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Professor of Psychology
on faculty since 2003
If Dr. Derrick Hassert could write his own job description, it would sound just like the one that caught his attention while he was completing his post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral neuroscience at the University of Virginia in 2003. Now a professor of psychology at Trinity, Hassert found the ideal academic environment in which to teach courses in research methodology, experimental psychology, biological psychology, animal learning, and cognitive psychology.
“As a professor, I emphasize the empirical and scientific basis for psychology as an academic and applied discipline,” said Hassert. “The discussions I share with students in and out of class help me broaden my knowledge of how people experience the world around them. I use this knowledge to enhance how I communicate ideas and concepts to others in the discipline of psychology.”
Hassert brings a strong and varied professional background to his position on Trinity’s faculty. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2000 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, he taught statistics and research methodology as an adjunct instructor at Roosevelt University and worked as a research coordinator at Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Hassert also was engaged in behavioral neuroscience research at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Virginia, focusing on the neurobiology of learning and memory.
His avid interest in bioethics and neuroethics led Hassert to the Center for Christian Studies in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he taught a course in neuroscience and ethics while working as a researcher at the University of Virginia. During that time, he began to explore the tension between advances in science and the value of human life. Hassert writes and gives presentations that address ethical issues in biological and behavioral research within the area of neuroethics, which he incorporates into his courses. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the International Neuropsychological Society, the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and the Association for Psychological Science.
Being a faculty member at Trinity provides opportunities for Hassert to maintain a broad perspective on scientific psychology as a whole, rather than being narrowly focused on a single aspect of the discipline. According to Hassert, he finds joy in his profession “because my passion is the teaching of psychology. My goal is to develop the students’ knowledge base as well as their critical thinking skills by integrating lecture, discussion, hands-on demonstrations, and multimedia presentations in the classroom to enhance comprehension and retention of the material.”
Hassert has realized the satisfaction of knowing that his course content remains with his students long after a class is over. “Often students will speak with me a year after they’ve taken one of my classes and say something like, ‘Now when I read an article in a newspaper or magazine about a psychological study, I always ask the questions you taught in your class.’”
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois, 2000
M.A., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois, 1998
A.S., Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois, 1995
B.A., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois, 1994
A.A., Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois, 1993
Courses and Publications/Research
- Advanced General Psychology
- Basic Research Skills
- Behavior Analysis and Therapy
- Behavioral Pharmacology
- Brain and Cognition: Human Neuropsychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- Emotion and Motivation
- Introduction to Psychology
- Neuroscience and Behavior
- Statistical Reasoning for Behavioral Sciences
- Psychology of Learning and Memory
Papers Published and/or Presented
Clark, K.B., & Hassert, D.L. (2013). Undecidability and opacity of metacognition in animals and humans. Frontiers in Psychology: Cognition, 4, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00171
Hassert, D.L. (2011). Between mind and brain: Final and efficient causation in relation to neuroplasticity. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 13 (3), 194-208.
Hassert, D.L., Kelly, A.N., Pritchard, J.K., & Cautilli, J.D. (2008). The licensing of behavior analysts: Protecting the profession and the public. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention, 5 (2), 8-18.
Hassert, D.L. (2007). Neuroethics and the person: Should neurological and cognitive criteria be used to define human value? Ethics and Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics, 23, 47-55.
Hassert, D.L., Miyashita, T., and Williams, C.L. (2004). Alterations in amygdala norepinephrine after vagal stimulation at a memory modulating intensity. Behavioral Neuroscience, 118, 79-88.
Ragozzino, M.E., Kim, J., Hassert, D., Minniti, N., & Kiang, C. (2003). The contribution of the prelimbic-infralimbic areas to different forms of task switching. Behavioral Neuroscience, 117, 1054-1065.
Clark, K.B., Smith, D.C., Hassert, D.L., Browning, R.B., Naritoku, D.K. &Jensen, R.A. (1998). Posttraining electrical stimulation of vagal afferents with concomitant efferent inactivation enhances memory storage processes in the rat. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 70, 364-373.
Abstracts and Presentations
Hassert, D.L. (2009). Between mind and brain: Neuroethics and mental illness. Paper presented at the Sixteenth Annual International Bioethics Conference, Deerfield, Illinois.
Barnes, K., & Hassert, D. (2008). A stimulus generalization approach to religious classification. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago IL.
Hassert, D.L. (2005). Neuro-cognitive criteria for personhood: Ethical and moral dilemmas presented by physicalist and functionalist perspectives. Paper presented at the Twelfth Annual International Bioethics Conference, Deerfield, Illinois.
Hassert, D.L. (2004). Teaching the brain while minding the organism. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 30.
Hassert, D.L., Montana, M., & Williams, C.L. (2003). Does stimulation of the cervical vagus affect retention for reductions in reward magnitude? Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 29.
Miyashita, T., Hassert, D.L., & Williams C.L. (2002). Alterations in hippocampal norepinephrine after vagal stimulation at a memory modulating intensity. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 28.
Hassert, D.L., Miyashita, T., & Williams, C. L. (2002). Alterations in basolateral amygdala norepinephrine after vagal stimulation at a memory modulating intensity. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 28.
Ragozzino, M.E., Kim, J., Hassert, D., Minniti, N., & Kiang, C. (2002). The contribution of the prelimbic area to behavioral flexibility. Paper presented at the Seventy-fourth Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago IL.
Hassert, D.L., Smith, D.C., & Jensen, R.A. (2000). Cholinergic receptor antagonism in the medial prefrontal cortex disrupts long-term, but not short-term retrieval of inhibitory avoidance memory. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 26.
Markus, T., Hassert, D.L., & Jensen, R.A. (2000).Reduction of anxiety-related behaviors in rats by electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 26.
Jensen, R. A. Clark, K. B., Smith, D. C., Naritoku, D. K. & Hassert, D. L. (2000, May).Vagus nerve afferent activity and the modulation of memory. Paper presented as part of a workshop: Involvement of the Vagus Nerves and Associated CNS Pathways in Psychiatric Disorders. Society of Biological Psychiatry. Chicago IL.
Hassert, D.L. & Radtke, R.C. (2000). Muscle-tension induced arousal improves explicit, but not implicit, verbal memory. Paper presented at the Seventy-second Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago IL.
Hassert, D.L., Smith, D.C., Scott, D.K., & Jensen, R.A. (1998). Influence of frontal cortex lesions on the disruption of straight alley extinction performance by taste-aversion conditioning in the rat. Paper presented at the Seventieth Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago IL.
Hassert, D.L., Clark, K.B., Smith, D.C. & Jensen, R.A. (1998). Lesions of the amygdala attenuate the memory enhancing effects of vagus nerve stimulation. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 24.
Awards and Memberships
Professional Society Membership
- Association for Behavior Analysis International
- Association for Psychological Science
- International Neuropsychological Society
- Society for Neuroscience