Psychology Faculty Research

Fabiana Alceste, Assistant Professor

B.A. University of Florida, Ph.D. John Jay College of Criminal Justice/The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Dr. Alceste’s research area is Psychology and Law. She studies the social and cognitive processes involved in police interrogations and false confessions. Her recent work focuses on how interrogation practices (such as directly accusing a suspect, minimizing the moral seriousness of an offense, and/or sharing crime details with a suspect) influence judgments about police custody and confession evidence. She hopes that work in this field will continue to improve the criminal justice system by preventing and identifying false confessions that may lead to a wrongful conviction. Dr. Alceste can be reached at falceste@butler.edu.

Jennifer N. Berry, Associate Professor

B.S., M.S., Ph.D. University of Kentucky, post-doctoral research Purdue University. Specialty: Behavioral neuroscience/biopsychology. Dr. Berry’s research focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms involved in the development of substance abuse and dependence using in vivo rodent models. Additionally, we investigate receptor systems (i.e. nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, stress hormone receptors) that may be targeted in the treatment of substance dependence. Current projects involve investigations into nicotine and alcohol co-consumption and the role of stress hormones in substance abuse. Dr. Berry can be reached at jnberry1@butler.edu.

Brian Day, Associate Professor

B.A., Denison University, M.S., Illinois State University, Ph.D., Clemson University.  Specialties: Human Factors Psychology, Ecological Psychology, Perception and Action, History of Psychology.  Dr. Day’s research investigates the relationship between perception and action, especially in regard to the perception of affordances (the behaviors that can be done in the world). His research also focuses on ensuring that products, ranging from simple tools and websites to virtual reality systems and complex technology interfaces, are safe and easy to use. Dr. Day is also interested in the history of psychology, with a focus on the work of William James and other American functionalists and pragmatists. Dr. Day can be reached at bday@butler.edu.

Candice Dreves, Instructor

B.S. Michigan State University, M.S., Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Dr. Dreves conducts research in the area of Developmental Psychology, particularly adolescent and emerging adulthood development.  Her research examines the contextual factors, relationships, and motivational processes that foster academic engagement and interest in the classroom.  Dr. Dreves focuses on factors promoting motivation and persistence in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), particularly among underrepresented groups in STEM fields.  She is interested in understanding why some students lose interest in these academic domains and decide to leave STEM pursuits.  Her recent research examines how socializers such as parents and teachers can influence students’ academic self-concepts, beliefs about their ability to overcome challenge, and motivational outcomes.  Dr. Dreves can be reached at cdreves@butler.edu

Meredith Halcomb, Instructor

B.S. Indiana State University. B.A. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, M.S., Ph.D., Purdue University. Dr. Halcomb’s research is focused on alcohol use disorder, binge drinking, and impulsivity/negative urgency. She seeks to better elucidate the association between over-consumption and inhibitory processes. Her preclinical research focused on identifying behavioral traits inherited in conjunction with the propensity to consume pharmacologically relevant amounts of alcohol. Her neuroimaging work focused on targeting neural regions and networks associated with both substance abuse and behavioral impulsivity. Dr Halcomb is interested in moving forward with this work, which may include neuropsychological testing of working memory and cognitive control. Dr. Halcomb can reached at mhalcomb@butler.edu.

Karina Hamamouche, Assistant Professor 

B.A. Butler University, M.A., Ph.D., Boston College. Dr. Hamamouche’s research is in the area of Developmental Psychology, particularly early childhood development. In order to navigate our environments, we must represent and understand the vast amount of quantitative information around us. Motivated by this, Dr. Hamamouche’s research focuses on our representations of quantity (e.g., number, time, etc.) and the impact that those early representations have on our formal understanding of quantity (e.g., math, temporal units of measurement, etc.). In particular, she investigates the nature of quantity representations, which includes comparing similarities and differences across quantitative domains (e.g., number and time) and testing the relations between the early ability to perceive quantities and the later ability to learn symbols for these quantities. She also applies her work to the domain of education by examining ways in which we can facilitate children’s learning of difficult quantitative concepts, such as counting and division. Dr. Hamamouche can be reached at khamamou@butler.edu.

