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Susan Davis

Associate Professor

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Psychology


Email: Susan Davis
Phone: 937-229-1345


  • Ph.D., Miami (Ohio) University, 1991
  • B.A., Psychology, Miami (Ohio) University, 1986
  • M.A., Psychology, Miami (Ohio) University, 1989


Dr. Davis received her Ph.D. in Experimental/Cognitive Psychology from Miami University of Ohio in 1991 (B.A. and M.A. in Psychology, Miami University, 1986 and 1989, respectively). After Visiting Professorships at Miami University and Wright State University, she taught at Loras College, Iowa, from 1993 to 2001 when she joined the faculty at the University of Dayton.

Dr. Davis has taught Introductory Psychology, Psychology as a Profession, Human Sexuality, and Behavior Modification to undergraduates, and Cognition, Behavioral Statistics, Experimental Psychology, and the History of Psychology to both undergraduate and graduate students. She has also supervised over 50 undergraduate and graduate student theses.

Her research has focused on areas in cognitive psychology, with primary interests in memory, aesthetic preferences (including the illusory effects of color), people’s unrealistic expectations about lifestyle change and performance, and the use of computer technology as a persuasive medium. Over the past 13 years, she has directed a team of undergraduate researchers each semester in the investigation of these and other topics.

Faculty Perspective

"I enjoy tremendously my interactions with students in and out of the classroom as we explore the many aspects of the topics in my courses. This is partly because I believe that the learning/teaching experience is mutual. We teach each other and we learn from each other. Both the University of Dayton and the Psychology Department - with its many opportunities for students to get involved with psychology in and out of the classroom (for example psychology "clubs" and research teams) - facilitate this mutual exchange. UD is a good place to be!"

Research Interests

  • Cognition (in general)
  • Memory
  • Aesthetics and Art Appreciation
  • Illusions (cognitive and perceptual)
  • Overconfidence

Selected Publications

Davis, S.T., & Jahnke, J.C. (1991). Unity and the Golden Section: Rules for aesthetic choice? The American Journal of Psychology, 104, 257-277.

Elgin, P.D., & Davis, S.T. (1997). Effects of orientation and meaning on mental rotation. Modern Psychological Studies.

Jahnke, J.C., Davis, S.T., & Bower, R.E. (1989). Position and order information in recognition memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 15, 859-867.