Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Uncovering the truth about bullsh*@

Wheaton Professor Matthew GingoAssistant Professor of Psychology Matthew Gingo says he has always enjoyed “people watching” and trying to make sense of what they do. He’s particularly interested in understanding the ways in which people lie and deceive each other. The First-Year Seminar (FYS) he offered last fall for aspiring leaders—from potential senators to football coaches—gave him and his students the perfect opportunity to explore the use of deceptive tactics and to determine how to see through to the truth of what matters. The title in and of itself was enough to intrigue the Quarterly to want to know more—“Cognition in the Wild: The Psychology of Bullsh*t, and Other Deceptive Tactics for Future Senators and CEOs.”

Tell us about what you explored in your FYS.

The course was designed around the idea that with all the information and misinformation that we are inundated with on a daily basis, we need to become discerning consumers of information. And that with the right approach, we could see through the cloud of B.S. that seems to hover over some of our most important issues. We focused on examining deception in a systematic and psychological way. Who lies to whom about what? Why do we lie? What are the telltale signs? When do we think deception is warranted, and why? The students in the class were really motivated, which meant that we got to consider those questions from a number of perspectives—from Kant and Bok, to the most current empirical articles on micro-expressions and cultural subversion. It was pretty cool. [Read more...]

Publications, honors and creative works: Faculty

Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus, professor of religion, acted in and helped compose lyrics for the annual performance of Temple Emanu El’s Purim shpiel in Providence, R.I., in his 18th appearance.

Geoffrey Collins, professor of geology, co-wrote the chapter “Ganymede and Callisto” in the Encyclopedia of the Solar System, which recently won a PROSE Award for the 2015 best book in the cosmology and astronomy category.

Mark LeBlanc, professor of computer science, was presented a $5,000 Google CS Engagement Award, which supports continued course development and integration of instructional materials for increasing student engagement and retention in introductory computer science classes. [Read more...]

Publications, honors and creative works: Alumnae/i

Kenneth Babby ’02 now owns the Jacksonville Suns baseball team, in addition to owning the Akron Rubber Ducks, the Double-A franchise of the Cleveland Indians.

Deborah Figart ’81 co-authored Just One More Hand: Life in the Casino Economy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, February 2015). [Read more...]

Hall of Fame selects Amber James ’04

Amber James ’04, pictured here in the 2004 NCAA Division III track and field championships.

Amber James ’04, pictured here in the 2004 NCAA Division III track and field championships.

Amber James ’04, former women’s track and field team member and the most decorated student-athlete in the history of any Wheaton athletics program, has been selected to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Hall of Fame. The inaugural class of the ECAC Hall of Fame, presented by Webster Bank, was honored on April 17 at the Matrix Conference and Banquet Center in Danbury, Conn.

The 25-person class, which spans the entire 75-year history of the ECAC, recognizes a diverse representation of former student-athletes, coaches, administrators, teams, officials, staff and supporters from across the decades. Honorees for the class were selected for outstanding achievements, service, dedication, commitment, and contributions to the ECAC, championships, sponsored sports, programs and events.

Along with James, other high-profile members of the Hall of Fame inaugural class include former National Football League quarterback and Boston College Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie; University of Connecticut women’s basketball national champion and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Rebecca Lobo; Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member Lou Carnesecca; and former ECAC commissioner Asa Bushnell. [Read more...]