Student-led Psychophysiology Research Published

T Patrick - P WoodyResearch conducted at CBU on brain activity in people who experience migraines has been published “online first” in the journal, Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. The article, entitled “Auditory event-related potentials in the interictal phase of migraine indicate alterations in automatic attention,” is co-authored by Dr. Jeffrey Sable (Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences), Toni Patrick (Natural Science ’14), Patrick Woody (Psychology ’17), Katelyn Baker (Biochemistry ’16), Stephanie Allen-Winters (Biology ’14), and Dr. Frank Andrasik (Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology at the University of Memphis). A view-only PDF of the article is freely available and it will be published in print next year.

The researchers measured electrical activity from the brains of both migraineurs and those who do not experience migraines. All individuals watched a silent video while sounds played in the background. Although the study sessions took place between headaches, certain brain responses to these ignored sounds were larger in the migraineurs.

Jeff Sable“It’s well established that migraine headaches are part of a larger cycle in those who experience them,” Sable explains. “Brain activity between headaches is abnormal, and it actually normalizes during the headache. The headache itself seems to be a sort of release valve.” Sable’s team looked at brain responses related to attention.

“The larger responses we saw in migraineurs suggests that they may experience some degree of heightened sensitivity to things in their environment, even when they don’t have a headache. In contrast, if these responses get smaller during headaches, as has been found with other brain activity, the headaches themselves may be accompanied by a sort of ‘mental fogginess’.”

The study was initiated by students in Sable’s Psychophysiology course at CBU, including Patrick, Baker, and Allen-Winters. Patrick and Woody later completed the study. Andrasik, a clinical psychologist and leading migraine expert, helped to finalize the paper for publication. Patrick and Woody have presented the research at conferences, including an international audience at an annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Sable said he takes pride in the interdisciplinary nature of this work: “The authors on this paper include students–now alumni–from four different CBU departments. That’s a big deal to me.”

Student Spotlight: Destiny Bell

cathedralRecently, I was granted the honor of traveling to Austria to present research that a few upperclassmen recruited me to help with. When I first came to CBU, I would have never thought this would be in my cards, but as I stood there staring at the huge plane carrying us to our layover in Spain, I knew it was all too real.

So what do you do when you travel to another country to a conference completely filled with graduates and professors? If you answered, “Cry,” you are partially right, at least on my mother’s part. I am pretty sure she tracked my plane throughout the whole ride. However, as much as I love my mom, the story lies in what happened once I finally got to Vienna, home to many glorious people like Sigmund Freud, Hans Asperger, and Wolfgang Mozart. How in the world was I going to do this?

After sleeping off the inevitable jet lag, the adventure carried on. The conference was held in The Hofburg, a place where it looked like Kings and Queens would vacation. Once again, it struck me that I was an undergraduate travelling the world with research I had worked so hard to complete. I was only involved in the data collection and analysis part, so I can only imagine how it felt for the authors of the project. As we finally walked through the doors, I got a badge with my name on it that clarified what institution I was from and the name of the conference, “Society for Psychophysiology Research.” This was the third conference I’ve attended, but this one was so much more, because I was out of my element. When the conference finally started, I was surprised at how much I could recall. I was able to sit there and defend the thought process and reasoning behind our poster, all while also drinking in the knowledge of others. You would not believe how many people approached us to simply spitball ideas for a new project.

In the middle of a foreign country, with a bunch of new people, I found myself and felt at home in the little bits around me; I found solace in the knowledge everyone came to share. As I wandered through the different posters, new ideas popped up, and I realized this is what I wanted to keep doing for the rest of my life. I want to travel and experience the commonality of knowledge in a room filled with total strangers.

illusion museumIf you think all the academic stuff was cool, you should have seen the adventures afterwards. We found new places to dine where they served us juicy sausages for a small price. We experienced the Natural History Museum and found more creatures than we cared to know were out there in the world. We got into trouble at the Museum Der Illusionen. We were able to see how the locals lived by taking the U-Bahn (subway). We had so much fun in that small week we were there. We exercised our intellectual curiosity by visiting the Freud Museum and learned about one of psychology’s founding fathers. I would go back every time and relive those awe-inspiring moments.

