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About Matt Davis

Dr. Davis is originally from Massachusetts where he earned his BA in Psychology. He earned his MA in Experimental Social Psychology in Virginia, and came to California in 1982 to complete his doctoral work in the interdisciplinary field of Social Ecology, with a focus on both Social Psychology and on the geological processes that create earthquakes and volcanoes. After teaching at several campuses of the California State University system, Dr. Davis began teaching full-time at Dominican in 1994. He regularly teaches courses in social psychology, statistics and research, human sexuality, media psychology, and a specialty course called Natural Disasters: Societal & Individual Reactions to Risk. In 2011 he developed a new course on the Psychology of Travel.
His nickname on campus is “Disasterman” and he has completed two large-scale research projects on public awareness of volcanic hazards in the vicinity of Mt. Vesuvius in Italy, as well as studies of risk perception for volcanic hazards at Mt. Rainier, Washington, and tsunami hazards along the northern California coast. Most recently he has been involved in research evaluating the psychological effects of participating in "Get Ready Marin" and CERT disaster preparedness training sessions here in Marin County. 

Matt loves to travel. He has visited all 50 states and has driven round-trip across the country more than 40 times. He has also traveled extensively throughout Europe (including over 20 separate trips to Italy), as well as to several nations around the Pacific Rim, Ecuador, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. He recently created his own travel website through which he shares his passion for travel writing and photography, Matt also shares his love of travel with his students and colleagues, having led a number of university trips to Greece, Italy, Ireland, France, Berlin & Prague. He is fairly fluent in Italian, is an avid TV buff, and appreciates a variety of musical genres. He was the DJ/host for two programs on Dominican's on-line Penguin Radio: Catchin' a Wave, a showcase for traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music, and Strada Facendo, which features contemporary Italian pop music, stories about Italy, and short lessons about the Italian language with the help of Kate Rider, a Dominican University language instructor.


2005 - Present Professor, Dominican University of California Department of Psychology
1997 - 2005 Associate Professor, Dominican University of California Department of Psychology
January 1992 - December 2000 Lecturer, San Francisco State University ‐ Psychology Department
1994 - 1996 Assistant Professor, Dominican College of San Rafael
1993 - 1994 Lecturer, Dominican College of San Rafael ‐ Department of Psychology
September 1992 - March 1994 Lecturer, California State University - Hayward ‐ Psychology Department
June 1992 - December 1993 Lecturer, Chapman University Regional Education Centers ‐ Psychology/Sociology
January 1990 - June 1991 Lecturer, California State University - Long Beach ‐ Psychology
August 1989 - December 1991 Lecturer, California State University - Fullerton ‐ Psychology

Curriculum Vitae


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  • Natural Disasters: Societal & Individual Reactions to Risk
  • Psychology of Travel
  • Media Psychology
  • Human Sexuality
  • Directed Research
  • Statistics for Health & Behavioral Sciences
  • Social Influence
  • Social Psychology


1990 Ph.D., University of California Irvine ‐ Social Ecology Program
1982 M.A., College of William & Mary ‐ Experimental Social Psychology
1980 B.A., University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth ‐ Psychology

Contact Information

Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94901



Articles (5)

Reports (3)

Presentations (46)