GRCC Psychology Speakers Series starts 10th year with presentation on race and police use of force

Oct. 2, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. The 10th season of Grand Rapids Community College’s Psychology Speakers Series will kick off with a Michigan State University professor sharing the results of recent research into race and how it relates to police use of deadly force.

Joseph Cesario, associate professor of psychology at MSU, will present data he’s collected over the past few years from real-world shootings and simulated laboratory decisions. He will discuss the role of race and the cognitive processes underlying these decisions and the impact of different training interventions. 

Cesario’s presentation, which is free and open to the public, will run 1-2 p.m. Oct. 8 in room 168 of GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, 151 Fountain St. NE. No registration is required. The public is welcome to all the presentations in the series.

Professor Frank Conner, who organizes the Psychology Speakers Series, says topics are chosen to appeal to both students and the public.

“Over 10 years, we will have had over 40 speakers,” he said. “The topics have ranged from hypnosis, gender differences in sports, the treatment of ADHD, genetics, sex therapy, the origins of morality, and what makes a ‘good enough’ parent.

“One of our presentations, on the psychology of love, has been viewed over 800,000 times on YouTube. One of our speakers on forensic psychology was contacted to appear on camera for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Many of our speakers have also shared that community members have seen their presentations and reached out to them for help with anxiety, grief, PTSD, depression, dementia and other issues.”

The other presentations this season, all of which will be held in the ATC, are:

  • “Dating in the Modern Age: What Online Dating and Mobile Apps Can Tell Us about Finding (and Keeping) a Romantic Partner,” 1-2:30 p.m. Nov. 20. – William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at MSU, will look at challenges and proposed solutions to dating in the modern age, and review the relationship science.
  • “Portable Device Use and Learning in the Modern Age,” 1-2:30 p.m. Feb. 11 – Susan Ravizza, an associate professor of psychology at MSU, will apply her expertise in attention and memory to issues surrounding the use of smartphones, laptops and other portable devices in classrooms and other learning situations.
  • “What Do We Know about the Psychology of Doing ‘Work’ Together?”1-2:30 p.m. March 18 – MSU psychology professor Richard Deshon will discuss issues around work collaboration, including team effectiveness, trust and cooperation, challenges and opportunities of diversity, the impact of physical space, and leadership.

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.


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