• ABOUT ME

    I am a Cognitive Psychologist in the Psychology Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

    I conduct research with a team of undergraduates and believe this work is the very best way I can support my students. Our research is focused on methods for revising psychological misconceptions, knowledge change for controversial topics, and a method for successful student learning called LEARN.

    I am focused on promoting a pubic understanding of psychology through the website Communicating Psychological Science and in the community by sharing knowledge with children, educators, and high school students in the region.

     

    Please take a look around. Here you will find samples of work I’ve completed while teaching courses in Psychology and research I’ve completed in the areas of cognition and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
     

    Karla A. Lassonde

     

    Professor

    Department of Psychology

    103, Armstrong Hall

    Minnesota State University

    Mankato, MN 56001

     

  • EDUCATION

    Cognitive Psychology,

    University of New Hampshire

    Durham, New Hampshire

    Ph.D. (2008)

    Doctorate in Cognitive Psychology

    University of New Hampshire

    Durham, New Hampshire

    M.A. and M.S.T. (2005)

    Masters in Psychology and Masters in College Teaching

    Psychology,

    University of Mount Union

    Alliance, Ohio

    B.A. (2003)

    Bachelor of Arts

  • TEACHING

    Evidence of Teaching Success

    TEACHING STATEMENT

    Teaching is a very enriching experience for me. The classroom is a laboratory of sorts, as my research is in the areas of memory and cognition. Thus, my teaching informs my scholarly agenda and my research often generates new pedagogy for the classroom. This consistent bridge between teaching and scholarship has been one of the keys to my success as a teacher, researcher, and scholar.

     

    I am committed to these goals in my teaching:

    1. Emphasize the Science of Psychology.
    2. Encourage students to be ambassadors of correct psychological knowledge.

     

    PHILOSOPHY

    I have had teaching success due to my philosophy of reciprocal learning. As we explore topics together, I demonstrate that learning is dynamic and reflective; in other words, we can learn a lot from one another. Such learning I identify as “reciprocal learning.” I want my students to learn something from me. Additionally, I consistently learn how to improve my teaching from my students. I believe that this dynamic relationship of teaching and learning accomplishes shared meaning in the classroom.

    I have established goals for my teaching that, when properly maintained, support my teaching philosophy: reciprocal learning

    • Create a collaborative learning environment
    • Engage students in the process of learning
    • Encourage students to see themselves as teachers

    COURSES TAUGHT

    CLASSROOM RESEARCH

    Research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is reflected in classroom research projects. These projects give students critical research experience and also have given me the opportunity to write manuscripts and create scholarly presentations with undergraduates.

     

    These course projects represent the connection between teaching and research in my classes:

    *Click on links for addition information

    1. Teaching psychology misconceptions through poster presentations (101)
    2. Memory Improvement (415):
    3. Cognitive training and learning strategies (325)

    EVALUATIONS

     

     

     

     

  • SCHOLARSHIP

    Evidence of Research Success

    My research is conducted in a Cognitive Laboratory within the Psychology Department at MSU, Mankato (see left). My research directly benefits from the work of undergraduates. I am a cognitive researcher which means my focus is on topics that provide an understanding of the fundamentals of thinking and memory. My research often involves collecting reaction time data combined with other methods of asking questions; this data is used to make inferences about cognitive processes. In my approach to research I place strong emphasis on experimental design. Undergraduates working in the lab develop a comprehensive skill set in experimental psychology. I also collaborate with colleagues in and out of my department.

    Explore my areas of research and supporting papers/presentations below

    Cognitive Training for Student Success: Research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

    • Cognitive Psychology (325) and Human Memory (415) courses have provided me with an applied research setting. In these courses I have designed a variety of research projects that serve a dual purpose: One, with a large major of over 500 students, offering classroom -based research provides students with additional exposure to the research process. Second, I am able to collect data that supports my scholarship and has the potential to inform my teaching.
    • In Cognitive Psychology students have created public service announcements on how knowledge of learning and memory can influence effective study strategies. 
    • In Human Memory, students completed a memory skills assessment while learning foundations of memory. These students demonstrated improved basic memory skills over the course of the semester. 
    • Another group of Human Memory students enrolled in a popular cognitive training program called Lumosity while learning about foundations in memory. Student researchers and I found that the popular, and expensive, memory program did not benefit students any more than course instruction.
    • Cognitive Psychology students completed an assessment called the Learning and Study Skills Inventory (LASSI) (developed by Weinstein, Palmer, and Acce) during class to learn about the influences of motivation, academic ability, and study strategies on their learning.
    • Cognitive Psychology students and students enrolled in introductory psychology courses completed a Cognitive battery called the National Institute of Health’s Cognitive Toolbox that assessed fluid and crystallized intelligence. Students enrolled in the Cognitive course significantly improved their fluid intelligence compared to introductory students. This outcome, along with my reflection on teaching these upper-level cognitive courses has encouraged me to develop instructional materials that would help all college students in learning, attention, and memory. 

