Category Archives: Meet the Author

Meet Michael Shahnasarian, PhD, Author of the Earning Capacity Assessment Form™-2nd Edition (ECAF™-2)

Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
My father was a mechanical engineer and very early in my childhood I realized I had no manual aptitude or skills whatsoever. So that career option was closed by lack of talent. My mother always encouraged me to pursue helping professions. When I began taking psychology classes in college at Indiana University, I had a natural affinity for the subject matter.

What made you decide initially to develop the ECAF™-2?
As a practitioner, I realized that the discipline needs more standardization and objectivity and many practicing vocational experts shared my beliefs. In fact, there is a formal group in California that is attempting to develop practice standards. As I gained experience over the years, I learned that there is no other measure equivalent to the ECAF-2.

What would you like to tell people about your product that they may not know?
It has been under development for over a decade and it has been well-validated through a number of published reliability and validity studies. Also, it incorporates generally accepted methods in sync with mainstream theories.

What would you like to tell people about yourself that they may not know?
My first novel, Justice Indicted, will be published in February 2011. The book is a social commentary based on my experiences as an expert witness for over 25 years.

How do you spend your free time?
I spend my free time traveling with my wife. I have three children ages 16-22. I’ll be accompanying my oldest child on a trip to London later this month; he is enrolling in a master’s program at the London School of Economics.

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Meet the Author: Thomas M. Brunner, PhD

Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
This was the best way I could think of to participate in the evolution of our world. I was fascinated by the complex task of identifying patterns to thoughts, feelings, and behavior that could help us predict a person’s behavior. I could not find any field more complex, and all other fields seemed boring compared to this intellectual frontier.

What made you decide initially to develop the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2™ Child and Adolescent (STAXI-2™ C/A)?
The amazing paucity of anger measures currently existing, especially for children and adolescents. I knew the state-trait theory already had been overwhelmingly accepted by the field of psychological assessment. As a developmental psychologist in training, I approached Charlie Spielberger and suggested we develop a measure for children. He and I knew there was such a need since parents, teachers, and mental health professionals were all very concerned about the high prevalence of anger, but researchers seemed to have been giving most of their attention to anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, etc., classical conditions. Meanwhile, the public health problem of anger “snuck up” on our world. We see this with the school shootings that have occurred that now have everyone’s attention.

What would you like to tell people about your product that they may not know?
This is a measure that can truly help get at the nuances of anger. As a practicing developmental psychologist who works everyday in the trenches with parents, pediatricians, teachers, etc., I have a keen sense of whether a measure is worth our time and energy as a practitioner who is very busy. The STAXI-2 C/A passes this test admirably. Why? Most people do not want to know if there is anger or not, rather, they want to know if the child is possibly harboring anger, how much they are struggling to control their anger, and to what degree might they be controlling anger much more than any adult appreciates. They also want to know if the anger is more just a temporary state or more like a trait, and thus, more concerning.

These are the most compelling question for our field, and for the adults working with children. And it is these questions that the STAXI-2 C/A provides answers to. Second, this is a necessary measure any time one is conducting a risk assessment, as again, this measure endeavors to assess covert anger that we have learned is “silent but deadly.” This anger measure provides a robust profile of a person’s personality as it relates to anger. In this way, this measure is very practical.

What would you like to tell people about yourself that they may not know?
My experience with anger goes far beyond research and clinical settings, as I have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old, and am blessed with everyday appreciating the nuances of anger in my wonderful children. I learn from them every day. We, as parents, know there is nothing that can replace real-world experience with emotions like anger. I am also a competitive cyclist who most recently rode the Tour de Tucson, a 67 mile road race. My wife and I, with our two wonderful children, live in Tucson, Arizona, deep in the desert, my favorite place on earth.

How do you spend your free time?
Riding as fast as I can down the road, rain or shine. When not in the bike saddle, I am reading to my kids or we are outside enjoying the desert climate. I am currently learning about Transformers and He-Man from my son, and from my daughter, I am learning all about the importance of having tea parties for her dolls.

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Meet the MMSE & MMSE-2 Authors: Marshal F. Folstein, MD & Susan E. Folstein, MD

What made you decide initially to develop the Mini-Mental® State Examination (MMSE)?

We developed the MMSE to solve a clinical problem on a geriatric psychiatric inpatient service. The diagnoses of patients on our unit included depression, dementia, delirium, and occasional late-life schizophrenia. We needed a practical quantitative cognitive exam in order to aide clinicians in determining the severity of cognitive impairment ranging from mild to severe and to document improvement or decline.

At the time, Susan was a psychiatry resident rotating on the geriatric psychiatric unit where I (Marshal) was a junior attending. Always a perfectionist, she was not happy when I repeatedly asked for cognitive information that she had not asked about. So she asked me to write down all the items that I wanted her to include.

What made you decide to update it and create the Mini-Mental® State Examination, Second Edition™ (MMSE®-2™)?

Over the years, students and other users made many suggestions about how to improve the MMSE. There was a need to clarify the instructions so that certain tasks were administered; there was a need for phrases that were more easily translated into other languages; and users requested multiple forms in order to minimize practice effects with serial administration. In addition, we had long wanted to develop a shorter version that could be given very quickly in busy clinical settings, and also a longer version that would eliminate ceiling effects. We wanted this longer version to be more sensitive than the original MMSE to disorders of executive function and to the kinds of memory impairment found in mild cognitive impairment.

What would you like to tell people about the MMSE-2 that they may not know?

The MMSE-2 Standard Version scores are equivalent to the original MMSE scores. We took care that subjects tested during development scored the same, regardless of whether they were given the original MMSE or the MMSE-2 Standard Version. Longitudinal studies currently underway can switch to the new version without any adjustment to scores. The original, unrevised MMSE is still available if users do not want to change to the revised versions.

How do you spend your free time?

Marshal takes flute lessons and is trying to improve his photography. Susan enjoys gardening and reading spy novels, biographies, Jane Austen, and Patrick O’Brian. She has a new job at the University of Miami School of Medicine with a joint appointment in psychiatry and in the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. We both like to write and watch old movies.

Screen for cognitive impairment with a revised version of the most widely used cognitive status exam...
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