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Psychologist named distinguished professor

Steven Jay Lynn has been promoted to distinguished professor, a tenured University ranking conferred by the SUNY Board of Trustees and the highest academic rank within SUNY.

Lynn’s research in psychology has brought a broad range of topics, including hypnosis, dissociation, fantasy, false memories and related concepts, into the laboratory, where he pursues questions about their basic identifying characteristics and fundamental mechanisms.

He has shown that hypnosis increases the generation of false memories of recent events — memories of events that never occurred — and does not lead to any increased ability to recall temporally distant memories, sometimes called recovered memories. These findings have led to changes in national and international laws concerning the admissibility of information gained from an individual during hypnosis.

“I am currently continuing to study what I believe are important questions related to understanding human consciousness,” Lynn said.  “Specifically, ‘How do false memories of events that never transpired come about? What is the role of fantasy in everyday life? Can we describe what happens during hypnosis in scientific terms? And, how do people cope in the aftermath of trauma?’

“I also am deeply invested in developing with my students research-based treatments for smoking cessation, poor body image and depression; educating the public about science and pseudoscience in psychology; and training students in critical thinking skills,” he said.

Lynn’s writings, including The 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology [1]; Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding; Navigating the Mindfield: A Consumer’s Guide to Separating Science from Pseudoscience in Mental Health [2]; and The Monster in the Cave: How to Face your Fears and Anxiety and Live your Health [3] — a featured book in the New York Times Science Section — underscore his commitment to dealing with complicated issues in an open, understandable, yet scientifically rigorous, manner.

A prolific writer, Lynn has authored or co-authored 20 books or manuals, and more than 250 publications, and is ranked 49th out of 1,927 on the list of the Journal of Clinical Psychology’s “Top Producers of Scholarly Publications in Clinical Psychology PhD Programs.”

Lynn said the promotion to distinguished professor “is the culmination of my career, and the greatest honor I have received in my professional life.” The title recognizes faculty who have achieved national or international prominence within their discipline for their consistently outstanding accomplishments. Recipients are nominated by their campus presidents.

“The fact that there are now five active distinguished professors, one distinguished teaching professor and two distinguished service professors in the Department of Psychology is a testament to the high caliber and professional standing of the faculty, and I am proud to be counted among these truly outstanding individuals,” Lynn said.

Lynn earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in economics from the University of Michigan, and his doctorate in clinical psychology with a minor in sociology from Indiana University. He completed a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellowship in clinical psychology at the Lafayette Clinic in Detroit, Mich., and rose to the rank of professor at Ohio University before joining the faculty at Binghamton in 1996. He is also a member of the faculty of the International Institute of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and since 2007, has been the director of Binghamton University’s Psychological Clinic.

His many awards include the Distinguished Contributions to Professional Hypnosis award from the American Psychological Association, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities and the Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship from The Research Foundation, State University of New York.

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