Dr. Michael Knepp

Teaching Area(s): Psychology and Neuroscience

Title: Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Courses Taught:
Neuroscience

Career
I became interested in physiology and medicine in undergraduate school, which led me to the neuroscience degree. I became interested in teaching over a more research-oriented position while working as the psychology teaching assistant coordinator at Virginia Tech.

Professional Accomplishments
One of my professional accomplishments is being one of the youngest to give a symposium talk at the Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) a few years ago and having my anxiety and the cardiovascular system talk go over well.

Teaching Style
With my courses, I like to bring in actual research examples into the classroom so students can either read from the source or experience it firsthand. In the neuroscience courses, students read topical articles from the field and discuss them in class. In the advanced courses, each student will lead a day of discussion. I also bring in various processing, construction and language tasks so students can view how everyone processes information differently.

Research and Curricula
I recently completed a study that looks at whether or not students actually read consent forms or not for both online and in-lab studies, and will be conducting an updated version of it this spring. My honors thesis student has submitted her paper on how birth control impacts physiological factors and facial attraction for publication over the winter. The undergraduate research team will be in its second semester in spring 2013 with four students running multiple cardiovascular and neuropsychological studies. As for curricula, I’ve redone the neuroscience classes to include electrophysiology basic and applied human research labs.

Favorite Building
It’s Tolerton and Hood Hall, because I do enjoy the view of the Campus Lakes from my office when the fountains are on.

School Size
I find it’s easier here versus the larger schools I have been at to conduct more personalized demonstrations. There are certain types of small projects you can do in these settings to get students some applied field knowledge that you just cannot do at other places.

Preparing Students
Mount Union gives students the skill sets needed not only to pursue a job in their defined major but to open up ways to use what they learned to assist their way through their careers. In our department, the focus is on methodology and getting practical internship and research experience. This approach can give different approaches to thinking and reasoning, which leads to better preparation for the work environment and graduate school.

Research Interests
My primary interest has been the various effects that anxiety can have on the autonomic nervous system, in particular, with outcomes to cardiovascular system regulation.   I have been investigating these effects in terms of long-term trait impacts of worry as well as through interactions of anxiety with short-term stressors. I am also interested in how differences in right and left frontal hemispheric function relate with various performance and personality trait variables in college students. 

Education
B.S., Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh
M.S., Developmental and Biological Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Ph.D., Developmental and Biological Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

In our department, the focus is on methodology and getting practical internship and research experience. This approach can give different approaches to thinking and reasoning, which leads to better preparation for the work environment and graduate school.

Fun Facts

If You Could Teach Another Class
I’d teach general physics or improvisation in theatre.
Favorite Quote or Motto
“Don’t drive angry.”
Surprising News
I am a big fan of British television like Sherlock and Doctor Who and older stuff like Fawlty Towers and Spaced.
If You Weren’t a Professor
I would do mostly likely be doing something either in medicine or cardiovascular and neurological research or maybe be an astronaut if we start boosting NASA’s funding again.
Places to Visit or Things to Do
Visit Japan—in particular Kyoto and Hokkaido areas. A friend of mine just went home to see family Tokyo and it makes me want to travel there as well.
Favorite Movie
The Two Towers
Favorite Book
The Caves of Steel
Hobbies and Interests
I love watching and playing a wide range of sports including, but not limited to, baseball, basketball, golf, soccer and tennis.
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