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Faculty Profiles

Department: Psychology

Heather Meggers-Wrightheather Meggers-Wright

Associate Professor of Psychology


Harbert 308

Contact Information:

Box 549037
Birmingham-Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Rd
Birmingham, AL 35254
Office Phone: (205) 226-4829
Office Fax: (205) 226-4830

Brief Career Background:

  • Clinical Internship: South Texas Veterans Health Care System
  • Postdoctoral Residency: Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute

Educational Background:

  • 2005 Ph.D. University of Missouri, Clinical Psychology
  • 2001 M.A. University of Missouri, Clinical Psychology
  • 1998 B.A. Westminster College, Political Science and Psychology

Areas of Academic Interest:

My primary research interest involves human sexuality, specifically the attitudes and cognitions that influence sexual affect and functioning.  My research has included the study of sexual cognitions in women and in men, body objectification theory and its application to sexual health outcomes in women, factors that influence attitudes toward sexual minorities, and the positive and negative outcomes related to participation in an erotically-focused online community primarily populated by women.  I also conduct research in media psychology, particularly in relation to sexuality and body image variables that influence and are influenced by media participation.  Finally, I have begun to explore research in the field of obesity and behavioral medicine for the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

My research lab involves students in psychological research at all levels, from data collection and entry to full collaboration on study design.  Advanced students are given the opportunity to co-lead projects of their interest, and I have in the past sponsored research with two Distinguished Vail Research Fellowship scholars that have been presented at national professional research conferences.

Recent Publications & Presentations

Meggers, H.J. (in press). Discovering the authentic sexual self: The role of Fandom in the transformation of fans’ sexual attitudes.  In K. Larsen & L. Zubernis (Eds.) Fan Culture: Theory and Practice. Newcastle, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Bruess, C.E. & Meggers, H.J. (2009). Teaching the college human sexuality course. In E. Schroder & J. Kuriansky(Eds.) Sexuality Education: Past, Present, & Future (Vol.3). Westport Ct: Praeger Publishers.

Meggers, H.J. (2011). Erotic fanfiction and online media fans: Connectivity, compulsivity, and the sexual self. Paper presented at the 2011 Eastern/Midcontinent Region of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), March 2011.

Bryant, D.M., Meggers, H.J., & Dees, C.J. (2010). Perceived similarity to reference character influences risk rating of STI contraction. Poster presented at Association for Psychological Science 22nd Annual Convention, May 2010.

Meggers, H.J. (2010). Fans in online fannish spaces: Expressions of self and sexuality. Paper presented at the 2010 Joint Conference of the National Popular Culture and American Culture Associations, March-April 2010.

Meggers, H.J. (2009). Agency and objectification in sexual fantasies: An exploration of sexual correlates. Paper presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), November 2009.

Meggers, H.J. (2008). Am I using my body or are you? Body objectification and the experience of sexuality in Southern college students.  Paper presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), November 6, 2008.

Meggers, H.J. (2007). Body objectification and female sexual functioning. Poster presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR), March 8, 2007.

Maisel, L.A. & Meggers, H.J. (2007). Now and then: Females learning and practicing masturbation. Poster presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), November 11, 2007.

Zoberi, K. & Meggers, H. (2006).  The Mind and the Body Meet in Primary Care: An Integrated Care Model. Symposium presented at the 27th Forum for Behavioral Science in Family Medicine, September, 2006.

Margolis, R., Khatri, P., Reiter, J., Byrnes, S., Niemiec, R., Meggers, H., Mengel, M., Blount, A. & McDaniel, S (2006). Integrated care: Practical applications of behavioral health in diverse primary-care settings.  Symposium presented at the 2006 APA Convention, August, 2006.

Courses Taught:

PY 101 Introduction to Psychology (1)
An introduction to the research, theory, and methods of psychological science.

PY 204 Statistics for Research
A laboratory course designed to introduce students to experimental research design, statistical theory and techniques, and computer data analysis. Laboratory required.

PY 208 Human Sexual Behavior
A study of the biological, sociological, psychological, and ethical aspects of human sexuality, including the study of the biological foundations of sexuality, behavioral variations, research in sexuality, sexual decision making, social issues, and contemporary issues in human sexual behaviors.

HON 284 Psychology of Mass Media
A seminar examining the intersection between mass media and human psychology. The course explores how children, adolescents, and adults process and respond to mass media with emphasis on cognitive, social, behavioral, and personality theories. Topics include the impact of media on identity development, the ways that media representations of gender, race, and class affect our social and cognitive constructions of groups, the influences of media exposure on human behavior, and the role of the active audience in media consumption and creation. This course will highlight the interaction between the media and audience, focusing not only on how mass media shapes human psychology, but by how the psychology of the audience shapes media. (Satisfies Disciplinary Foundations requirement in psychology; satisfies an elective for psychology majors/minors.) Prerequisite: Harrison Honors Program. Spring 2011.

PY 310 Psychological Testing (1)
A study of the theory and techniques of test development and use in applied and research settings. Assessment in educational, clinical, counseling, and personnel settings, as well as issues surrounding the use of evaluative information are examined. Prerequisite: PY 204

PY 313 Psychological Disorders (1)
A survey of psychopathology and abnormal behavior with an emphasis on the systems and criteria of diagnosis. Theories on the development and treatment of disorders are also discussed. Prerequisite: PY 101

PY 316 Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
A survey of psychological disorders that primarily affect children and adolescents. The course takes a developmental approach to childhood psychopathology, focusing on diagnostic criteria and familial, educational, and individual features associated with each disorder. Research on etiological theories and treatment is also discussed. Prerequisite: PY 101.

PY 330 Clinical Psychology
An introduction to the development and current practices of clinical psychology. Emphasis is placed on models of therapeutic intervention, assessment, trends in psychotherapy, and ethical, professional, and research issues. Prerequisite: PY 101

PY 369 Political Psychology
An advanced course that applies psychological theories of human cognition, affect, and individual differences to the study of political behaviors. Topics include the development and maintenance of social attitudes and political beliefs, decision making, voting and campaigns, political media, intergroup relations, conflict and violence, and genetic influences on political behaviors. (Also listed as PS 369.) Prerequisite: PY 101.

PY417 Senior Seminar: Research
Involvement of the student (alone or with other students) in the development and execution of a research project. Topics of research vary according to the interests of the student and the professor. The project typically requires the student to write a research report in APA style. Prerequisites: PY 101, 204, 304, psychology or biology-psychology major, and consent.

PY 450 Senior Seminar: Advanced Topics in Psychology (1)
An in-depth exploration of contemporary research on selected topics. Topics vary according to the instructor's interests. May be repeated for credit when the focus is different. Prerequisites: PY 101, 204, 304, psychology or biology-psychology major, and consent.