October 04, 2012

Sabbatical Presentation: Dr. Kristin Perrone McGovern, Department of Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services

Kristin Perrone McGovern
Kristin Perrone McGovern spent her sabbatical year in 2011-2012 doing postdoctoral training in neuropsychology in order to acquire competence in this specialization. She worked closely with Dr. Andrew Davis, who supervised her training in neuropsychological assessment. This training included diagnostic interviewing, neurobehavioral examination, neuropsychological testing, assessment scoring and interpretation, hypothesis generation, report preparation, report writing, family and individual feedback sessions, and consultation with referral sources. Guided didactic experience was accomplished through independent readings and discussion with Dr. Davis, in addition to attending two of his graduate classes in neuropsychology.

In addition to her clinical and didactic training with Dr. Davis, Dr. McGovern worked with collaborators from the University of Minho in Portugal and the University of Chicago on neuropsychophysiological research. In May 2011, prior to the beginning of her sabbatical academic year, Dr. McGovern was invited to speak at a a university in Portugal and then to stay and spend the week meeting with researchers at the Neuropsychophysiology Lab (NPL) in the Center for Research in Psychology (CIPsi) at the School of Psychology, University of Minho inf Braga, Portugal.  The main objective of the NPL is the development of research in the area of human clinical neurosciences, specifically the research of neuropsychological, neuroanatomical and psychophysiological correlates of several cognitive-emotional processes in a variety of neurological and psychiatry conditions.  While there, Dr. McGovern learned about different types of research methodology and met with research teams and developed a plan for collaboration on a research project. In May and June, 2012 a researcher from the University of Minho came to Ball State to work with our research team here, collecting and analyzing data for the empirical study.

Dr. Oscar Goncalves, the president of the school of psychology and director of the research lab from Portugal, came to Ball State in 2012 to speak about his fMRI research on obsessive compulsive disorder and, while here, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between our universities.

Dr. McGovern worked with a team of students from Ball State and researchers from University of Minho on a study examining empathy, conflict resolution strategies,, physiological factors (heart rate and skin conductance), and satisfaction within romantic relationships..

Dr. McGovern and her team conducted research with 33 individuals in committed, monogamous relationships. Both opposite sex and same-sex couples were included in the study. . In the course of this research, it was found that skin conductance level was related to empathy for a partner, and heart rate was related with conflict-resolution strategies, which in turn influenced empathy for one’s partner.

Dr. McGovern’s work is currently under review at a national refereed journal for publication. She hopes to continue working with this research topic, eventually conducting an international data comparison.

Alongside Stephanie Simon-Dack (assistant professor of Psychological Science at Ball State University), Dr. McGovern applied for a Discovery grant to help fund travel costs for a study abroad program to take students to the NPL in the summer of 2013. Also, Dr. McGovern collaborated on a grant with researchers from the University of Minho lab (Joana Coutino and others) and University of Chicago (Jean Decety) that was submitted to a Portuguese Governmental Funding Agency (FCT) to do a study in Portugal of empathy in couples. Currently, Dr. McGovern is continuing her work in advancing her expertise in neuropsychological practice, assessment, and research at Ball State University as well as working alongside the University of Minho to advance the field of study.

Dr. McGovern and Dr. Simon-Dack are planning to bring a group of students from Ball State University for a Study Abroad Experience at the Neuroscience lab in Portugal during second summer semester, 2013.

Dr. McGovern teaches and supervises the research and clinical practice of students in the APA-approved Counseling Psychology doctoral program and the CACREP-accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s program.  Dr. McGovern’s line of research has focused on work-family interface, gender roles, gifted adults, and life satisfaction. She is interested in the intersection of counseling and neuropsychology. Other areas of clinical specialization for Dr. McGovern include couples and family counseling, career counseling, and assessment

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