Brian Pfohl's Homepage

Brian explains the difference between a z distribution and a t distribution to puzzled onlookers.

Basic stats

Office: 357 Pettengill
Phone: 207-786-8314
Department: Psychology
Position title: Assistant in Instruction (A.I.)


What in the world is an A.I.?
Many departments at Bates College have AIs, and each employs them for different tasks. In the psychology department, the AI is primarily responsible for working with the Statistics (Psyc218), Research Methods (Psyc261) , and with seniors who are conducting research for their theses.  I am available to students outside of class to give help when the professor is not available or when a different perspective might be useful.   I also assist the professors in grading quizzes, preparing in-class demonstrations, maintaining websites and gradebooks, and anything else that eats up their valuable time.

What is your professional background?
I have a Bachelor's Degree in Honors Psychology and German from Vanderbilt University ('95).  I did a two-year research thesis (under the guidance of Dr. Andrew J. Tomarken) examining the relation between a certain type of brain wave pattern and subjects' response to failure.  After graduating, I got involved in the software industry.  I held several different jobs with companies that produce business-to-business software.  In my software career I have served as technical support specialist, tester, software trainer, software consultant, webmaster, LAN administrator, technical writer, software designer, software developer, project manager, and staff manager. I lived and worked in Nashville, Colorado Springs and Louisville before relocating to Maine in the summer of 2002.  After years of working in corporate america, I'm very glad to have a change of pace and change of career working at Bates.  I gave a five-minute talk about my career and work-life balance as part of the Bates Purposeful Work Intiative.  You can see the video here.

What do you do for fun?
I regularly participate in Bates Theater productions. Check out my Bates Theater Bio Page for a list of productions along with some photos.  I also sing tenor in the Maine Music Society Chorale

Technical Resources for Students

Poster-making 101: Learn how to create a poster for a large-format printer in PowerPoint.  I also offer some tips on designing a good poster regardless of your printing method.

Qualtrics Help for Psychology Students: Learn about developing an online survey using Qualtrics, with particular emphasis on questions that often come up doing psychology research. (Counter-balancing, random assignment, presenting images and video, and much more!)

Graphic Design

I'm a freelance graphic designer.  Check out the psychology department's Speaker Archive for samples of my graphic design work. 


Boehringer, B., Pfohl, B., & Tilney, P. (2020). Accuracy of Critical Care Transport Team Estimation of Patient Height and Weight in Scene Responses. Air medical journal, 39(4), 262264.

Kahan, T. A., Slowiaczek, L. M., Scott, N., & Pfohl, B. T. (2021). Word frequency does not moderate the degree to which people can selectively attend to parts of visually presented words. Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006), 74(3), 573581.

Photo Galleries

The best photos I have are of our girls, Ellie and Julia.  Although we've been posting to facebook more recently, there are still a ton of pictures at Ellie & Julia Central.  Cuteness has no expiration date, so go check it out!

Speaking of old photo galleries, I have some fun ones from a while ago still here, rendered in glorious HTML.