Erica Knowles

Assistant Professor
617-747-6858
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  • Education
    • Ph.D., Northwestern University, cognitive science
    • M.S., Seton Hall University, experimental psychology
    • B.S., Hofstra University, historical musicology

In Their Own Words

"My primary goal as an instructor is to create an environment in which psychology is presented as something to engage with and where students feel that they have room to ask questions and push their knowledge limits. In psychology, we often discuss topics that may go against students’ prior understanding, and this is sometimes a difficult place to be. Knowing that asking questions or voicing opinions will be met with support from me and their classmates allows students to test out new ideas and make mistakes within the classroom. As far as my teaching style goes, I try and make sure that my passion for psychology comes through every class as I believe this is the first step in getting students excited about the material. I like to incorporate activities like hands-on demonstrations, discussions, and peer teaching, which allow students to explore topics more deeply. This kind of active learning keeps students engaged and moves the classroom away from a traditional lecture style."

"Psychology is an area that touches every aspect of our lives and provides a context to discuss how we view, learn, and make decisions about our world. We deal with people every day, and having some insight into how humans make decisions, are influenced by the environment, and so on gives [students] an educated perspective when working with others. I also think that studying psychology gives students a better understanding of themselves and makes them more informed citizens who can take a step back and view the world around them from a different perspective and with greater empathy."

"Berklee is so different from other programs in a fantastic way. The Liberal Arts faculty is so diverse, but we are all here because we love sharing our passions with others. This diversity and passion carries over into the student body here at Berklee. They enter the classroom with incredibly diverse life experiences that lend themselves to discussions in and out of the classroom. Students here truly seem to come for the learning experience, which makes my job even more enjoyable."

"My job is amazing in that it lets me combine all of my passions. As a musician who ended up studying psychology, it’s so exciting to talk to other musicians every day about the intersection of music and science. Because of my background in music cognition, I’m able to bring music into the psychology classroom through activities, current research, examples, and discussions. Music is a fantastic vehicle for teaching psychology in that it incorporates aspects of perception, memory, learning, emotion, social interaction, and our individual personalities. I feel that incorporating discussions about music in my courses provides a lens for students at Berklee to understand the reach and possible real-world applications of psychology."