Assessment Psychology is the field of behavioral science concerned with methods of identifying similarities and differences among people in their personal characteristics and capabilities.

About The Assessment Psychology Research Focus

Psychologists aren’t psychic—they can’t read your mind and solve all of your problems. Like detectives, assessment psychologists gather multiple pieces of information to learn about individuals. The psychological assessment process involves giving tests, conducting interviews, and reviewing existing records in order to answer questions about the individual being assessed.

The Assessment Psychology research focus at Kent State features cutting-edge research from expert faculty in a number of areas including:

  • Assessing personality and psychopathology
  • Effects of age and disease on the brain and behavior
  • Conducting psychological assessments in forensic settings

Ph.D. Training

Research Training

Assessment research focuses on the development and validation of ways to gauge important individual differences. At Kent State, we concentrate on widely used psychological tests designed to assess personality and psychopathology in adults and adolescents (MMPI-3, and MMPI-A-RF) and neuropsychological tests to determine the impact of age and disease on brain function and behavior. Students are involved in grant-funded studies and have opportunities to present their own research at national scientific meetings. Many of our graduate students publish their research in leading psychology journals.

Examples of current assessment research activities at Kent State include:

  • Validation of the MMPI-3
  • Detection of misleading responding to psychological tests
  • Brain function in persons with heart disease and those undergoing bariatric surgery
  • The potential benefits of diet and exercise on conditions like Alzheimer's disease

Students interested in the Assessment Psychology research focus are expected to complete departmental and clinical core course requirements. In addition, they should register for elective assessment courses related to their research interests and career goals. Advanced courses include Child Assessment, Behavioral Assessment, and Neuropsychological Assessment. Some other elective courses may be waived to give students more time for involvement in additional research projects.

Clinical Experiences

Assessment Psychology students are exposed to a wide variety of clinical problems and procedures during the second year clinical practicum. While the emphasis is on psychotherapy, assessment is an integral part of the training provided. Brief assessments are conducted with all adult clients, and more comprehensive assessments are conducted with selected clients. Students can select a third year specialty practicum that focuses on personality and neuropsychological assessment. Fourth year community placements at a forensic assessment facility, a medical center, and community mental health centers can further enhance assessment skills. Internship selection provides another opportunity for students to acquire more assessment experience.

Core Faculty

Assessment Faculty

Dr. Yossef S. Ben-Porath - Objective personality assessment with emphasis on the MMPI instruments, including applications in a variety of settings (clinical, correctional, forensic, and pre-employment screening) and computerized adaptive testing.
Dr. John Gunstad - Clinical neuropsychology, including the effects of disease on neurocognitive function and strategies to promote healthy brain aging.

Dr. Mary Beth Spitznagel - Caregiver burden, burden transfer, dementia, wellness, occupational stress and burnout

Faculty With Related Interests

Dr. William Lechner - Neurocognitive deficits in individuals with Substance Use Disorders, including the study of bi-directional effects of executive function deficits and addictive behaviors.

Recent Assessment Graduates
  • Michael Alosco, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Neurology, Boston University Alzheimer's Disease and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center
  • Dayana Calvo, Ph.D. – Staff Neuropsychologist, Bay Pines VA
  • Andrew Fedor, Ph.D. - Clinical Neuropsychologist, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, Alina Health
  • Rachel Galioto, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University; Staff Neuropsychologist, Department of Psychology and Psychiatry, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
  • Sarah Garcia, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Psychology, Stetson University
  • Ryan Marek, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University
  • Lindsay Miller, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine; Clinical Neuropsychologist, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
  • Jesica Kalmbach, Ph.D. - Staff Psychologist, Ann Arbor VA
  • Anthony Tarescavage, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Psychology, John Carroll University