Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 2010

KU professor leaves psychology department $2.2M

September 7, 2010


A Kansas University professor of psychology has bequeathed $2.2 million to his old department to help improve the training of graduate and undergraduate students.

Jack Brehm, who died last year, taught full time at KU from 1975 until his retirement in 1997. He left the bulk of his estate to the KU Endowment Association for the psychology department.

Chris Crandall, a professor of social psychology, was a friend and colleague of Brehm’s for 17 years. He recalled Brehm as a loyal friend who was well-liked by the faculty.

He remembered him as a good host who often entertained friends and traveled with them. However, Brehm didn’t have many immediate family members, Crandall said, aside from a brother and two nieces.

“Jack’s family was social psychology and the friends he made in the field,” Crandall said. “So, in a way, he left his money to his family.”

The donation came as a surprise, Crandall said, as Brehm hadn’t discussed it with many people. Ruth Ann Atchley, chairwoman of the psychology department, said the funds hadn’t been specifically allocated yet but would support psychology research for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

Brehm’s research dealt with emotions during a time when it wasn’t a particularly popular topic, unlike today, when such research is seemingly everywhere, Atchley said.

Crandall detailed two of Brehm’s more important discoveries.

In one case, he identified that when a particular freedom enjoyed by a person is taken away, a person will instinctively react to try and get it back. This has applications in so-called “reverse psychology” and can explain why you can get a 5-year-old boy to clean his room by telling him he isn’t allowed to do so.

Another discovery related to “cognitive dissonance” and posited that humans will attempt to avoid situations where they have two thoughts or actions that contradict each other.

In this way, Brehm discovered that changing people’s behaviors can actually lead to changing their attitudes, Crandall said.


Lindsey Buscher 7 years, 8 months ago

Jack Brehm was a great scholar, a great professor and a great man. He will be missed.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 8 months ago

You'd think with that kind of money they'd be able to help at last one disturbed lefty poster on here!!

Sorry.....couldn't resist.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Or better yet fund academic students majoring in Psychology.

Pugmom3 7 years, 8 months ago

Jack Brehm was one great person. I think it is wonderful what he has done. We all thought of him as friend. He will be missed for a long time .if not forever

classof75 7 years, 8 months ago

Too bad this remarkable news will now be over-shadowed by the news of Lew's departure.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Rightwing, sorry, apparently many of the loony left posters have an intractable mental illness, totally impervious to treatment.
the only solution is: repeated electroshock therapy; boot camp for a minimum of one year; or to be set adrift on an ice flow.

I.E. Merrill in his post above. he obviously completely fails to understant the definition of the endowment and what they can do.

also, Prof Brehm may have specified these uses, but of course liberal/elitist Merrill thinks he knows better how to use someone else's money. that comes naturally with them. I think it is the most prominent symptom of the loony liberals.

Prof Brehm's research was incredibly important and this article barely touches on it. the article also fails to really discuss Brehm's personal impact on the Department of Psychology.

LJW, please do a much more detailed article; it is well worth the subject.

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