George Robinson

Research Associate in Psychology

George Robinson

Contact & Office Hours

Bass Hall 214



George M. Robinson holds a degree in physics from Cornell University. He worked in the physics department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and served as head of the Radiation Therapy Treatment Planning Department. He later earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Chicago, specializing in cognition and psycholinguistics. He also completed the Clinical Psychology Training program and had his clinical supervision at the University of Chicago Hospital & Clinics and Chicago Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Before coming to Smith, Robinson taught at the University of Chicago, Duke University (where he was head of the Interdepartmental Committee on Linguistics) and Temple University. During 1986–87 he was visiting professor of linguistics at Central China University.

His cognitive teaching includes psycholinguistics, thinking and problem solving, perception, and memory; in the clinical area, he teaches courses on personality, motivation theory, fear, literature, humor, and statistics.

Robinson has published books on psycholinguistics, ethical problems in higher education, and Chinese university life; he also published a paper that helped the American Psychological Association defend the requirement of nonsexist language in its publications. Some of his other papers are on rhythmic structures in speech, visual illusions, research fraud, language acquisition, and robots that learn language. His current research interests include discovering why people believe in supernatural/paranormal phenomena and developing a program to undermine these beliefs; the psychology of scientific discovery; how people learn truths from fiction; research ethics and fraud; perception of morphed faces; and inappropriate guilt.

Robinson is a licensed psychologist health-care provider and has a small psychotherapy practice, is a Sessions House Fellow, guest lectures at the Springfield Expeditionary Learning School and Shanghai Normal University, collects Ghanaian paintings, spends a month each year in China, writes fiction and plays soccer. His adventures include being in East Berlin with U.S. Army intelligence officers the day before the big demonstration that brought down the Berlin Wall; being interrogated by Chinese Security Police about the student protests before the Tiananmen disaster; getting onto the Minas Tirith set for the Lord of the Rings movies; jet-boating the Shotover River; zip-lining the jungle canopy in Costa Rica; gathering bullets from the street to melt down to counterweight harpsichord keys; saving a busload of people from a crash in rural Thailand; setting up a computer for the First Secretary of the Danish Embassy in Accra; dancing with Uighurs on a Chang Jiang Riverboat; riding horses with a stuntman who doubled a Nazgûl; and some other things you can’t know about.