Steven Verney

Associate Professor, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

I believe culture counts. As an Alaska Native (Tsimshian) psychologist, I believe culture is infused in all of our beings influencing how we think, feel, and behave. My research has evolved into a mental health disparities focus. I am interested in issues of assessment validity, with a focus on cognitive assessment, for different cultural groups. Differences in assessment validity add to the health and mental health disparities seen in the U.S. I investigate cultural influences on cognition, psychopathology, and aging. My research focuses on psychophysiological indices of information processing efficiency. I also continue to investigate culture-fair methods of assessment for ethnic and minority populations.

I am currently a Senior Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at UNM for Hispanic and American Indians ( and a past fellow in the American Indian Alaska Native Program at the University of Colorado. I am a co-investigator on an NHLBI-funded project, the Strong Heart Stroke Study, investigating stroke in older American Indians, the population with the highest rate of stroke in US.  I is also the Director for the Research Core of an NCMHD-funded New Mexico Center for the Advancement for Research and Engagement on Health Disparities (NM CARES HD; ).  I have also been a past recipient of the Outstanding Faculty of Color Award, awarded by the Project for Peer Mentoring Graduate Students of Color to faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching, research, mentoring, and service.

My longer-term research goals are to continue to research areas of culture and cognitive functioning, and physical and mental health disparities.

Selected Publications

  • Verney, S. P., Bennett, J., & Hamilton, J. (2015).  Cultural considerations in the neuropsychological assessment of American Indians/Alaska Natives.  In Richard Ferraro (Ed.), Minority and Cross-Cultural Aspects of Neuropsychological Assessment.  New York, NY:  Psychology Press.
  • Verney, S. P. & Ellwanger, J. (20134).  Psychophysiology in Cross-Cultural Psychology.  In Kenneth D. Keith (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural Psychology.  Hoboken, NJ.:  John Wiley & Sons.
  • Verney, S. P., Granholm, E., Marshall, S. P., Malcarne, V. L. & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2005). Culture-fair cognitive ability assessment:  Information processing and psychophysiological approaches.  Assessment, 12, 303-319.
  • Venner, K.L., & Verney, S.P. (in press). Motivational interviewing: Reduce student reluctance and increase engagement in learning multicultural concepts. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.
  • Verney, S. P., Granolm, E., & Marshall, S.  (2004).  Pupillary responses during the visual backward masking task predict general cognitive ability.  International Journal of Psychophysiology, 52, 23-36.

Courses Taught

  • PSY 374--Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • PSY 450/650--Health Disparities
  • PSY 505--Research Seminar



Yajaira Johnson-Esparza:
Yajaira is studying depression in Latino populations. She will be graduating in August, 2015!  She will be on a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center during the 2015-2016 academic year.  She is a past Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at UNM.

Patricia Rodriguez:
Patricia is studying acculturation processes over time, and neighborhood perspectives and health in immigrant Latino populations. She is currently a 5th year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology and is also in the UNM Masters of Public Health program.  She is a Doctoral Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at UNM.

Justina Avila:
Justina is studying cultural factors in neuropsychological assessment. She is currently a 2nd year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology and is a Doctoral Fellow with the UNM Center for Health Policy (formerly the RWJF center for Health Policy at UNM.

Prospective Students:
Prospective clinical psychology doctoral students interested in working with Dr. Verney should have an interest in at least one of the following:

  • Cultural issues and cognitive assessment
  • Mental health disparities in ethnic minority, especially American Indian, populations
  • Information processing and psychophysiological measures of cognition

Prospective students can contact Dr. Verney at

Photo: Steven Verney