Erin Smith, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Director of Research

Office Phone: (951) 552-8626
Office Location: James Building 123B
Office Hours:

Degree Major Emphasis Institution Year
Ph.D. 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

    UNDERGRADUATE: PSY213 General Psychology; PSY328 Cognitive Psychology; PSY338 Sensation and Perception; PSY401 Special Topics: Cognitive Science and the Human Person; PSY458 Motivation and Emotion;

    GRADUATE: PSY510 Human Growth and Development; PSY530 Research Methods in Clinical Psychology

  • Academic Areas & Scholarly Interests

    Cognitive Development/Cross-Cultural Psychology
    •The development of religious cognition and scientific reasoning
    •The role of fantasy in cognitive development
    •Learning from media
    •The role of church in supporting children's development

    Science and Religion

  • 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:

    Selected Publications and Presentations:
    •Smith, E. I., & Crosby, R. G. (in press). Unpacking religious affiliation: Exploring associations between Christian children's religious cultural context, God image, and self-esteem across development [Special Issue] British Journal of Developmental Psychology.
    •Crosby, R. G., & Smith, E. I. (2016). Measuring children's church-based social support: online publication. doi: 10.1111/sode. 12198
    •Crosby, R. G., & Smith, E. I. (2015). Church support as a predictor of children's spirituality and prosocial behavior. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 43, 243-254.
    •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., & Richert, R. A. (2011, March). The creation of belief: Chinese children's use of evolution to explain the origin of species. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society of Research in Child Development, Montreal, Canada.
    •Smith, E. I., Alzen, J. L., & Richert, R. A. (November, 2010). Media in the classroom: Middle school teacher's use , perceptions, and problems. Paper presentation for the 89th annual meeting of California Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.
    •Smith, E. I., & Richert, R. A. (2009, October). Cognition and the soul. In E. I. Smith (Chair), Religious thinking: The development and influence or religious concepts on cognition.
    •Symposium conducted at the biennial meeting of the Cognitive Development Society, San Antonio TX.

  • 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)