Ruth Ault


Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. Pomona College


I am the Nancy and Erwin Maddrey Professor of Psychology. I obtained my B.A. from Pomona College (the Davidson of the west) and my Ph.D. from UCLA. Before coming to Davidson in 1979, I taught at the University of Utah for seven years. I won the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award from Davidson College in 1996, chaired the Department from 1999-2009, and am a fellow of the American Psychological Association. Fall 2013 will be my final teaching semester at Davidson, offering Psy 241, Child Development, and a first-year writing seminar, "Ordinary Physical Punishment of Children."

My research interests focus on intellectual (cognitive) development, especially among preschoolers and college students. I have studied memory and problem solving techniques used by both age groups and have written a book on the topic: Children's Cognitive Development. As an outgrowth of my seminar on gender identity, I have become interested in exemplifying concepts in human development using all types of literature: baby diaries, science fiction, modern and classical novels, and short stories.

I served 5 years as an associate editor for the journal Teaching of Psychology. I handled about 50 manuscript submissions a year, evaluating both their conceptual clarity and adherence to APA Publication Style guidelines. I also performed a similar role as co-executive editor for the Journal of Genetic Psychology [where "genetic" is an historic synonym for "child development," not a reference to biological gene actions].

In 2006, after 5 years as treasurer of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the American Psychological Association), I became the director for that division's Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology.


PSY 101 General Psychology
PSY 241 Child Development
PSY 315 Psychological Research: Child Development
PSY 352 Gender Identity
PSY 401 Issues in Psychology
WRI 101 Ordinary Physical Punishment of Children