Destiny Bell
Psychology ’18
Cognitive Neuroscience Minor

Faculty News: NPR Interviews, Food Ethics, Money Disorders, and More…

Burke AwardDr. Tracie Burke (Behavioral Sciences) was awarded the National Alumni Board’s Teaching Excellence Award at the 2017 Bell Tower Gala. Having taught at CBU since 1997, Dr. Burke’s pedagogy emphasizes active learning, practical application of course material, and creating community in the classroom. In addition to her faculty work as a Professor of Psychology, Dr. Burke has been the director of the CBU Honors Program since 2000. In 2012, Dr. Burke spearheaded the creation of CBU’s September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds, which has provided nearly 9,000 hours of service to local non-profit agencies. Click the link to watch a video honoring Dr. Burke’s service to CBU and the community.


Ben JordanDr. Ben Jordan (History & Political Science) was interviewed by National Public Radio for Air Talk with Larry Mantle, Los Angeles NPR Radio Show, “How will admitting girls to some Boy Scouts programs change both organizations?” He was quoted in an article entitled “Boy Scouts vote to enroll girls, but will they sign up?” in the October 16 edition of The Boston Globe. Dr. Jordan, who authored Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America (UNC Press, 2016), was quoted in the article saying that he he thought the group would lift its ban on atheists before accepting girls: “They have held consistently to the line about not allowing girls. For over a century that seemed like an immovable line.” In relation to the recent topic of discussion, Dr. Jordan also authored an essay in The Conversation in March entitled: “What history tells us about Boy Scouts and inclusion.”


Dr. Samantha Alperin (Education), pictured above center on a visit to Bethlehem University in the Holy Land earlier this year, was featured recently in the “Visitors” section of Fall 2017 edition of Bethlehem University magazine.


EmilyDr. Emily Holmes (Religion & Philosophy) presented a paper titled, “Becoming Without Sacrifice: Women, Religion, and the Vegetal in Contemporary Food Ethics,” at the 8th Conference of the Irigaray Circle, A Sharing of Speech: Scholarship on or Inspired by the Work of Luce Irigaray, held at the Institute for Theological Partnerships at the University of Winchester, UK.


Peña_Nick_Infinite_Loop_WEB_readyProfessor Nick Peña was in a group show entitled ”Better Homes and Gardens” at Crosstown Arts this past October. His work was also featured in New American Paintings, Issue 130 (“South”), June/July 2017. Nick says he is “interested in the American Dream, the history of landscape painting, and the effects that cultural ideals have on both our environment and our national psyche.”



Colby_Taylor_AD_01-10-17_SN7442Dr. Colby Taylor (Behavioral Sciences), our resident Jeopardy champion, had his research entitled “Money Disorders and Locus of Control: Implications for Assessment and Treatment” published in the Journal of Financial Therapy. The study found that people who have an external locus of control – meaning that they attribute the causes of events to outside factors such as luck and fate – are more likely to develop problematic financial behaviors than people with an internal locus of control – meaning they attribute events to internal factors such as their own beliefs and behaviors. Having an external locus of control predicted behaviors such as buying too many things, hoarding money and things, gambling, and workaholism. Mental health professionals as well as financial planners may use these findings to assess the locus of control of their clients and to intervene accordingly.

Brother Mike's PartyThe Department of Education Celebrated Brother Michael Schmelzer’s 50 years a Christian Brother on November 4.







The following awards and announcements were presented at Community Convocation on August 17, 2016.

Dr. Chanda Murphy (Behavioral Sciences), was awarded Outstanding New Advisor.
Dr. James “Bru” Wallace (Chair, Religion & Philosophy), was awarded the Brother Bernard LoCoco Presidential Chair.
Ms. Jana Travis (Chair, Visual & Performing Arts), was awarded the Harold R. Krelstein Chair in Performing Arts & Communications.
Dr. Jeffrey Gross (Chair, Literature & Languages), was awarded tenure.
Mr. Matthew Hamner (Visual & Performing Arts), was promoted to Associate Professor.

