Rutherford Goldstein faculty


Earned and Honorary Degrees

PhD Psychology, University of Kansas
MA Psychology, University of Kansas
BAS Psychology, University of Minnesota-Duluth
BA Sociology, University of Minnesota-Duluth


I grew up in the prairies of south-central Minnesota. From a young age my parents introduced me to outdoor activities, such as teaching me to skate on a frozen lake or pulling me in a sled while cross country skiing. Partly because of this early introduction I have developed a life-long love of playing in the great out-of-doors and this affinity for nature has influenced every major decision I've made in my life.

I completed my doctorate degree in the summer of 2015 and jumped at the opportunity to pursue my professional interests at Northland College while simultaneously experiencing the wonderful outdoor opportunities the south shore of Lake Superior has to offer.


I am interested in cognitive processes, or how the mind performs mental functions. I try to answer questions such as "How do we read a sentence?" or "Why do we make speech errors?" My main interests lie in language processes. In the past, I've been interested how the mind organizes words in order to aid efficiency of the human language system.

Recently, I have published work using the mathematical tools of Network Science in order to study the mental lexicon (i.e. our internal dictionary). Additionally, I have become interested in how cognitive processes function in natural or wilderness environments. Contemporary scientific (and anecdotal) evidence suggests that many cognitive processes function better in natural settings compared to urban settings. I hope to figure out what processes benefit from natural settings and why this benefit occurs.