Carol Nemeroff



Renaissance College

Maggie Jean Chestnut 202

1 506 458 7201


  • BA. McGill University
  • M.A Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
  • PhD. Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

Most of my professional life has been spent in the United States, but I am a proud Canadian, originally from Montreal with a bachelor of arts degree from McGill University. I went to the University of Pennsylvania to earn a master of arts and doctoral degrees in psychology, and it has been a long road back home.

I come to UNB from the University of Southern Maine (USM), where I was professor of social and behavioral sciences, and a principal at MeRTEC. I formerly served as chair of social and behavioral sciences at USM, and as chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the protection of human subjects in research. Before that, I was a core faculty member for 16 years in the department of psychology at Arizona State University (ASU), where I taught courses and supervised research projects at all levels from undergraduate to doctoral. I also chaired the Institutional Review Board there, directed the ASU Clinical Psychology Center and the Mind-Body Health Lab, and was one of the first faculty members to engage with emerging online teaching technologies. I am a licensed psychologist in Arizona.

While my disciplinary training is in psychology, my research and teaching have always been interdisciplinary. My primary research lies at the intersection of cognitive and health psychology and anthropology, focusing on intuitive, or ‘heuristic-based,’ thinking about contagion, also known as ‘the sympathetic magical law of contagion.’ Over almost four decades of research, this research has traced the impact of magical contagion beliefs in everyday life, exploring how intuitive or folk beliefs blend with expert knowledge, and how metaphysical concerns combine with pragmatic ones, to give rise to complex explanatory models and sometimes rather skewed behavioral responses across a wide range of domains. These include illness risk perceptions (originally focused on HIV prevention, colds, and flu, but also relevant to Covid-19), and public perceptions of recycled water (AKA ‘how to get the cognitive sewage out, once the actual sewage is gone’). Complementary research has addressed gender, culture and health, and more recently, women and leadership.

My most recent work focuses on designing and evaluating innovative ethics training that builds real-world ethical resilience, standing up to the complexity and emotional stress associated with ethical problems as they unfold the real-world. By identifying cognitive shortcuts and emotional biases that are engaged when people are stressed, I hope to design tools and techniques to guide them to more thorough, nuanced, and culturally aware decision-making.

Again, I am excited to have joined the RC community at UNB and to serve as your new dean. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and get involved as we launch our next twenty years!