Psychology Department
Dr. Nancy Gee

Dr. Nancy Gee

Gee's Photo

Research

In recent years my research has explored the emerging area of human-animal interaction, with specific emphasis on the effectiveness of dogs in educational settings. Although my work has focused primarily on preschool and middle school settings, recently I have begun to extend this work to college settings.

In this research, my students and I examine the circumstances under which the presence of a dog has an influence on the performance of a variety of cognitive and physiological outcome measures. The research conducted in my lab has demonstrated that the presence of a real dog can be motivational; it can serve as a model for appropriate task performance; it increases adherence to instructions in both gross motor skills and a basic cognitive task (object recognition); it increases speed and accuracy in an object categorization; and it reduces errors made in a basic categorization task.

Teaching

I generally teach Statistics (PSY 200), a course I love and which is vital to the evaluation and understanding of psychological research.  I also enjoy teaching Cognitive Neuroscience (PSY 361), which investigates the biological basis of cognition, a fascinating and ever-changing area, and Theories of Memory (PSY 454) which presents the various theories that attempt to explain our experiences with memory successes and failures.  Related to my research area, I also teach a class in Human Animal Interaction. I have also taught Computer Applications in Psychology (PSY 390), Research Methods (PSY 210), Cognitive Psychology (PSY 244), a graduate level Research Design class (CDS 606) and a number of courses for the Honors program.

Service Activities

Among other campus service activities, I present the Paws to Relax portion of De-Stress for Success Week. I serve on the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence, Information Security, and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees for the university. In the Psychology Department I currently chair the Curriculum Committee and I coordinate Alumni Relations and the Daniel C. Krawczyk Exemplary Award.   I also take my therapy dogs (Duncan and Fletcher) to visit a variety of local schools and institutions.

Selected Student - Faculty Collaboration

Recent Publications

Gee, N. R., Gould, J. K., Swanson, C.C., & Wagner, A. K. (2012). Preschoolers categorize animate objects better in the presence of a dog. Anthrozoös, 25, 187-198.

Gee, N. R., Belcher, J., DeJesus, M., & Riley, W. (2012). The presence of a therapy dog results in improved object recognition performance in preschool children. Anthrozoös, 25, 289-30.

Gee, N. R., Church, M. T., & Altobelli, C. L. (2010). Preschoolers make fewer errors on an object categorization task in the presence of a dog. Anthrozoös23, 223-230.

Gee, N. R., Crist, E. N., & Carr, D. N. (2010). Preschool children require fewer instructional prompts to perform a memory task in the presence of a dog. Anthrozoös, 23, 178-184.

Gee, N. R., & Harris, S. L. (2010). Homographs: An alternative approach to determining meaning dominance. Behavior Research Methods42, 976-986.

Recent Conference Podium Presentation

Gee, N. R., Friedmann, E., Stendahl, M., Fisk, A., & Coglitore, V. (July, 2013). Heart rate variability during a working memory task: Does touching a dog or a person affect the response? Paper presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Chicago, IL.

Recent Conference Poster Presentations

Couchman, J. J., Gee, N. R., Wiley, R. M., Zmuda, S. J., Manning, H., S., & Perez, A. A. (2013, July). The effect of therapy dogs on metacognition and prefrontal activity. Poster presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Chicago, IL.

Stendahl, M., Fisk, A., Cogliatore, V., Manning, H., Perez, A., Gee, N. R., & Friedmann, E. (2013, May). Touching a dog reduces heart rate in children during the execution of a working memory task. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Conference, Washington, DC.

Perez, A. A., Wiley, R. M., Zmuda, S. J., Manning, H. S., Gee, N. R., & Couchman, J. J. (2013, May). The effect of therapy dogs on metacognition and prefrontal activity. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Conference, Washington, DC.

Gee, N. R., Belcher, J., Riley, W., DeJesus, M., & Grabski, J. (2011, August). The presence of a therapy dog improves performance in preschool children. Poster presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Indianapolis, IN. Selected for inclusion in a special moderated poster session.

Riley, W., White, B., Tyktor, H., Kerns, L., Greenberg, L., DeJesus, M., & Gee, N. R. (2011, August). Therapy dogs elicit more words in story telling of preschoolers. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.

Recent Student Poster Presentations

Fisk, A., Gee, N. R., Stendahl, M., & Cogliatore, V. (2013, April). The impact of touching a dog on heart rate in children during a working memory task. Poster presented at the Student Research and Creativity Exposition, Fredonia, NY and Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Conference, Allegheny, PA.

Galloway, S., Perez, A., Schwartzmeyer, T., Stendahl, M., & Gee, N. R. (2013, April). A manipulation of stress and dog presence on heart rate and working memory. Poster presented at the Student Research and Creativity Exposition, Fredonia, NY and Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Conference, Allegheny, PA.

Steinmiller, J., Manning, H., & Gee, N. R., (2013, April). Child comfort and attachment to dogs as determined by number and duration of touches. Poster presented at the Student Research and Creativity Exposition, Fredonia, NY and Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Conference, Allegheny, PA.

Zmuda, S. J., Wiley, R., Perez, A., Gee, N. R., & Couchman, J. J. (2013, April). Therapy dog interaction during metacognitive tasks. Poster presented at the Student Research and Creativity Exposition, Fredonia, NY and Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Conference, Allegheny, PA.

Gee, N.R., Braunscheidel, J., & Gregory, J. (2012, April). Physiological reactions of preschool children to the presence of a real dog during a memory task   Poster presented at the Student Research and Creativity Exposition, Fredonia, NY and at the Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Conference, Westminster College, PA.

Gee, N.R., Best, P., Braunscheidel, J., Kerns, L., & Riley, W. (2012, April) The effect a dog has on preschoolers' language production.   Poster presented at the Student Research and Creativity Exposition, Fredonia, NY and at the Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Conference, Westminster College, PA.


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