Dr. Marnie Rice, trailblazing psychopathy researcher

I had a busy summer, to say the least. I attended three conferences, gave six talks, and landed a tenure-track job at Lakehead University. These are all wonderful if exhausting pursuits, and I am grateful to have been offered these opportunities. One of the summer highlights was the Canadian Psychology Association conference in Ottawa, Ontario, which was particularly relevant to my interests because it was held in conjunction with the North American Correctional and Criminal Justice Psychology Conference. I got to see Dr. Robert Hare receive CPA's Gold Medal Award, and hear him speak about his life and work. It was well-attended and after the talk, grad students asked me to use their phones to take pictures of them with their hero. It was as cute as it sounds.

Amongst the many talks and posters, I was fortunate to be able to attend a session honouring the contributions of the late Dr. Grant Harris. Here is the session description: This talk will review Dr. Grant Harris’s impact on the psychopathy literature. His work in this area spans research on risk prediction, theory testing, and clinical practice. No only has Dr. Harris been prolific in his contributions, some of his papers are seminal works that sparked programs of research and academic debates, strengthening our understanding of this dangerous personality. Dr. Harris’s reach extends beyond the literature, however. His mentorship and support of students has inspired young scientists to pursue important research questions and use rigorous methods.

Is there a psychopathy researcher anywhere who hasn't cited the classic Harris, Rice, and Cormier (1991) study reporting that psychopaths treated in an intensive therapeutic community reoffended at higher rates than untreated psychopaths? The work coming out of Penetanguishene by Grant Harris, Marnie Rice and colleagues continues to inform what we know about psychopaths today. Dr. Marnie Rice was, of course, present at the tribute to her long-time colleague Grant Harris. Always awkward around death, I mumbled my regrets to her only after my colleague extended her condolences first. It was my first and last time meeting Marnie Rice, a woman I'd admired for years.

Summer ended and I embraced the bittersweet challenge of teaching Psychometrics and Social Psychology at Trent University for the last time. I sold my house and bought a new one. I have selected my textbook for the Forensic Psychology course I'll be teaching next semester when I start at Lakehead. There has been little opportunity for reflection in the whirlwind of painting baseboards, preparing for open houses, signing papers, referring students to the syllabus, and wishing I had time to analyze data.

I was stopped in my tracks though when I discovered that Marnie Rice had died in August, just a couple of months after I'd seen her. I had initially been pleased when I spotted a Globe and Mail story on Rice, and I clicked the link anticipating learning more about her current activities. Instead, it was a memorial tribute to her life and contributions.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/psychologist-marnie-rice-probed-the-minds-of-psychopathic-offenders/article26375178/ I wish I'd thanked her when I met her in June. I wish I'd told her how inspiring her work and career were to me, a late-comer to the field. Thank you, Dr. Rice.

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