    Manuscripts from Research Line:

    • Lassonde, K.A & Gehling, J. (in preparation). Classroom Training in Learning and Memory Improves Fluid Intelligence in College Students.
    • Lassonde K. A. (in press). Training Introductory Psychology Undergraduates in Research,Writing, and Scientific Literacy through a Refutation-based method of Misconception Revision. In Teaching of Psychology’s e-book series: Teaching Tips: A Compendium of Conference Presentations on Teaching, 2017-18.
    • Lassonde, K. A., Osborn, R. M. (2018). Lumosity does not best classroom memory improvement strategies. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/stl0000125

    Undergraduate Presentations from Research Line:

    • Gehling, J., Osborn, R., & Lassonde, K. A. (2018, April). Assessing and Improving Learning Strategies in the Typical MSU, Mankato Student to Increase Student Persistence and Retention in the Academy. Presented at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN. 
    • Wynia, E., Gehling, J., Osborn, R., & Lassonde, K. A. (2017). Effectiveness of Lumosity vs. well-known memory techniques on memory tasks and perceptions. 89th Annual Meeting, Midwestern Psychological Association, April 20-22, Chicago, IL. 
    • Osborn, R., Patrick, F., Wynia, E., & Lassonde, K. A. (2017). Effectiveness of Lumosity vs. well-known memory techniques on memory tasks and perceptions. Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 11, Minnesota State University, Mankato. 
    • Osborn, R., Patrick, F., Wynia, E., & Lassonde, K. A. (2017). Effectiveness of Lumosity vs. well-known memory techniques on memory tasks and perceptions. 31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, April 6-8, University of Memphis, Memphis TN.
    • Osborn, R., Zabel, L., & Lassonde, K. A. (2016). Well-known techniques lead to memory improvement in students. Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 18th, Minnesota State University, Mankato.

    Refuting Psychological and other Science-based Misconceptions

    I have been working closely with undergraduate students on a program of research investigating psychological misconceptions. The general public and even psychology undergraduates are highly influenced by "pop psychology" and false knowledge about human behavior. As an ambassador for my discipline, I have found great meaning in work that aims to change common pseudoscience. My research has focused on changing incorrect psychological beliefs using cognitive-based experimental methods. One of these methods requires the use of refutation texts. In a refutation text, a misconception is explicitly mentioned and then a detailed description is provided to explain why the misconception is false. These texts have proved to be powerful tools to revise incorrect information.

    I have used refutation texts to correct psychological misconceptions in a variety of experiments:

    1. In a classroom research project, introductory psychology students created refutation-based posters and after presenting the posters to other psychology students demonstrated a change in false knowledge. This project provided an in-class research experience for students who otherwise wouldn't be exposed to research. I was also able to publish this work with undergraduates. 
    2. In several studies I have used narrative texts in a variety of contexts to correct false knowledge.
    3. In my most current work my students and I are examining how refutation texts influence science-based knowledge that is highly controversial, but overwhelmingly supported by evidence that it is false (e.g., gun ownership makes individuals safer, humans are not responsible for climate change). Initial outcomes have shown that individuals who possess a high desire to think critically and who are open to changing their mind may be more likely to "learn" from refutation texts compared to those who are less open-minded.

