A native of Long Island, Dr. Vitale is a 1996 Phi Beta Kappa alumna of Pomona (CA) College, having earned a BA degree in psychology. She received her MS (1999) and PhD (2002) degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation research focused on the cognitive variables that may mediate the relation between psychopathy and violence, a program of research that she has continued while at Hampden-Sydney. She is an author of several articles on attention processing in criminal offenders and her work has appeared in such journals as the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Neuropsychology, Aggressive Behavior, Criminal Justice and Behavior, and Cognitive Psychotherapy. In addition, she has co-authored multiple chapters on psychopathy and criminal behavior, and presented her work at several national conferences.
At Hampden-Sydney, she is responsible for teaching Psychology as a Social Science, Personality, Laboratory Principles in Personality, Abnormal Psychology, Social Psychology, Sport Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Psychology and Law . With the rest of the departmental faculty she is a co-instructor in the Senior Seminar in Psychology. Finally, she supervises student research projects with the other members of the psychology faculty.
Dr. Vitale is also the Director of the Honors Program and chairs the Honors Council at Hampden-Sydney.