B.A., Oakland University
M.S., Ph.D., Wayne State University
office: 127 Frederik Meijer Honors College
phone: (616) 331-3511
My two primary research areas are: applied cognitive psychology and the psychology of language.
Applied research has the potential to improve the quality of education for college students. Just as there is no one ice cream flavor that appeals to all, our previous research established that few teachers appear to be effective for all. It is not uncommon for students to seek out resources such as ratemyprofessor.com when making course selections. Teaching trailers may offer an alternative. Our research team investigated if teaching trailers could help GVSU students wisely chose among prospective teachers, similar to how movie trailers allow you to screen films for Friday-night worthiness. Six-minute teaching trailers were created for 10 guest lecturers. Like movie trailers, the teaching trailers were brief glimpses of a teacher in action. In the study, 150 students watched teaching trailers for teachers who delivered live lectures later in the semester. Students ratings to the teaching trailers powerfully forecasted students’ responses to, and memory for, the live lectures. Our 6-minute teaching trailers proved to be an effective, empirically-validated means for students to wisely judge teachers. Perhaps GVSU “should consider setting up a commercial website ‘ViewYourProfessor.com’ and make a bundle competing with shabbier sites,” suggests Prof. Henderson, Chair of Psychology.
Gross, J., Lakey, B., Lucas, J., LaCross, R., Mitchell, A., Winegard, B. (Revision under review). Forecasting the Student-Professor Matches That Result in Unusually Effective Teaching. British Journal of Educational Psychology.
Gross, J., Lakey, B., Edinger, K., Oreheck, E., Heffron, D. (2009). Person perception in the college classroom: Accounting for tastes in students’ evaluations of teaching effectiveness. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39 (7), 1609-1638.
Gross, J., Harmon, M. E., Myers, R. A., Evans, R. L. , Kay, N. R., Rodriguez-Charbonier, S., & Herzog, T. R. (2004). Recognition of self among persons with dementia: Picture vs. names as environmental supports. Environment & Behavior, 36, 424-454. http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/psy_articles/16/
Gross, J. A., Ciappara, N. G., & Smist, T. E., Benson, P. (1998). An evaluation of the M1A2 tank commander’s interface: The battle of input devices (pp. 1257-1261). In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 42nd Annual Meeting, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Chicago, Illinois.
Another line of research investigates the psychology of language. Language plays a central role in our lives. We chat with friends, read novels, enjoy the lyrics of music, convey our feelings, teach our children, and transmit scientific discoveries to future generations via language. Your ability to read these words is just one example of language in action. Most of us, however, don't stop to ponder our linguistic prowess. My research explores our linguistic talents by relying on insights derived from cross-disciplinary studies in linguistics and psychology. Some of my work has studied how people parse the stream of speech into meaningful, discrete units. Perhaps you have observed that we speak in continuous utterances rarely pausing between words (a phenomenon best observed by listening to someone who speaks a language foreign to the listener). We amazingly parse this acoustic smear into meaningful segments. My research team has evaluated the cohesiveness of sounds in the recognition of spoken and written words, finding that some sounds are “sticky” and thus, harder to isolate from one another. Fascinating!
Insights into speech perception elucidate complementary processes, such as skillful reading. The science of reading has persuasively shown that a to-be-recognized word in print is influenced by detailed knowledge of phonology. For example, when you read this word, pseudohomophone, you likely rely on its pronunciation (phonology) to determine meaning. In contrast, the extent to which silent reading represents prosody, the rhythm and melody of language, remains largely uninvestigated. The impetus for our investigations into the role of prosody in skilled reading stems from the central role prosody plays in speech. Prosody is a universal feature of all languages. Prosodic speech acoustically varies in duration, frequency, amplitude, and tempo. Prosodic variations reveal features of the speaker (emotional state; intentions) as well the form of the utterance (e.g., statement; request) that may not be captured by word selection, sentence construction, or punctuation. For example, the expression, “Brian bought a book,” would bare different prosodic qualities to signal a statement, question, exclamation, or sarcasm (Nespor & Vogel, 1986). Our research suggests that readers also engage prosody when they read. As predicted, poems with congruous meter and stylistic emphasis (with tangerine trees and marmalade skies) were favored compared to poems with incongruous meter and stylistic emphasis (piping songs of pleasant music). Our silent readers seemingly had a lively “inner voice.”
Gross, J., Millett, A.L., Bartek, B., Bredell, K.H., Winegard, B. (2013). Evidence for prosody in reading. Reading Research Quarterly, xx(xx), 1-20.
Gross, J., Treiman, R., & Inman, J. (2000). The role of phonology in a letter detection task. Memory & Cognition, 28, 349-357.
Page last modified March 25, 2014