Department of Psychology

Program Faculty and Professional Staff

Program faculty described below all hold the doctorate in psychology with a specialization in behavior analysis and teach one or more program courses.

John T. Rapp (Ph.D. University of Florida, 2003; Professor). Dr. Rapp is the Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis program and a full Professor in the Department of Psychology at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.  He is also the Project Director for the Alabama Psychiatric Medication Review Team with the Alabama Department of Human Resources.  He received his doctoral degree in Behavior Analysis from The University of Florida in 2003.  He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavioral Interventions, Behavior Modification, Education and Treatment of Children, and The European Journal of Behavior Analysis.  To date, he has coauthored over 90 articles that are published in peer-reviewed journals.  His research interests include the assessment and treatment of automatically reinforced behavior such as stereotypy, evaluating the sensitivity of discontinuous recording methods for detecting changes in behavioral events, and production of false positives with single-subject designs.  Recently, he and his graduate students have begun to extend behavioral interventions to nontraditional populations such as foster care youth and detained adolescents.  

Christopher Newland (Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology, 1982; Professor) Dr. Newland's research activity is focused on the application of basic research in behavior analysis to the examination of exposure to toxic substances or drugs that act on the nervous system. In particular he is examining experimental models of abnormal development. This includes the long-term effects of heavy metal exposure, including methylmercury, lead, and manganese, as well as behaviorally active drugs. He has worked with both human and animal models. At present his laboratory is examining the consequences of exposure, during gestation, to methylmercury, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium (alone and in combination) on development and aging. These substances are thought to impair neural development by their presence (methylmercury) or absence (omega-3 fatty acids, selenium). Dr. Newland's group is reporting that these substances can also accelerate the course of aging, even if exposure occurs only during development.

Sarah Richling  (Ph.D. University of Nevada, Reno, 2017; Clinical Assistant Professor). Dr. Richling serves as the Director of ABA services and Practica at Auburn University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (2010).  Her current scholarly interests include the dissemination and adoption of evidence-based practice and continuing education, the empirical evaluation of ritualistic clinical practices, cultural and social issues including criminal behavior, organizational and scientific system-building, and the integration of the philosophical bases of behavioral science. 

In addition, several professionals are employed as full-time staff and serve as supervisors in the practicum component of the program each year.

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Last Updated: November 29, 2017