Psychological and Brain Sciences

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Psychological and Brain Sciences

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The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is committed to excellence in research and education. The 28 faculty, 70 graduate students, and many of the approximately 2000 undergraduate majors carry out leading edge research in these four areas: cognition, perception, and cognitive neuroscience (CPCN), developmental and evolutionary psychology (DEVO), neuroscience and behavior (N&B), and social psychology (Social).  The associated Brain Imaging Center, Center for Evolutionary Psychology, Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior, and Sage Center for the Study of the Mind contribute to the stimulating intellectual environment of the Department.

The department offers community and campus members the opportunity to contribute to cutting edge on-going research as research participants.  Click here to participate in the Psychology subject pool for course credit or PAY.

Highlighted below is research representing the four areas in the department. 

In the CPCN area, Barry Giesbrecht's research is aimed at understanding the brain mechanisms underlying attention. In current work he and his colleagues are using computational algorithms applied to measures of neural activity to predict the successes and failures of attention when, and even before, they occur.

In the DEVO area, Jim Roney investigates the role of sex hormones in human mating psychology. One line of research has demonstrated that men exhibit rapid elevations in testosterone and cortisol concentrations after social interactions with young women, which is the same basic pattern exhibited by most nonhuman vertebrate males after exposure to potential mates.

In the N&B area, Karen Szumlinski's research focuses on the neurobiological bases of mental disease, including drug/alcohol addiction, psychosis and affective disorders.  Current studies employ a combination of neurochemical, genetic, and pharmacological approaches to determine the role that excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate plays in regulating brain function and behavior in animal models of mental disease.

In the Social area, Heejung Kim studies how people from different cultures (e.g. European and Asian) vary in the ways in which they express and communicate their thoughts, feelings and needs and, in turn, how individuals' psychological processes are affected by engaging in various acts of expression. 

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences offers BA degrees in Psychology and BS degrees in Bio-Psychology, as well as Ph.D. degrees in Psychology.