The following faculty members promoted to the rank of Professor:

Dr. Scott D. Geis (Religion & Philosophy; Dean, Rosa Deal School of Arts)
Dr. Philip “Max” Maloney (Religion & Philosophy)
Ms. Jana Travis (Visual & Performing Arts)

Dr. Colby Taylor: Jeopardy Champion

Colby_Taylor_AD_01-10-17_SN7442Behavioral Sciences professor, Dr. Colby Taylor’s run on the TV game show “Jeopardy!”, in which he was a one-day Champion, was covered in several outlets in the local media. The Commercial Appeal ran three articles and WREG Channel 3 aired this report. After incorrectly answering “Hey Jude” to the final question on his first day — the name of the Beatles’ song sung by Ringo Starr that charted the highest — Dr. Taylor said his students reminded him of it the next morning. ”They all came in humming ‘Yellow Submarine,’” he told the CA.

English & Psychology Ranked #2 in Best Value for Small Colleges has ranked The Rosa Deal School of Arts degrees in English and Psychology #2 in best value for small colleges nationwide in 2016-2017. Both programs offer numerous paths of study including English, Creative Writing, English for Corporate Communications, Speech Pathology, and Cognitive Psychology. The programs were recognized for CBU’s low tuition costs, “the broad range of skills” students learn, and for being “a powerful incubator for undergraduate research, encouraging all students to produce original work and share their results with others in order to maintain a thriving intellectual community on campus.”

Alumni Making News: Memphis Flyer 20<30, Clinton Foundation, Award Winners & More

coverstory_20under30_p3a3365_michalyneasterMichalyn Easter (History ’13) was selected to The Memphis Flyer’s ”20<30: The Class of 2017,” an annual list of 20 young Memphians who are making a difference. Michalyn is a recipient of a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, and is currently a history teacher at Overton High School. she is the founder of the nonprofit Our Grass Our Roots in North Memphis, an organization designed to inform the community of resources and opportunities, resist gentrification, assist progressive developments, and advance individuals in the Memphis area.

Derrick Brown (MAT ’13) was a recipient of the 2016 SPARK Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations making a difference in our community. Derrick is an instructional resource teacher at Riverview Middle School and the founder and CEO of The Academy Memphis, which serves as an advocate to bridge students with special needs to higher education. The SPARK Award ceremony aired on WKNO on December 12 and is available online.

Kyra Sanchez Clapper (History ’13) recently passed her Comprehensive Exams for her Modern European History doctorate at the University of Memphis, and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, François Michael Mansour!  Her doctoral dissertation on early French Romanticism and the writings of François-Rene de Chateaubriand builds on her earlier research for her dual Master’s degrees in French and History from the U of M.

Lauren DahlkeLauren Dahlke (Psych ’15), has been awarded a Van Vleet Memorial Doctoral Award at the University of Memphis. This is a university-wide fellowship – the top offered by the University, and two awards were made this year. Each doctoral-granting department nominates candidates, which then compete at the university level.

While at CBU, among other things, Lauren did an extended internship in the Department of Psychology at St. Jude Children’s Hospital and was involved with several studies in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She represented CBU at numerous research conferences, including two international venues–one of which was the 2016 International Symposium on Lasallian Research. Lauren entered the UM Master of Science Program in General Psychology last year, and this year she applied and was accepted to the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology. This award is a tremendous honor for Lauren.

Sister Mary Juliana (MSEL ’05), Principal of St. Croix Catholic School in Stillwater, MN, was named Educator of the Year for 2017 by the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. You can read more about her and her extensive work in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Christopher Peterson (Philosophy ’10) and Dr. Emily Holmes (Religion and Philosophy) co-authored a chapter: “Race, Religion, and Justice: From Privilege to Solidarity in the Mid-South Food Movement” that will be published in Food Justice in US and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together, ed. Ian Werkheiser and Zachary Piso (Springer, 2017).

