Eastern Michigan University
direct edit

Alida Westman


310A King


[email protected]


Ph.D. Cornell University

M.S. Washington State University

B.S. Washington State University

Interests and Expertise

I spent the first 12 years of my life in The Hague, Holland, Europe. With WWII and its after-effects so abundant, I wondered why people saw the world so differently. Why did one see a problem and another a challenge? How can people be so inhumane against other people? Further, traumatized people show the effects non-verbally when they can’t verbalize what they’ve experienced. I learned to look for sites eliciting reactions and to research them to find out what happened. As a result my life was set by the age of four or so toward perception and research.

My teenage years I spent in the Pacific Northwest, in Pullman, Washington, home of Washington State University. It was surrounded by pristine wilderness and only 8 miles from the Idaho panhandle. We frequently camped and traded news for a leg of elk with some of the squatters. I was very hesitant to leave this haven. So I stayed as long as I could and got both my bachelors and masters at Washington State University.

Cornell University is in the finger lakes of up-state New York. It's a beautiful area. In fact the film industry started here and then moved to Hollywood where the winters are gentler. Cornell assumed motivated students, so there were no required courses, only the demand that one learn. I did, and in 1971 I earned my Ph.D. degree. As I defended my thesis, I met a visiting graduate student from the University of Michigan. We were engaged a week later and married soon after. After 26 years of marriage, our son and I lost him.

I had accepted a job as Research Associate at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri. It was interesting work, but a commuting marriage is unpleasant. Thus I went job hunting again and ended up at Eastern. I’ve been here longer than anywhere else in my life. I've seen my students become teachers and the teachers of my son. I now have children of my own students in classes. I very thoroughly enjoy my life here.

I teach courses which deal with people’s perception and comprehension of the world and how these facets develop. I teach Sensation-Perception (Psy 357) and history of ideas people have had about people (History & Systems, Psy 453), and the role of religion in people’s lives (Psychology of Religion, Psy 225). On occasion I teach Cognitive Processes either at the undergraduate or graduate level. Similarly, I teach perception at the graduate level, as needed. With respect to development, I teach Child Psychology (Psy 321) regularly. On occasion I teach undergraduate or graduate adolescence. And, occasionally, I guest lecture in Death & Dying (Psy 551). When there was space in my course load for statistics, I taught it. I hope at some point to return to teaching it.

Selected Publications

Brown, S. R., & Westman, A. S. Refining Christian Religious Orientations and Their Measurement through Cluster Analyses. Paper submitted for publication.

Westman, A. S. (2009). Review of Greene, R. W., & Ablon, J. S. (2006). Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach. Criminal Justice Review, 34(2), 290-292. DOI: 10.1177/0734016809332179

Westman, A. S. (2008). Review of Bloomquist, M. L. (2006). Skills training for children with behavior problems: a parent and practitioner guidebook (rev. ed.) Criminal Justice Review, 33(4), 575-576. DOI: 10.1177/0734016808319492

Brown, S. R., & Westman, A. S. (2008) Relationships between religious orientations and flow experiences: an exploratory Study. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 30, 235-240

Westman, A. S. (2007) The importance of learning styles in academic and applied settings. Archives of Medical Science, 3, 170-172. Invited Commentary.

McDowell, J. E., & Westman, A. S. (2005). Exploring the use of first name to address faculty members in graduate programs. College Student Journal, 39, 353-356.

Westman, A. S., & Alexander, N. (2004). Epistemological exploration: Generalization of learning styles and analytical skills between academic and religious materials. Psychological Reports, 94, 1083 - 1088.

Westman, A. S., Lynch, T. J., Lewandowski, L., & Hunt-Carter, E. (2003). Students’ use of mass media for ideas about romantic relationships was influenced by perceived realism of presentations and parental happiness. Psychological Reports, 92, 1116-1118.

Morrison, C. & Westman, A. S. (2001). Women report being more likely than men to model their relationships after what they have seen on TV. Psychological Reports, 89, 252-254.

Westman, A. S., & Stuve, M. (2001). Three exploratory studies of relations between young adults’ preference for activities involving a specific sense modality and sensory attributes of early memories. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 92, 435-446.

Westman, A. S., Willink, J., & McHoskey, J. (2000). On perceived conflicts between religion and science: the role of fundamentalism and right-wing authoritarianism. Psychological Reports, 86, 379-385.

PSY 225 Psychology of Religion

PSY 321 Child Psychology

PSY 357 Sensation and Perception