    Manuscripts from Research Line:

    • Lassonde, K. A., Kolquist, M., & Vergin, M. (2017). Revising Psychology Misconceptions by Integrating a Refutation-style Text Framework into Poster Presentations. Teaching of Psychology, 44(3), 255-262.
    • Van Boekel, M., Lassonde, K. A., O'Brien, E. J., & Kendeou, P. (2017). Source Credibility and the Processing of Refutation Texts. Memory and Cognition, 45(1), 168-181.
    • Johannsen, I. M., Lassonde, K. A., Wilkerson, F., & Schaab, G. (2017). Communicating climate change: Reinforcing people's comprehension and personal ties to climate change by means of maps. The Cartographic Journal, 1-14.
    • Lassonde, K. A., Kendeou, P. & O’Brien, E. J. (2016). Refutation texts: Overcoming psychology misconceptions that are resistance to change. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 2(1), 62-74.
    • Kolquist, M., Vergin, M., & Lassonde, K. A. (2015). Psychology knowledge revision campaign: Integrating refutation-style teaching materials into a classroom-based research project. Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA, April 16-18, 2015.
    Undergraduate Research Presentations from Research Line:
    • Arriaza, S., Kim. S., & Cock-Villafane, I., Lassonde, K. A. (2018, April). Politics, Personality, and Poor Decision-Making? Assessing Psychological Variables’ Impact on Changing False Knowledge. Presented at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN
    • Gehling, J. & Lassonde, K. A. (2018, April). Common Misconceptions in Psychological Science. Poster presented at the 2018 annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Oklahoma City, OK.
    • Gehling, J. & Lassonde, K. A. (2017). Common misconceptions in psychological science. Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 11, Minnesota State University, Mankato. 
    • Rohloff, H., Hakinson, K., & Lassonde, K. A. (2016). Psychology comprehension. Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 18, Minnesota State University, Mankato.
    • Kolquist, M., Vergin, M., Rohloff, H. & Lassonde, K. A. (2015). Psychology Knowledge Revision Campaign: Assessing Student Learning through a Classroom and Laboratory based Research Project. Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 20, Minnesota State University, Mankato.
    • Kolquist, M., Vergin, M., & Lassonde, K. A. (2015).  Psychology Knowledge Revision Campaign: Assessing Student Learning through a Classroom and Laboratory based Research Project. 29th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research
      April 16 - 18, Eastern Washington State University, Cheney, WA.

    Examining Stereotypes

    I found that stereotypical knowledge could be measured using the contradiction paradigm while working on my dissertation (e.g., Albrecht & O'Brien, 1993; O'Brien & Albrecht, 1992). This is important because stereotype knowledge is often investigated using explicit measures of stereotypical beliefs, which are difficult to interpret because they allow individuals to moderate their responses as a function of social desirability. The contradiction paradigm is a useful method for measuring the presence of stereotypical knowledge because it is an implicit measure of knowledge activation that does not reflect social desirability.

     

    I have developed several research projects in which participants read short passages containing a target sentence that conflicts with information in long term memory. If the conflicting information is available to the reader then it should disrupt the time to read the target sentence. For example, if a passage contains a reference to a character for which we have stereotypical knowledge, this reference triggers activation of stereotypical knowledge in long term memory. If subsequent text contains information that is inconsistent with activated knowledge then reading time for that text will be disrupted; however, if text contains consistent information then there will be no disruption in reading. I have used this paradigm to access the following stereotypes: occupational, gender-stereotypes, age-related stereotypes, and positive and negative stereotypes, veteran stereotypes, and race-based stereotypes.

     

    Manuscripts from Research Line:

    • Lassonde, K. A. (2015). Reducing the impact of stereotypical knowledge during reading. Discourse Processes, 52(2), 149-171.
    • Lassonde, K. A., & O'Brien, E. J. (2013). Occupational stereotypes: Activation of male-bias in a gender neutral world. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(2), 387-396.
    • Lassonde, K. A., Surla, C., Buchanan, J. & O’Brien, E. J. (2012). Using the contradiction paradigm to assess ageism. Journal of Aging Studies, 26(2), 174-181.
    Undergraduate Presentations from Research Line:
    • Sherrard, K. & Lassonde, K. A. (2016). Veteran stereotypes. Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 18, Minnesota State University, Mankato.
    • Todorovic, S., VandeNest F., & Lassonde, K. A. (2014) Assessing Military Stereotypes. National     Conference on Undergraduate Research, April 3rd-5th, University of Kentucky, Lexington     Kentucky.
    • Todorovic, S., VandeNest F., & Lassonde, K. A. (2014) Assessing Military Stereotypes, 86th Annual Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, May1st, Chicago, Illinois.

