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The Psychology of Winning

Mike Hinckley '19 (economics, psychology) presents original research during the 2019 Northeast Atlantic Sports Psychology (NASP) Conference at Temple University.

Mike Hinckley '19 (economics, psychology) presents original research during theĀ 2019 Northeast Atlantic Sports Psychology (NASP) Conference at Temple University.

Mike Hinckley ’19

Mike Hinckley ’19 came to Dickinson to play basketball, and he’s met that goal and then some, as a Centennial Conference (CC) Student-Athlete of the Year and member of the All-CC second team and Academic All-District Team. Below, he discusses how he knew he wanted to be a Red Devil, his interest in psychology, his plans to enter a sports psychology graduate program and more.


Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.


Psychology and economics.

Clubs and organizations:  

Men’s basketball.


John Montgomery Scholarship, Centennial Conference Winter (Basketball) Student-Athlete of the Year, 2019 Centennial Conference Second Team and All-Conference 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.

Favorite book:

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.

Favorite movie:

Step Brothers.

On choosing a major:

I came into Dickinson intending to major in economics because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I thought economics would be applicable in a lot of different areas. After getting to campus and taking an introductory psychology class, I realized my interest in psychology and decided to major in that as well.

On choosing Dickinson:

My relationship with Head Coach Alan Seretti and my interest in playing basketball at Dickinson were the main reasons why I came to Dickinson. The academics were great, and I felt like I fit in well with the student body, so after visiting with the team and meeting with Coach, I decided to fully commit here.

Favorite place on campus:


Favorite Dining Hall food:

Midnight Chocolate Cake.

Favorite class:

My psychology class sophomore year, Perception, Memory, and Thought, was the most interesting class I've taken here. It was an introduction to cognitive psychology and talked about how/why our brains operate as they do. I loved becoming more aware of, and learning about the science behind, human behavior, and the course was taught by [Assistant Professor of Psychology] Nick Soderstrom, a fantastic professor.

As I kid, I wanted to be …

… an NBA player.

Favorite professor:

[Assistant Professor of Economics] Anthony Underwood. I’ve taken almost a half-dozen classes with him, and he has an incredible way of teaching to an audience of nonexperts. He makes complex explanations simple enough for the class to understand, but he can also dive into the weeds of concepts when students are interested. He’s also committed many hours to me outside of class time to personally help me work through some data and software issues for an econometrics project, which I could not have figured out on my own.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Don Haskins.

Biggest influence:

My high school basketball coach, Craig Conlin, has been an incredibly influential person in my life. He taught me about what it meant to be a part of a team and to sacrifice for others. He also taught me that nobody was going to feel bad for me in life and that I need to view challenges as opportunities for growth and success instead of fearing them. He helped me become a better player, but more important, he helped shape me into a better person, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Post-Dickinson plans:

Attending Boston University’s Wheelock School of Education for an Ed.M. in counseling with a sports psychology concentration.  

About my internship:

I had an internship this past summer at Premier Sport Psychology in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This internship was perfect for me because I could serve in an assisting role to an office of sports psychologists. I got to contribute to various projects for the firm, including statistical analysis reports, leadership/team-building workshops, community outreach events, current research reports, imagery scripts, sport psych content articles and both culture and athlete coping-skills assessments. I learned many of the basic mental skills and counseling techniques that I can transfer over to my master’s program next year at Boston University.

About my research:

My research project this last fall was an experiment assessing the effects of imagery on motor task performance. I wanted to do this study to see how much of an effect a mental skill like imagery can have, but I also wanted to gain firsthand experience in the research process. I learned a lot about the process while completing it, especially the common pitfalls, ways in which it could be improved and how to better organize the study to be more effective in the future.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

To keep an open mind about everybody. Everybody in the world is struggling with something, and withholding judgement until getting to know somebody should be more widely practiced.

Read more Student Snapshots.


Published May 8, 2019