Tara T. Lineweaver,  Professor

B.S., B.A., Butler University; M.S., Georgia Institute of Technology;  PhD., San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology; Clinical Internship, University of Chicago Medical Center; Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Specialty: Clinical Neuropsychology. Dr. Lineweaver is trained as a Clinical Psychologist with a specialty in neuropsychology (how the brain impacts cognitive abilities). Her research interests span neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and, Parkinson’s disease, music and dementia, healthy aging, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and epilepsy. She especially loves mentoring undergraduate students as they develop their research skills as student scientists. For press coverage of Dr. Lineweaver’s research, see Fox 59 coverage.  Dr. Lineweaver can be reached at tlinewea@butler.edu.

Joel M. Martin,  Professor

B.S., University of Pittsburgh, M.S., PhD., University of Memphis. Specialty: Clinical and counseling psychology. Dr. Martin studies cognitive, behavioral, and social factors that distinguish the subclinical versions of psychological disorders from full disorders (e.g., normal sadness from major depression). He is also interested in stigma and stereotypes of mental illness, ethical decision-making in therapy, empirically supported psychotherapies, treatment of substance use, and the portrayal of psychotherapy and psychopathology in popular cinema. Dr. Martin can be reached at jmmarti1@butler.edu.

Conor O’Dea, Assistant Professor

B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Kansas State University. Dr. O’Dea’s research area is broadly aimed at better understanding antisocial, aggressive, and discriminatory behavior – in other words, why people do awful things in society. He is most interested in two main areas of inquiry. The first is better understanding how social norms that are placed onto men and young boys, to conceal emotions and respond aggressively when insulted, create and facilitate extreme violence in society. The second is why individuals engage in social and political activism to reduce prejudice and bias – for personal benefit or to actually instill positive social change. These different motivations have important implications for how and when individuals choose to engage in prejudice confrontation. He can be reached at codea1@butler.edu and you can follow his lab activities on instagram: @lab_astra or here.  

Robert J. Padgett, Professor

B.A. Hanover College, M.A., PhD. Wayne State University. Specialty: Developmental psychology, statistics and measurement. Dr. Padgett has a long-standing interest in how young children learn and remember information from activities in which they participate. In recent years, however, his work has focused on more social aspects of developmental and personality psychology. For example, students in his lab have pursued projects involving the use of theatrical interventions for understanding and improving the social-emotional development of children on the spectrum as well as understanding and reducing faking on personality tests. Dr. Padgett’s interest in predictive analytics as a tool for understanding development has also let to student work examining measures of verbal ability as predictors of peer rejection among children from socioeconomically diverse environments as well as identifying experiences that foster flexible and transcendent self-identities among college-aged students. Dr. Padgett can be reached at rpadgett@butler.edu.

Shelby Terwillegar, Instructor

M.S., Ph.D., Ball State University, Specialties: Educational Psychology, Achievement Motivation, Development / LGBTQ+ Identity Development, and Research Methodology & Statistics. Dr. Terwillegar’s research focuses on educational systems and outcomes, especially using motivational theories. She investigates how classrooms and other educational structures can impact student achievement and motivation, with special interest in creating educational interventions which improve student outcomes. Dr. Terwillegar’s research also focuses on how identity and minority status interact with environmental features in educational systems to impact achievement, with particular interest in the experiences of LGBTQ+ students. Additionally, Dr. Terwillegar’s newest line of research focuses on technology and the use of artificial intelligence in academic settings, specifically as it relates to ethical use and cheating behavior.  Dr. Terwillegar can be reached at: sterwillegar@butler.edu.

Stacy Wetmore, Assistant Professor

B.A., M.A. University of Alabama Huntsville, Ph.D. University of Oklahoma. The focus of her research examines the intersection between cognition and the legal system.  Dr. Wetmore’s current focus is on informant witnesses. Jailhouse informants are one of the leading causes of wrongful conviction, yet little is known about this form of evidence. How do jurors perceive and weigh this information? How accurate is informant testimony? Are effective safeguards in place to protect against false testimony?  Her secondary interest is in eyewitness identifications. At its core an eyewitness identification procedure is a memory test. She is looking into ways that we can either improve the existing test (most commonly a lineup) or create new ways to assess an eyewitness’s memory. In addition, she is interested in identifying if there are other measures that can help inform us whether an individual is likely to be accurate.  Dr. Wetmore can be reached at swetmore@butler.edu.