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Dissertation Defense for Nicholas Gala

  • Date: June 26, 2017
  • Time: 1:00 PM
  • Location: College Hall, room 215

To:      Students, Faculty and Staff

From:  Gaurav Mathur, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School

Re:       Dissertation Defense for Nicholas Gala

 It is my pleasure to announce that Nicholas M. Gala, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychology, will defend his dissertation on “Emotional display rules of Deaf culture: An evaluation of emotional expression” on Monday, June 26, 2017, at 1 p.m. in College Hall, Room 215.  The first forty minutes of the dissertation defense are open to the Gallaudet community.

Mr. Gala’s study focused on display rules, which guide how individuals express emotions. These culturally prescribed rules of how, to whom, when, and which type of emotion is expressed in specific situations depend on cultural norms and related values such as individualism and collectivism. This study evaluated the display rules used within Deaf culture, as well as how acculturation, primary language, use of assistive hearing technology, and primary family language influence level of emotional expressiveness. Results suggest a unique set of emotional display rules used within Deaf culture that parallel the emotional display rules used within both individualistic and collectivistic hearing cultures. Deaf individuals in this sample expressed more positive emotions than negative emotions; were likely to express more emotions in a public setting compared to a private setting; and were more likely to express their emotions toward siblings and close friends than to their parents. Acculturation, use of assistive hearing technology, primary language use, and family’s primary language appear to moderate emotional expression within Deaf culture.

The members of Mr. Gala’s dissertation committee are Dr. Lawrence Pick, Department of Psychology, chair of the dissertation committee; Dr. Lori Day, Department of Psychology; Dr. Deborah McCaw, Department of Psychology; Dr. Mary Hufnell, Counseling and Psychological Services; and Dr. Anna Curtin, The River School.

Mr. Gala has a B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in both American Sign Language and Psychology from the University of Rochester.  He has an M.S. in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Gallaudet University. He has worked as a behavioral analyst, providing school- and home-based interventions and establishing school-wide programs and trainings addressing behavioral interventions. Gala is currently a clinical intern with the D.C. Superior Court working with youth and families. He is also a graduate research assistant for the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center and the vice president of the Graduate Student Association. Mr. Gala’s professional interests include forensic neuropsychology, affective neuroscience, and emotional display rules. He has completed seven clinical externships, including those at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and Saint Elizabeths Hospital.  His additional experiences have focused on psychosocial and educational development of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, parent advocacy, and psychotherapy and evaluation. Mr. Gala has published with the American Psychological Association, the Clerc Center’s Odyssey, and the Gallaudet Chronicles of Psychology.

Please join me in extending best wishes to Nicholas Gala for his dissertation defense.

Posted by Elizabeth Gibbons | Posted June 9, 2017 at 1:23 PM


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