Karla Murdock Director of the Mudd Center for Ethics and Professor of Cognitive Behavioral Science

Karla Murdock

Mattingly 209
Website - Curriculum Vitae

Karla Murdock is Director of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics and Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science (CBSC). She is a core faculty member in the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability and was an inaugural faculty fellow in the Office of Community-Based Learning. Prior to joining the faculty at W&L, she was an associate professor of psychology in the University of Massachusetts Boston Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program.

She has been active in the development of Community-Based Learning pedagogies at W&L. In her applied science / community-based research capstone course, CBSC majors partner with community agencies to complete a project that serves Rockbridge County. Murdock's spring term class, The Pursuit of Happiness, recently collaborated with members of the Eagle's Nest Clubhouse and W&L's Department of Art and Art History to create a community mural focused on recovery.

Murdock's interdisciplinary work at W&L has included collaborating in the conception and coordination of Questioning the Good LifeQuestioning Passion and Questioning Intimacy, three year-long seminar series devoted to the transdisciplinary study of contemporary topics. She has contributed to several lifelong learning programs such as the After Class Podcast, Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar, and Law and Literature Weekend Seminar.

She has contributed to W&L's shared governance in several capacities, including as chair of the Provost Search Committee, head of the Department of CBSC, and faculty representative to University Strategic Planning Steering Committee. She has been elected to the President's Advisory Committee, Student Affairs Committee, Faculty Review Committee, Faculty Executive Committee, and as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. She is a voting member of the Omicron Delta Kappa circle at W&L.

About the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, Murdock writes, "The Mudd Center challenges us to confront big-picture questions that could be easily overlooked in lives that tend to focus on producing and achieving. It provides a safe and stimulating intellectual space that also nudges us outside of our comfort zones. Best of all, the Mudd Center supplies opportunities for us to benefit from serendipitous crossed paths and cross-pollinated ideas as we move among students, faculty and staff from all corners of the university."


1997: Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Georgia
1995-96: Clinical Internship, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center / Western Psychiatric Institute
1995: MS. Clinical Psychology, University of Georgia
1990: B.A. Psychology, Indiana University; Minors: Sociology, Classical Studies


Murdock's research investigates associations of cellphone use with adolescents' and emerging adults' sleep quality, psychological functioning, and cognitive processing. Her Technology and Health Lab is currently focusing on the construct of co-rumination via cellphone, which involves extensively revisiting, speculating about, and dwelling on problems in technology-mediated interactions. She has investigated this phenomenon using a cross-cultural lens with collaborators in Italy. With my colleague Wythe Whiting and students in the Cognition in Context Lab, she has explored developmentally-specific effects of cellphone-related auditory distractions (i.e., notification sounds) on cognitive performance. Her research utilizes a range of methodologies including behavioral (e.g., sleep self-monitoring, cellphone use tracking), psychophysiological (e.g., EEG, skin conductance), cognitive (e.g., response time, attentional capture), and self-report measures.


Introduction to Clinical Psychology (CBSC 210)
Research Design and Analysis Lab (CBSC 250-L)
Developmental Psychopathology (CBSC 265)
Applications of Cognitive and Behavioral Science (CBSC 299)
The Pursuit of Happiness (CBSC 300)
Positive Psychology (CBSC 395)
Directed Research in Technology and Health (CBSC 422)
Community-Based Learning / Applied Science Capstone in CBSC (CBSC 413-01)