simona Ghetti. "Response latencies and eye gaze provide insight on how toddlers gather evidence under uncertainty." Nature Human Behaviour 4, no. 9 (2020): 928-936. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0913-y   

Porter, Tenelle, Karina Schumann, Diana Selmeczy, and Kali Trzesniewski. "Intellectual humility predicts mastery behaviors when learning." Learning and Individual Differences 80 (2020): 101888. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2020.101888

May 2021:

NPR: Daniels speaks on female athletes’ stand against sexualization

April 2021:

Daniels & Selmeczy - 2021 CRCW Awardees

UCCS Graduate School programs in latest U.S. News & World Report Rankings
#120 in the nation for best graduate Clinical Psychology program
#148 in the nation for best graduate Psychology program

JOB OPENING: Assistant Professor - Clinical Psychology - Trauma

Remembering Bob Durham

March 2021:

UCCS Aging Center receives $160,000 to care for vulnerable older adults

In Memory: Robert Durham

December 2020:

FALL 2020 Commencement: https://commencement.uccs.edu/fall-ceremony

Congratulations to our 2020 UCCS campus award winners: Campus Legacy Builder: Dr. Frederick Coolidge & Faculty Assembly Service Award: Dr. Elizabeth Daniels

UCCS Aging Center receives NextFifty Initiative grant to advance independence for at-risk seniors

November 2020:

Samuelson named to the UCCS Million Dollar Club

Pyszczynski named 2020 Outstanding Research Mentor

UCCS program to help people cope with pandemic-related stress spreads to 37 states.

October 2020:

Distinguished Professor Tom Pyszczynski to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association

Psychology graduate students (Adams, Catarino, Lockett) to present posters at Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association Conference

August 2020:

Welcome to Instructor: Dr. Tom Francis

Welcome to Instructor: Dr. Nina Dulabaum

July 2020:

Seven steps to creating resilience during a pandemic

Benight on resilience: “We’re going to get through this”

June 2020:

Daniels - Five researchers to be featured on next week’s “The Academic Minute”

May 2020:

Psychology professor Beth Daniels to pursue first-ever Fulbright fellowship focused on gender studies

Harwell - Sleep and Trauma: What we know and where we are headed

Daniels - The New York Times: What Is Beauty Now?

2020 LAS Awards - Psychology

Congratulations, UCCS' LAS Class of 2020!

Okun and Feliciano study pandemic’s effect on students’ physical and psychological health

Psychology graduate alumni making an impact

April 2020:

Commencement Feature: Yeager brings technology background to address trauma treatment

Psychology graduate programs best program distinctions in latest U.S. News & World Report rankings

CU On Air - Psychology alumna Dr. Mary Dodge - CU Denver prof examines white-collar and traditional criminals, investigations, trends and tech

Thayer awarded grant by the Committee on Research and Creative Works (CRCW)

Qualls and Benight featured in local news outlets

Daniels receives UCCS Faculty Assembly Service Award

March 2020:

Al-Shawaf named Rising Star by Association for Psychological Science

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Anti-racism Statement

The UCCS Psychology Department stands strongly as allies of those protesting both the recent and long history of deaths through violence in our racist society.  We are firmly antiracist, and work actively to raise our own awareness, understanding, and commitment to action toward the advancement of social equity, justice, and inclusiveness.  We recognize the extraordinary pain that is born by Black members of our society whose lineage of slavery in the U.S. continues to produce policies and practices that threaten their lives and livelihood.  We deeply grieve the loss of innocent lives of Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, as some of the most recent Black victims of senseless and tragic killings at the hands of police. We want to acknowledge the students, faculty, and staff who may be sharing in this incredible sadness and pain.  We also want to acknowledge the ways in which that pain surrounds us, impacting our society more broadly in ways that we hope will lead to significant changes. 

We seek to participate in changes that improve social justice and equity in the coming days/weeks/months/years.  We acknowledge that psychology has historically contributed to systems that perpetuate racism; we will actively attend to our history and work to change our future impact. As such, our department commits to improving our own community’s inclusivity.  Some immediate actions we are taking are to conduct a student survey about areas of concern and opportunity for change in our department.  A departmental Diversity Committee is building a strategic plan of action over the summer, with plans for implementation of specific activities in the fall.  The plan will incorporate recommendations from experts in leading departmental cultural change as well as from the suggestions of a graduate student discussion that followed participation in the “Racism Pandemic” Special Townhall hosted by APA.  We will be creating mechanisms for input and engagement from all members of our community.

In preparation for the social justice work we have to do, we encourage all to engage in a substantive self-education effort.  Here are two reasonable places to start: anti-racism resourceswhat can you do. Watch for more opportunities to learn, grow, expand consciousness, communicate and work for justice for all members of our society.  We acknowledge that this will be a long-term process that requires effort and, at times discomfort, which we commit to do.