about me -


 I study human social behavior from an evolutionary perspective, and when I am not conducting or writing up psychology experiments, I write for the average person-on-the-street.  I cover topics as diverse as why we grieve so deeply over the death of our dogs, why old people hate new musicwhy clowns creep us out, and why we remember our high school years so vividly. I have also been involved with several documentary films. (See a trailer for one of them.

My career has been about far more than just research and writing. I have treasured my role as a teacher and adviser to generations of students, and I have been deeply engaged with the life of the college during my 40-plus years at Knox.  Among other things, I founded the environmental studies program and chaired the psychology department for a decade; on the side, I also worked with the McNair Scholars Program and coached the wrestling team for many years. I even lived in the dormitories for four years with my family as a "Head Resident," and I  have organized the annual Flunk Day softball game for longer than I can remember.

Last, but not least, I had the distinct privilege of serving as Stephen Colbert's host and introducing him when he delivered the 2006 commencement address at Knox College.



*I am the longest-serving psychology professor in the history of Knox College (42 years & counting), and in the

  almost 200-year-history of the college, only 8 professors in any field have served longer.

  (I was still a fetus when I began my career.)

*I have taught approximately 10,000 students and 20 different courses.

*More than 100 of my former students have completed a doctoral degree in psychology or a closely related field.

*I have reviewed manuscripts for 66 different peer-reviewed professional journals.

*I was the Acting Associate Dean of the College for 3 months in 2006.


*I was born on a U.S. military base in Germany and I grew up in the anthracite coal region of

  Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I also lived in Maine for five years, and I now reside on the prairie 

  in Western Illinois.


*I am the oldest of five children and I attended Catholic schools for 17 years.

*I was a wrestler in high school (two-time state placer) and in college (NCAA Division II program), and

  many of my academic colleagues are unaware that I masqueraded as college wrestling coach for 30

  years, with 12 years as a head coach.


*My wife (Maryjo) and I have two grown children (Tim & Maura), one ungrown grandchild (Colleen),

  and a dog named Audrey Hepburn.

*I have been lucky enough to have experienced the animals of South Africa and Tanzania in the wild.

                          (Click on the elephant to see pictures of an elephant attacking my car.)

Purple - Blue Gradient

Research Interests

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University of Maine

Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (1981)

(I also did graduate work in Zoology)


B.S. in Psychology (1974 - magna ignoramus)


The founding mission of King's was

"to educate the sons of coal miners."

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West Side Central Catholic High School

       Kingston, Pennsylvania (1970)

                     (now defunct)

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