You can read more about Chris’s thoughts on our food system and his life as a farmer on his blog Farmlosophy and on Loch Holland Farm’s Facebook page.

SaraSwisherHeadshotSara Swisher (English ’16) has been accepted into the Master’s program for Public Service at The University of Arkansas’s Clinton School for Public Service. The Clinton School is the first to offer a Master’s degree in Public Service, and gives students the knowledge and field experience to further their careers in the non-profit, governmental, volunteer, and private sectors. Upon Sara’s entry into the Clinton School, she will complete an international project in the summer of 2018. She is looking forward to this new and unique experience and furthering her career in non-profit management and policy. The Clinton School is a natural step forward from her service as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) with the City of Memphis, during which she served as a Food Policy Coordinator at Memphis Tilth, which cultivates collective action for an economically sustainable, socially equitable, and environmentally sound local food system. Sara developed the Food Policy Program, one of Memphis Tilth’s seven programs, which has the mission to advance policy and practice within Shelby County and Memphis in order to promote food security and access.

Faculty Making News: Publications & Podcasts

carrierem_pic2Dr. Marius Carriere (History and Political Science) attended the Organization of American Historians conference in New Orleans in April, where he and several other historians were honored as Distinguished Historians.


Federico Gomez-Uroz (Literature and Languages) attended the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association conference for West Tennessee on March 25, where he chaired a session on the use of commercial games in the language classroom. The session was titled, “Using non-serious games in a serious way.” On March 26, he then spoke a panel on the Psychological Benefits of Gaming at Mid-South Cona local convention about Fantasy, Science Fiction, and gaming held each year in Memphis.

EmilyDr. Emily Holmes (Religion and Philosophy) was interviewed by Rev. Broderick Greer, Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, about her book, Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation, on December 14. The interview was recorded and broadcast as part of the Theology Live podcast series. Listen to the podcast.

Dr. Holmes and Christopher Peterson (Philosophy ’10) co-authored a chapter: “Race, Religion, and Justice: From Privilege to Solidarity in the Mid-South Food Movement” that will be published in Food Justice in US and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together, ed. Ian Werkheiser and Zachary Piso (Springer, 2017).

Dr. J. Seth Lee (Literature and Languages) gave a paper at the College English Association conference in Hilton Head at the end of March. His paper, “From Early Modern Print to EEBO: (Digital) Early Modern Texts in the 21st Century Classroom,” addressed how we can utilize technology in the classroom to better understand how texts work in both their “original” forms and their digital, 21st century manifestations. More specifically he outlined an assignment using GoogleDocs to create a digital commonplace book that would allow for the creation of a semester-long grand narrative of a course. The assignment offers a place where students can bring together their knowledge from other classes germane to the readings and discussions.

Dr. Rod Vogl (Behavioral Sciences) was quoted in an article in the February 2 edition of The Commercial Appeal, entitled “Healthy relationships, healthy you.” The article dealt with ways to make strong marriages and good friendships even better.

CBU Scientists Take Minneapolis By Storm

Three students, two alumni, and one faculty member represented CBU at two research conferences in Minneapolis in late September. The sextet combined to present two posters and one 50-minute talk.

At the annual meeting of the international Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR), CBU alumni Lauren Dahlke (Psychology ’16) and Daniel Gabriel (Natural Science ’16) presented “Emotional images reduce the N1 to auditory distractors.” James Rogers (Psychology ’17), Jamonté Wilson (Psychology ’15), and Dr. Jeff Sable (Behavioral Sciences) were also co-authors of the poster. Andrea Perez-MuñozPatrick Woody, and Rogers (all Psychology ’17) presented “N1 to distractor tones is affected by tone salience and primary task difficulty.” Wilson and Sable were also co-authors of this poster

Sable, Woody, Dahlke, EhrmantrautThe following week, Dahlke, Gabriel, and Sable joined Brother Dominic Ehrmantraut (Director of Mission and Special Assistant to the President) at the annual International Symposium on Lasallian Research. Dahlke, Gabriel, and Sable gave a presentation entitled “Distractibility: What we are learning from the brain about competition for our attention.” It was listed under the Educational Innovation theme—one of the research themes identified by the International Association of Lasallian Universities. Rogers, Woody, and Perez-Muñoz were also co-authors of this presentation.