    Inference Activation and the Memory-based View

    Much of my scholarship has been related to work examining the influence of memory activation on individual reading comprehension. Understanding text requires that the reader connect incoming information with information already stored in memory. There are two major components working in the comprehension process: activation and integration. I have examined the activation component within the memory-based framework (e.g., O’Brien & Myers 1999) which was the basis of my masters and dissertation work at the University of New Hampshire under the direction of Dr. Edward O’Brien. Within this framework, whenever the reader encodes information, it produces a signal that is sent to all of memory. The signal is passive in the sense that it is activated by the text and not by the reader. The signal is also unrestricted, potentially making contact with any information that is related, independent of whether it is relevant or not. Related information resonates as a function of the degree of featural overlap with the currently encoded information (see image to right). One part of my program of research has focused primarily on this activation component; specifically, when activated information facilitates comprehension by leading to inferences that fill the gaps in text.

    Manuscripts from Research Line:

    • Cook, A. E., Lassonde, K. A., Splinter, A. F., Geuraud, S., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., & O’Brien, E. J. (2012). The Role of relevance in activation and instantiation of predictive inferences. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 29:2, 244-257
    • Lassonde, K. A., Smith, E. R., & O’Brien, E. J. (2011). Interweaving memory-based processes into a model of relevance instruction. In M. T., McCrudden, J. P., Magliano & G. Schraw (Eds.), Relevance Instructions and Goal-focusing in Text Learning (pp 75-94), Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
    • Lassonde, K. A., & O'Brien, E. J. (2009). Contextual specificity in the activation of predictive inferences. Discourse Processes, 46(5), 426-438. 
    • Harmon-Vukic, M., Guéraud, S., Lassonde, K. A., & O'Brien, E. J. (2009). The activation and instantiation of instrumental inferences. Discourse Processes, 46(5), 467-490. 

    Additional Scholarship Highlights

    • I have received a number of internal grants to support my research as well as to assist in funding undergraduate student research productivity.
    • I have been awarded grants from the major national organizations in my field: 
      • American Psychological Association's: APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science
      • American Psychological Association's: APF High School Psychology Outreach Grant
      • Society for the Teaching of Psychology's Small Grants Promoting Partnerships Program. 
    • I have contributed to scholarship in Undergraduate Research Programs while serving as the Undergraduate Research Director at MSU, Mankato for 3 years. I collaborated with colleagues to present the following talks:
      • Lassonde, K. A. & Agarwal, K. (2017). Uncovering Innovative Partnerships for Undergraduate Research. Presented at the 31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research April 6 - 8, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.
      • Lassonde, K. A., & Albertson, D. (2015). The Classroom and Beyond: Diversifying our Definition of Undergraduate Research to Include Classroom, Campus, and Community. Presented at the 29th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research April 16 - 18, 2015, Eastern Washington State University, Cheney, WA.
      • Lassonde, K. A. (2014). How Have You Changed? What Will You Change? Keynote presented at the 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium at Minnesota State University, Mankato,
      • Lassonde, K. A., Holtermann, J., & Hart, M. (2014, January). Students as Scholars: Inquiry Based Learning in the Classroom. Presented at the Annual Minnesota State University, Professional Development Day, Mankato, MN.
    • I actively participate at the National level in Scholarship in Teaching and Learning of Psychology:
      • Consulting Editor: APA journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology.
      • Associate Editor: Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP) E-book
      • Co-chair: Society for the Teaching of Psychology’s Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT). 

  • CONTINUED PROFESSIONAL STUDY

     

    I believe we are only as successful as much as we are also willing to learn. A faculty position is quite a novel profession—one of life-long learning. All I have known in my life is how to be a good student. I continue the tradition of being a good student while developing as a professional. I am enrolled in a variety of organizations relevant to my field, I take an active role in presenting my scholarship at regional and national conferences, and I embrace learning opportunities within our institution. The following section highlights a selection of activities that have most enriched my profession.

    Attended the 2015-16 HERS Institute: Higher Education Leadership Development Program at Wellesley College

    The HERS Institute is a transformational, leadership development program for women in higher education, founded to fill leadership pipelines across the United States with dynamic women, each capable of ushering their respective institutions into a more inclusive and equitable future.

    text here

    Attended Science Communication Boot Camp at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University

    In this program I learned how improvisation, empathy, and knowledge of audience could best improve my skills in communicating the field of psychology. This content propelled me to design the course, PSYC: 410 Communicating Psychological Science. Program knowledge will assist me in psychological outreach.

