Applied Psych Center recognizes two decades of research, outreach

Abbey Swank

The Applied Psychology Center, a specialized organization within the department of psychology, will celebrate its 20th year here at Kent State.

The center’s director Stevan Hobfoll said there will be no big celebrations for the anniversary, but the department will be working harder then ever.

“Kent State is a research university,” Hobfoll said. “The faculty has to devote most of their time to research. Here, it is either publish or perish.”

Research can cost tens of thousands to millions of dollars per project and each professor has to go out and recruit the money to do those studies, he said.

“The Applied Psychology Center supports the research mission of the department,” Hobfoll said. “It also helps to raise the needed research funds and motivates the mission to meet and address the problems of society.”

Such projects at the center include studies of the cognitive effects of bariatric (weight loss) surgery, the effects of obesity on neural connectivity, and exercise and cognitive function in older adults.

Hobfoll said the center works with numerous community organizations, including Akron Children’s Hospital and Violet’s Cupboard, an AIDS outreach program. Hobfoll also worked with the Summa Health System to create the Summa Health Sytstem-Kent State University Center for the Treatment and Study of Traumatic Stress.

Hobfoll said he is looking forward to what new research will be done throughout the next 20 years, including a new study on alcohol consumption by college students and the risk factors involved. The study is being conducted by assistant professor of psychology Dan Neal.

“One of the things we are looking at is how negative events and emotions throughout the day lead to drinking more in the evening,” Neal said. “The hypothesis is that the more negative emotions students feel throughout the day, the more they drink in the evening. They lose their ability to say stop.”

Neal said he hasn’t taken advantage of all of the Applied Psychology Center’s programs yet, but Hobfoll and the center have been helpful in getting the research started.

Hobfoll said this type of research is beneficial to Kent State students and he said he hopes more students will get involved in research studies.

Contact College of Arts & Sciences reporter Abbey Swank at [email protected]