Are you a donkey or an elephant?



A local college psychology professor will take a look at the differences between Democrats and Republicans in a talk this week.

Frank Conner, chair of Grand Rapids Community College’s psychology department, will kick off the college’s annual Psychology Speaker Series from 1-2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. His lecture is titled “The Psychology of Political Affiliations: Are Donkeys and Elephants Really That Different?”

Connor said he will aim to be “party neutral” in his presentation, focusing not on convincing or helping attendees to make decisions about joining a party, but on the thinking behind why we are attracted to the parties with which we affiliate.

“My presentation … explores the individual personality traits or cultural experiences that cause a person to align with one party or the other, separate from specific issues or positions held by the party," Conner said. “I will also talk about how party alignment affects the way one sees or acts in the world.”

The talk is the first of four events in the series, all free and open to the public, to be held in room 168 of GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, 151 Fountain St. NE.

The other talks include:

  • “The Emergent Use of Virtual Reality in the Treatment of Psychological Disorders,” by psychotherapist and software developer Thomas J. Overly, 1-2:30 p.m., Nov. 30.
  • “Understanding the Neurobiology of Drug Addiction in Humans through the Study of Animals,” by Bryan Singer, a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Michigan, 1-2:30 p.m., Feb. 16.
  • “Introduction to Mindfulness: Exploring the Science and Practical Application,” by April Hadley, social worker and instructor at the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness, 1-2:30 p.m., March 22.

No RSVP is required, but Connor recommends attendees arrive 15-20 minutes early in order to get a seat. For more details, contact Connor at (616) 234-3612.

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