    Attend workshops and conferences sponsored by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology: APA Division 2 (STP)

    Served as a CUR Council Member for the Undergraduate Research Program Division and attend workshops sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research 

  • STUDENT DEVELOPMENT

     

    SUCCESS WITH STUDENTS

    STUDENT GROWTH = PERSONAL GROWTH

    My growth as a professor has been at the hands of serving students. Students continue to develop my love for the field of psychology. Advising, teaching, and working on research projects with undergraduates allows me to promote the best our discipline has to offer.

    I am proud of my dedication to advising and being committed to student success. Advising students is always a challenge and this work has allowed me to realize how important my job is. Students look to me for advice on many topics, from what courses to pick to major decisions about attending graduate school. I am never surprised about the range of questions and their strong need for a mentor and advocate.

     

    2019-2020 Research Team

    STUDENT GROWTH = RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

    The work I do with student researchers is profoundly rewarding. I have directly mentored over 50 undergraduates. The highlight of my professional work is training these students in the rigors of experimental psychology. I am always impressed at the success of my students. I believe research is one of the most important types of academic experiences a student can have. Students completing research are best prepared for employment and professional study.

     

    I have been surprised at the unique opportunities I have had to blend my love for research with a broad goal to provide research support for MSU students (i.e., serving as Director of the Undergraduate Research Center for 3 years, serving on the Undergraduate Research Symposium Committee, and leading the Minn State Undergraduate Research Coordinating Committee).

     

    STUDENT GROWTH = RECOGNITION

    • College of Social Behavioral Sciences, Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award
    • Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor of-the-year Award, Minnesota State University
    • Pedagogical Innovation Award, Minnesota State University

    STUDENT TESTIMONY

    See expanded testimony here

  • SERVICE

     

    Service has always been a part of my academic experience. Service to my university and community continue to enrich and inform my work. I have served the Psychology Department, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, The broader University, and Community in several ways. Throughout the years I am most proud of my service with and for students. Similarly, I have found that the outlets to serve in the university are endless and so I have been able to craft experiences that best motivate me and utilize my talents. Specifically, I have been particularly passionate about my work pursuing resources and experiences for Undergraduate Research. Here my service is outlined in several key areas.

    Service to Psychology Department & College

    • Outstanding Academic advisor
    • Undergraduate research mentor
    • Faculty in the University Cognitive Science Program
    • Applied Psychology Conference committee
    • Former Psi Chi advisor
    • Research Graduate Faculty
    • College Representative, Faculty Research Committee

    Service to the University

    • Director of Undergraduate Research Center (2014-2017)                         See Accomplishments as Director here
    • Co-chair, Affinity group on Education
    • Honors Council member
    • Admission Appeals committee member
    • Academic Standing committee
    • Student Conduct committee
    • Presidential Scholarship review committee
    • Participant in University Strategic Directions (2016-2021)

    Service to Community & Beyond

     

    • Concurrent Enrollment Supervisor for several PSYC: 101 courses taught in southern MN high schools (working to outreach students on rigors of college and focus of psychology as a science)
    • Council on Undergraduate Research, Councilor for UR Program Division
    • Consulting Editor: APA journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology.
      Associate Editor: Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP) E-book
       
  • LEARN METHOD

    Want to learn more effectively? I actively speak and educate learners of ALL ages on how to enhance their attention and memory. Contact me if you are interested in finding out more!

  • PSYCHOLOGY OUTREACH

    Here are initiatives for promoting Psychological Science to the public

    Communicating Psychological Science Site

    • I host the site Communicating Psychological Science along with my colleague, Dr. Emily Stark.
    • This site is a first of its kind space designed to promote public understanding of psychology as a science.
    • Here you will find blogs by students and colleagues from MSU, Mankato

    BLOG WRITING

    Experiencing Psychology

    EXPERIENCING PSYCHOLOGY (see marketing material)

    Minnesota Psychology Teachers Workshops

  • FIND ME

    Twitter

    Everydaymemory Blog

    EVERYDAYMEMORY BLOG