Denise R. Emer

Biographical Information


Dr. Denise Emer is an Associate Professor in the Daemen College Psychology Department and current psychology department chairperson. Dr. Emer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  Dr. Emer began her graduate study in the area of developmental and cognitive psychology, but became fascinated with clinical/forensic areas of the field in her final year of graduate school, and was fortunate to access mentors who were willing to provide the training she needed to reorient her study and reinvent herself professionally. During her final graduate year, and first 3 years of tenure-track teaching at St. Bonaventure University, Dr. Emer completed an externship at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center working with severe and persistent mentally ill clients. She also received training in forensic psychology under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph Davis, a California based forensic psychologist who teaches at California State University and has been a leader in the field for over 25 years.

Dr. Emer’s research has been eclectic, focusing on various areas of clinical, forensic, and health psychology, including, the efficacy of group therapy approaches for people with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, the relationship between perfectionism and performance, Obsessive Relational Intrusion and Stalking behaviors in college populations, and jealousy and infidelity in college students. Dr. Emer has also previously conducted research on factors that impact potential jurors’ decisions about insanity pleas and related mental health factors that mitigate criminal responsibility.

Dr. Emer is enthusiastic about teaching undergraduates about her discipline and helping them to understand how the science of psychology can contribute to a better life for everyone regardless of an individual’s college major, interests, or career aspirations.  Dr. Emer regularly teaches courses in Forensic Psychology, Health Psychology, and the Psychology of Mental Illness (a.k.a., “Abnormal Psychology”), as well as courses in the required undergraduate research sequence for psychology majors (General Research Methods, Topics in Research Methodology: Personality and Health, Junior Seminar in Psychology:  Crimes that Make You Go Hmm, and Senior Thesis in Psychology).

Dr. Emer has had the pleasure of mentoring several undergraduate student research projects, both as part of the required thesis for psychology majors at Daemen College, and also as Independent Study endeavors. Several of these projects have been submitted for publication and/or presentation at national research conferences.

In her spare time, Dr. Emer is an avid musician, whose passion  is singing blues, funk, soul, and classic rock. She also enjoys Zumba fitness, dancing (esp. Latin, Hip Hop, and Swing), weight training with her boyfriend Michael, and movies. Her 3 children, Nick, Sam, and Zoe keep her very busy outside of the classroom, along with her 9 cats.

Fall, 2013 Office Hours and Location

202 Curtis Hall

Office Hours, TBA

Contact Information,  716-839-8257

Dr. Emer's Courses

PSY 223, Forensic Psychology

PSY 229, Health Psychology

PSY 408, Psychology of Mental Illness

PSY 353, Research Methods in Psychology

PSY 354, Topics in Research, Health and Personality Psychology

PSY 335, Junior Seminar in Psychology (Crimes That Make You Go Hmmm)

PSY 444 Senior Thesis in Psychology

Current Research Projects

This year I will be continuing research in 3 topic areas of interest: Obsessive Relational Intrusion (a precursor to stalking that involves failure to respect personal boundaries in relationships), Jealousy and Infidelity in Romantic Relationships (specifically, gender differences and how those differences interact with the type of infidelity perpetrated and one ability to take the perspective of one’s partner), and interventions for test anxiety in college students.

If you are interested in registering for an Independent Study with regard to any of the above research projects please review the following requirements before submitting an application:

Getting involved with research as an undergraduate is a great way to learn more about psychology and get hands-on experience. The skills you learn doing research will assist you in the workplace and/or graduate school. Undergraduate research assistants will work closely with me and possibly other students on a research project. Your involvement may include the collection of data from human subjects, data entry and scoring, preparation of materials, completing literature searches, and statistical analysis (if you have experience with the statistical software and type of analyses being conducted). Requirements:

  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Juniors and Senior preferred,  but well-prepared Sophomores will also be considered (Psychology major preferred but not required)
  • Sufficient availability each week to perform required duties (amount of time required varies with number of credits you register for)
  • Strong interest in the areas of research you are becoming involved in

Recent Senior Thesis Projects Completed Under Dr. Emer's Mentorship (Spring, 2013)

Kara O’Brien, “Do Personality Traits Moderate the Effectiveness of Expressive Writing Interventions for Test Anxiety?”

Christina Vandewater, “The Association Between Sleep and Health Defeating Behaviors in College Students”

Alphonso Walker, “A Quasi-Experimental Investigation of the Impact of A Campus Leadership Program on Male Minority Students”

Ayana Williams, “Factors that Influence Friendships in College Students”

Brittney Nasca, “Predictors of Obsessive Relational Intrusion in College Students”

Patrick Wozniak, “Predictors of the Use of Technology to Monitor Romantic Partners”

Amanda Zanghi/Dan Strebel, “Infidelity in Committed Relationships and Relationship Outcomes”

Audrey Dollinger, “Moderators of the Relationship Between Feminist Orientation and Romantic Relationship Quality”

Helpful Links

American Psychological Association (APA)

APA Resources for Students

Graduate School Resources

Careers in Psychology

Psychology in The News

The Unreliability of Eyewitness Testimony

Books I Recommend

Charles BarberComfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation

Gilbert WelchOverdiagnosed - Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health

Simon Baron-Cohen , The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty 

Department News

We are excited to announce the arrival of two new faculty members to our department beginning Fall, 2013. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Joy Hanna and Dr. Laura Luchies to our department. Dr. Hanna comes to us from Oberlin College in Ohio, and Dr. Luchies comes to us from Redeemer University in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Hanna specializes in the area of cognitive psychology. Dr. Luchies specializes in the area of social psychology. Please stop by and introduce yourself to our new faculty!



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