Rodney Schmaltz

Associate Professor, Psychology

PhD (Alberta)

6-370, City Centre Campus
10700 - 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB


Rodney Schmaltz's research focuses on pseudoscientific thinking, with an emphasis on strategies to promote and teach scientific skepticism.  Correcting belief in pseudoscience is a challenge. Regardless of academic success or training in science, many students continue to hold ideas that are not supported by empirical evidence. Basically, he wants to better understand why people believe in strange things like ghosts, aliens or psychic powers and find strategies to help combat these beliefs.

Dr. Schmaltz's interest in pseudoscience extends to the social and applied psychology of music, particularly in relation to misconceptions regarding the impact of music on behaviour. Certain styles of music have been said to cause a variety of social ills, ranging from risky sexual behaviour to murder and cannibalism. His research explores why people believe that music can cause harm and examines the actual impact of music on behaviour.

Dr. Schmaltz is the past chair of the Research Ethics Board at MacEwan University and continues to work with government agencies on topics such as ethics review in emergency situations (e.g., during infectious disease outbreaks) and the role of lay representatives in government organizations, such as funding agencies and ethics review boards.  

Available to supervise honours or individual study students.

Pseudoscience, skepticism, critical thinking, social psychology, music, consumer behaviour, experimental psychology, decision science, decision processes, risk perception, research ethics

Teaching and Research Interests

Courses Taught

  • Psychology 104 Introductory Psychology I
  • Psychology 105 Introductory Psychology II
  • Psychology 212 Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology
  • Psychology 241 Social Psychology
  • Psychology 312 Advanced Research Methods
  • Psychology 405 Special Topics in Psychology Topic: Pseudoscience, Psychology and Critical Thinking
  • Psychology 449 Topics in Social Psychology Topic: Social Psychology and Music
  • Psychology 496/498 Individual Research/Study

Research Interests

  • Explanations for belief in pseudoscience
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Social and applied psychology of music
  • Research ethics

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

Lilienfeld, S., Lynn, S., Namy, S., Woolf, N., Cramer, K., & Schmaltz, R. (2017). Psychology: From inquiry to understanding (3rd Canadian Edition).  Toronto, ON:  Pearson Education Canada.

Schmaltz, R. M. (2016).  Bang your head: Using heavy metal music to promote scientific thinking in the classroom.  Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 146.  doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00146

Schmaltz, R. M., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2014). Hauntings, homeopathy, and the Hopkinsville Goblins: Using pseudoscience to teach scientific thinking.  Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 336. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00336

Schmaltz, R. M., & Enström, R. (2014). Death to weak PowerPoint: Strategies to create effective visual presentations. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1138. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01138

McEwan, D., Schmaltz, R., & Martin Ginis, K. A. (2012). Warming up with pressure improves subsequent clutch performance on a golf-putting task. Advances in Physical Education, 2, 144-147. doi: 10.4236/ape.2012.24025

Awards / Grants / Fellowships

  • SSHRC Institutional Grant

Professional Associations / Memberships

  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for Psychological Science

Boards / Committees

  • Frontiers in Educational Psychology, associate editor
  • N2 Education Committee, member
  • Lay Representation Working Group, Canadian Cancer Action Network, member