All three presentations were based on student collaborations with Dr. Sable in the CBU Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, using equipment purchased with a Major Research Instrumentation award from the National Science Foundation. The researchers focused on a brain response called the N1 that reflects automatic attention. They measured this response to examine factors that influence distractibility.

Students also took on several responsibilities at the conferences. Gabriel volunteered to coordinate an initial effort to organize the grants and research coordinators of the seven universities in the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN). Gabriel, Rogers, Woody, and Sable joined the SPR Committee to Promote Student Interests, including the Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI) subcommittee.

Perez-Muñoz, Rogers, and Woody will be the first students to complete the new cognitive neuroscience minor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at CBU. Dahlke and Gabriel are currently graduate students in psychology at the University of Memphis.

Sable also co-authored a poster at the SPR meeting with faculty members from Salisbury University, the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Pennsylvania State University-Erie, and Swarthmore College entitled, “Infrastructure and resources for research at primarily undergraduate institutions.” CBU has become a national leader in engaging undergraduate students in research in the fields of psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Sable is involved in efforts to enhance communication and information sharing among schools that engage undergraduates in similar research.

Clockwork Case Study: A Personality Assessment of Alex from A Clockwork Orange

Andrea Perez-Munoz

Andrea Perez-Munoz (front right) with other students from the Department of Behavioral Sciences.

Andrea Perez-Muñoz (Psychology ’17) is the lead author of “Clockwork Case Study: A Personality Assessment of Alex from A Clockwork Orange,” was published in the Spring issue of the Journal of Psychological Inquiry.

The article is based on a term paper Andrea wrote for Dr. Jeff Sable’s PSYC 219 (Personality) course in fall 2014. Andrea said, “I remember thinking this was the most fun I’d had writing a paper, but I never thought it would be published!”

Dr. Sable, who frequently reviews manuscripts under consideration for publication in scientific journals, recalls, “The paper was so thorough and well-written, I thought, ‘This should be published!’ When Andrea submitted it, the reviewers seemed to agree!”

Andrea added, “I think I do my best work when I am genuinely interested in what I am doing. That kind of passion, coupled with my desire to engage in everything I do with a high degree of academic integrity, is my key to success and this publication is just one outcome of living by that rule.”

Dr. Sable believes Andrea’s success demonstrates the value of hard work in class, stating, “You never know what might come out of something that’s ‘just a class assignment’. What happens in class is as real as you make it.”

The full issue, including Andrea’s article, is now freely available online.

SOA Alumni Making News

Not a StrangerCBU alum Dennis Foley (’82) wrote and produced not a Stranger, a drama about a down-and-out, 50-year-old former high school teacher with a dark secret who befriends three 12-year-old boys, and helps one come to grips with his father’s death. Problems arise when police suspect the teacher of wrongdoing. The film was directed by and stars James Russo (pictured left).



Our Grass Our RootsMichalyn Easter (History ’13), a recipient of a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, has returned to the Memphis area to teach high school Social Studies and to unite education with community activism in the city. She is the founder of Our Grass Our Roots, “a grassroots, non-profit movement to assist in transforming the North Memphis neighborhood into an economically sustainable, community focused, cultural capital that will be the grounds for fighting gentrification and citizen displacement, involving the community, structures and businesses already present, and nurturing the individuals within the community to help make Memphis a better place.”

Danielle Hobbs (Psychology ’13) was recently named Embarker of the Week by The New Memphis InstituteEmbark is bringing together and shaping Memphis’ next group of young professionals. Our Embark alum are high-performing twenty-something change-makers who work together to make a meaningful mark on our city. We recognize those Embarkers making ripples in their professions and communities.

Bryan Williams (MAT ’03) was named as one of Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40.

David Vaughn (Psychology ’12) and Kara Jones (Psychology ’12) were joined in marriage on Oct. 22.