In this podcast interview, Dr. Heather Lench explains why she selected two graduate schools in the state of California for her master’s and doctorate degrees in psychology. While most of the reasons relate to the school, program, and scholars in her field of interest, she eventually reveals another reason for staying in “The Golden State.” She also provides insight into how she selected her areas of interest while attending her undergraduate and graduate schools. She attended Florida State University (FSU) as an undergraduate where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She then attended California State University, Fresno (CSUF) where she received her Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. Dr. Lench then attended the University of California, Irvine (UCI) where she received her Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology.
Dr. Lench shares how she ended up at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and how she grew through the ranks to become Professor and Department Head of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. TAMU offers an M.S. Program in Psychology with a concentration in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology. TAMU also offers a Doctoral Program in Psychology with training in five areas of including Behavioral and Cellular Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience, I/O Psychology, Social and Personality Psychology.
In addition to being an accomplished teacher, mentor, and scholar, Dr. Lench is also the Director of, and Principle Investigator for, the Emotion Science Lab which conducts research based on the premise that emotions and “emotional processes are the foundation of cognition and behavior.” She and the Emotion Science Lab research team are currently investigating boredom and comparing those who respond positively to boredom with those who respond negatively in hopes of developing an intervention and techniques to help those who respond less effectively.
I found Dr. Lench refreshing, insightful, and full of helpful advice. She is focused on helping students interested in the field of psychology as she includes undergraduate and graduate students on her Emotion Science Lab Research Team. The Lab includes a student resources page to help those interested in finding general information and other resources related to psychology. The student resources page also includes resources to help those applying to graduate schools.
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Interests and Specializations
Dr. Lench is interested in learning how emotional processes impact behavior and thought. In particular, she assumes that emotions and emotional processes play an important role in the development of behavior and thought. As the principle investigator of the Emotion Science Lab, she and other researchers examine how and why affective responses and emotions impact people’s judgments and future behavior. They also study specific emotions and how they influence behavior and cognition. Much of her work would fall under the emerging field of affective science which takes a multidisciplinary approach bridging psychology, judgement and decision-making, and affective neuroscience using a variety of approaches and methods.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Psychology, Minor: English (1999); Florida State University.
Master of Arts (M.A.), Experimental Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy (2001); California State University, Fresno.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Social Psychology, Double Minor: Quantitative and Developmental (2007); University of California, Irvine.
Sources and Other Links of Interest
Heather C. Lench Ph.D. - Google ScholarThe Functions of Emotions - Heather C. Lench - SpringerTexas A&M Psychological and Brain Sciences - TwitterTexas A&M Psychology - Facebook