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Psychology professor earns award to conduct research in Spain

The bookshelf spanning most of the wall behind Verlin Hinsz’s desk holds more than 30 years’ worth of books researched, read and contributed to during his career in the NDSU psychology department. It also holds subtle clues as to the international nature of his work and travels. A photo here and a map there show how important a global view is to his view of psychology. 

He sums it thusly: “For us to provide modern benefits to students, we have to have a global perspective.”

Hinsz is spending January through July as the Banco Santander Chair of Excellence in the Department of Business Administration at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain. Hinsz intends to focus his stay on a number of research projects related to his interests on the thought processes and social influences that impact the judgments and decisions of groups and individuals, which ultimately affect their task performance.

The Chair of Excellence position was created to encourage incorporation of internationally renowned professors to help the university’s departments, research institutes and research groups to improve their technical and scientific skills, develop long-term collaborations and share teaching and research experiences.

Hinsz said his interests overlap with the research activities of a number of faculty members in the university’s management and marketing programs. He expects those interests to lead to collaborative research publications and presentations on topics such as how shared and unshared cognition influences the actions of workgroup members, the ways information is processed in interacting workgroups, motivated safety and security behavior, motivation in workgroups and mathematical models of behavior in organizations.

A specific project is a manuscript on a theory of cooperative group decision making.

Hinsz also will present seminars and conferences to students and faculty. He has been involved in more than 190 national and international research presentations throughout his career.

He said he is humbled by the opportunity and is excited about what it could mean for NDSU students.

“I’m a basic as well as applied scientist,” Hinsz said. “What I study appears in work settings and social interactions all over the place. This opportunity in Spain will allow me to enhance what I teach our students about what they will likely experience during their professional and personal lives.”

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