Discussion of political parties launches GRCC's 2016-17 Psychology Speaker Series



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213


Oct. 21, 2016 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A timely look at political parties kicks off the 2016-17 season of Grand Rapids Community College's Psychology Speaker Series.

Frank Conner, chair of GRCC's psychology department, will discuss "The Psychology of Political Affiliations: Are Donkeys and Elephants Really that Different?" from 1-2:30 p.m. Oct. 27. All presentations are free, open to the public and held in room 168 of the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, 151 Fountain St. NE.

"My presentation -- which is intended to be 'party neutral' -- explores the individual personality traits or cultural experiences that cause a person to align with one party or the other, separate from specific issues or positions held by the party," Conner said. "It's not so much to help an individual make decisions about the current campaigns, but is more for individuals to develop some understanding of why one party better resonates with them or why people they know might prefer one party over the other. I will also talk about how party alignment affects the way one sees or acts in the world."

The other lecture topics are:

  • "The Emergent Use of Virtual Reality in the Treatment of Psychological Disorders" by psychotherapist and software developer Thomas J. Overly from 1-2:30 p.m. Nov. 30. 
  • "Understanding the Neurobiology of Drug Addiction in Humans through the Study of Animals" by Bryan Singer, a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Michigan, from 1-2:30 p.m. Feb. 16. 
  • "Introduction to Mindfulness: Exploring the Science and Practical Application" by April Hadley, social worker and instructor at the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness, from 1-2:30 p.m. March 22.

Conner said topics for the series, which started in 2009, are intended to enhance the psychology department curriculum. 

"I try and find topics that are of interest to the students, but also a topic or two that might challenge them just a bit academically or maybe push their world view," he said, adding that he wants to provide GRCC students with the same experience that they would have at a four-year institution. 

For more information about the series, contact Conner at (616) 234-3612. 

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.