Brian Cusato joined Centre’s faculty in 2006 as assistant professor of psychology, and became an associate professor and Centre Scholar in 2009. In 2016, Cusato was named associate academic dean of the College.
Dr. Cusato’s research interests concern the behavioral mechanisms of learning in animals. He is most interested in adaptive specializations in learning, and the integration of biological, comparative, and evolutionary approaches to the study of learned behavior. Most of his experiments investigate how learning occurs in the sexual behavior system, and how animals learn about the species typical cues they experience during naturally occurring social interactions. This is a novel approach to the study of learning—general enough to apply across species, yet specific enough to reflect the evolutionary history and genetics of particular species and individuals. The work is revealing sex differences in learned behavior and the importance of learning in ecologically relevant social situations. Cusato’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, and findings from his experiments have been published in numerous journals including Animal Learning and Behavior, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Behavioural Processes, The International Journal of Comparative Psychology, and Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.
Cusato received a B.A. in psychology from Muhlenberg College, a master’s degree from Bucknell University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
File last updated: 8/2/13
Aaron Godlaski joined Centre’s faculty in 2012 as an assistant professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Kentucky, where he studied alcohol and human behavior. Following the completion of his dissertation, he interned at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., specializing in clinical health psychology and outpatient psychotherapy.
Godlaski’s research interests include the effects of mindfulness meditation on cognitive and physiological processes, and the effects of alcohol on human behavior. He is also interested in pedagogical innovations associated with meditation and other contemplative practices, and how such practices can enrich the lives of students.
File last updated: 2/19/16
Jennifer Goetz joined the Centre College faculty in 2011. She is associate professor of psychology and was awarded a Stodghill Research Professorship in 2014. Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Goetz taught at Middlebury College.
Goetz is a social and cultural psychologist who specializes in emotional experience and expression, cultural values, and Chinese culture. Her research on compassion, expression of positive emotions, and the influence of social class and power on emotional experience have appeared Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Science, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. She has published chapters on cultural influences on mixed emotions and self-conscious emotions and wrote the introductory chapter of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Compassion Science. In her previous research, Dr. Goetz studied human-robot interaction to examine how humans anthropomorphize robots.
Goetz teaches a variety of upper-level courses in psychology including Cultural Psychology, Motivation and Emotion, and Psychology of Race and Ethnicity. She also enthusiastically teaches Experimental Methods and mentors students in independent research.
She earned a Ph.D. in social and personality psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. in information and decision systems from Carnegie Mellon University. Somewhere in between that she spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa.
File last updated: 9/7/16
Matthew Kassner joined Centre in 2014 as assistant professor of psychology.
He earned a B.S. at the University of Tennessee, and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in social psychology at Purdue University.
Ain Simpson graduated with his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Melbourne (Australia) in August, 2014, where he also taught numerous undergraduate psychology courses. This followed undergraduate degrees in Arts and Music (also at the University of Melbourne).
He recently completed a 3-year postdoc at Ohio University. His Ph.D. research investigated how moral judgments, political ideology, and attitudes toward social issues are shaped by factors pertaining to interpersonal relationships and social-relational cognition. His main research interests are in the psychology of morality, social identity, religion, and intergroup relations. His current research focuses on the psychology of religious belief and how religiosity and science come into conflict. Ongoing research projects include investigations into: intergroup attitudes between religious believers and nonbelievers; lay beliefs about atheism and theism; the cultural-evolutionary landscape of theistic belief; and attitudes toward science.
File last updated 8/31/17
Jan Wertz is associate professor of psychology. She was named a Centre Scholar in 2007. In 2005, and again in 2015, she received the Kirk Award for excellence in teaching. Her primary interest is how stress and coping are related to burnout.
Prior to coming to Centre, she was assistant professor of psychology at Kentucky Wesleyan College. Wertz has a Ph.D. and an M.S. from the University of Kentucky. She holds two B.S. degrees from Montana State University and the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology. She had a pre-doctoral internship at a VA hospital in Tacoma, Wash., performing neuropsychological evaluations, working with Alzheimer’s patients, and assisting homeless veterans gain housing and employment.
File last updated: 06/05/15