Michael J. Kalsher

Associate Professor, Cognitive Science

Dr. Michael Kalsher is an associate professor of psychology and cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and President of Kalsher & Associates, LLC. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in applied/experimental psychology from Montana State University, completed a four-­year internship in the Division of Behavioral Psychology at the John F. Kennedy Institute at Johns Hopkins, and earned a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology at Virginia Tech. While at Virginia Tech, Kalsher collaborated with Scott Geller, a pioneer in the field of behavior-­based safety, to carry out community-­based studies aimed at effecting important changes in safety-­related behaviors, including motivating safety belt use and deterring drunk driving.

Since coming to Rensselaer in 1988, Dr. Kalsher has published nearly one hundred peer-­reviewed papers and book chapters on a variety of applied topics in a number of related fields within psychology, including industrial/organizational psychology and human factors, the majority of which have focused on issues related to warnings and risk communication, including the role of safety symbols and pictorials in communicating safety information.  Kalsher has served in the role of evaluator on a number of funded projects focused on improving educational technologies, including the development of the studio approach to teaching physics at Rensselaer.  Kalsher is also co‐author of a successful introductory psychology textbook. His teaching covers a broad range of topics within psychology and human factors, most recently focusing on experimental methods and statistics and human factors at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Administratively, Dr. Kalsher chaired the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer from 1997-­2002, and currently serves as HASS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs. He is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society, and is frequently called upon as a human factors expert in litigation involving warnings and risk communications. Within HFES, Kalsher served as the Chair and Program Chair for the Safety Technical Group, as Chair of the Forensics Professional Group, and currently serves as Chair of the Arnold M. Small Safety Lecture Series, now in its 25th year. 



Ph.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Virginia Tech

M.S., Applied/Experimental Psychology, Montana State University

B.S., Psychology, Montana State University