Erin Smith, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology
Director of Research, Center for the Study of Human Behavior

Office Phone: (951) 552-8626
E-mail: esmith@calbaptist.edu
Office Location: James Building 123B
Office Hours: As posted

Degree Major Emphasis Institution Year
PhD Developmental Psychology University of California Riverside 2011
M.A. Developmental Psychology University of California Riverside 2008
B.A. General Psychology Point Loma Nazarene University 2006
  • Courses Taught

    PSY213 General Psychology
    PSY328 Cognitive Psychology

  • Academic Areas & Scholarly Interests

    Church as Social Support
    • The direct and indirect effect of supportive relationships at church on children’s development
    • Qualities and characteristics of churches with high levels of social support

    Science and Religion
    • Cultural and cognitive explanations for the development and differentiation of fantastical, scientific, and religious concepts
    • Relation between scientific knowledge and religious concepts
    • The contribution and limits of science, especially neuroscience; philosophy of science

    Scholarship on Teaching and Learning
    • Educating for productive science-religion dialogues
    • The development of critical thinking in college

  • Teaching Experience

    California Baptist University
    University of California, Riverside
    Foreign Language School, Zhejiang Province, People's Republic of China
    High School English, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China

  • Research, Presentations, & Publications

    Participant in the Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities 2015-2016 Project, through Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford (SCIO), the UK Centre of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. Bio here: http://www.scio-uk.org/participants/

    Selected Publications and Presentations:
    •Smith, E. I. (2017). Thinking like a psychological scientist. In R. Biswas-Diener & E. Diener (Eds), Noba textbook series: Psychology. Champaign, IL: DEF publishers. DOI: nobaproject.com.
    •Smith, E. I., & Crosby, R. G. (2017). Unpacking religious affiliation: Exploring associations between Christian children's religious cultural context, God image, and self-esteem across development [Special Issue: Religion, Culture, and Development] British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 35(1), 76-90. doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12156
    •Crosby, R. G., & Smith, E. I. (2016). Measuring children's church-based social support: Development and initial validation of the Kids' Church Survey. Social Development, 26(2), 423-442. doi: 10.1111/sode.12198
    •Crosby, R. G., & Smith, E. I., & Frederick, T. (2015). The kid-friendly church: What makes children feel loved, valued, and part of a supportive community? Journal of Family and Community Ministries, 28, 87-109.
    •Smith, E. I., & Richert, R. A. (2014, May). Psychological essentialism influences personal identity concepts in Chinese and American children. Poster presented at the annual conference of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA.
    •Richert, R. A., & Smith, E. I. (2011). Preschoolers' quarantining of fantasy. Child Development, 82, 1106-1119.
    •Richert, R. A., & Robb, M. B., & Smith, E. I. (2011). Media as a social partner: The social nature of young children's learning from screen media. Child Development, 82, 82-95.

    Selected Presentations:
    • Smith, E. I. (May, 2018). It’s not just the content: Understanding person-level variables in the science-religion dialogue. In L. Edman (Chair), The scientific study of religion and lived faith: Collision and collusion. Symposium to be presented at the 2018 meeting of the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, Langley, Canada.
    • Smith, E. I. (August, 2017). The naturalness of religion and science. In L. Edman (Chair), The cognitive science of religion, culture, and individual differences: Examining the boundaries of the theory. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion, Hamar, Norway.
    •Love, J., Smith, E. I., & Crosby, R. G. III (2017, May). Understanding science rejection: Using memory to investigate implicit biases about scientists. Poster session presented at the 29th Annual Convention for the Association for Psychological Science, Boston, MA.
    • Smith, E. I., & Crosby, R. G. (2015, March). Church support as a predictor of children’s spirituality and prosocial behavior. Poster session presented at the biannual conference of the Society of Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, PA.
    •Smith, E. I. (November, 2014). Creation beliefs: The default of the mind or the product of culture? In J. VanSlyke (Chair), Children’s conception of gods. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Diego, CA.
    •Smith, E. I., & Richert, R. A. (2014, May). Psychological essentialism influences personal identity concepts in Chinese and American children. Poster session presented at the annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA.

  • Church Membership & Activities

    Member of South Hills Church, Corona

  • Interests & Hobbies

    My husband and I have been married since 2005; I gave birth to our first child in 2013 and our second in 2015. I love spending time with my family, adventure traveling, fitness, reading, and game nights. (Pandemic, anyone?)

  • Personal Philosophy

    “It has again brought home to me quite clearly how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know; God wants us to realize his presence, not in unsolved problems but in those that are solved.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1972, Letters and Papers from Prison, Enlarged Edition. New York: Macmillan.

    “And I will lead the blind in a way they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16 (ESV)