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Psychological and Brain Sciences News

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Recent publications by some of your favorite people (there is more where this comes from . . . )

By Carrie Keating on September 14, 2018

Greene, M.R. & Hansen, B.C. (2018). Shared spatiotemporal category representations in biological and artificial deep neural networks. PLoS Computational Biology.
Link: https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article? id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006327

Cooley, E.,
Brown-Iannuzzi, J. L., Agboh, D. Enjaian, B., Geyer, R., Lue, N. & Wu, S. (2017). The fluid perception of racial identity: The role of friendship groups. Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Link: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550617703171

Martinez, J. A., Johnson, D. N., & Jones, J. A.
(2018) Beyond punishment: the impacts of medical amnesty in a U.S. Residential college context. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 25:3, 248-253.
Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2016.1272099

Summer research projects

By Carrie Keating on September 14, 2018

Professor Seymour’s a-MAZE-ing Summer Research!

Professor Jenessa Seymour’s life-size maze experiment made a media splash this summer. The wooden structure filled the space between Ho and Olin Hall (video). Blindfolded volunteer participants navigated the maze by walking with a device designed to bounce sound of its walls. Participants’ goal was to solve the maze and avoid dead ends by detecting changes in the echoes from the walls. Based on her findings, Dr. Seymour hopes to uncover how we can flexibly adapt to changes in our sensory abilities.

The Bachelor – Zebra Finch Style: And the rose goes to…

For behavioral scientists, birds are a popular model for understanding mating systems as most avian species are monogamous — or nearly so — not unlike humans in many societies. So what attracts mates to one other? Francesca Fernandez ’19 investigated this question in zebra finches over the summer in collaboration with PBSC professors Wan-chun Liu and Carrie Keating. You can read more about her research here.

How different is the drinking culture in college from the drinking culture at work?

Grace Macdonald-Gagnon ’19, Abe Rodriguez ’20, and Wentao Jiang ’21 investigated this question as part of their summer research in Dr. Julia Martinez’ Alcohol, Drugs, and Behavior Lab in Olin Hall. Results from face-to-face interviews with college students and working adults show that although people connect work drinking cultures with casual belonging, people tend to link drinking in college with excess consumption and social exclusion. We hope to continue the line of inquiry with a series of interviews and longitudinal experiments in the coming term.

Fond farewell

By Carrie Keating on September 14, 2018

Visiting Assistant Professor Jenessa Seymour, who was with us for two years, is off to a new job at Mt. Holyoke College. Before departing, Dr. Seymour and students shook up Olin Hall with a study of how humans learn to echolocate – picture blindfolded participants negotiating a human-sized maze.

Visiting Assistant Professor Haiyan Zhang, whose developmental course on play proved popular, has left for a position at SUNY Cortland in their Psychology Department. There, she will teach Educational Psychology, her first love. We are delighted that she will remain close to us in upstate NY.

Another person we will miss: Ben Fetzner, our 2017–18 psychology intern. Ben left Colgate in May for a lab position in NYC where he will study the effects of social media on well-being. We will catch up with Ben soon in a forthcoming blog!

Oh, no! Laur Rivera, our treasured lab manager and EEG tech, will move onwards and upwards to a lab manager position at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Lab (PIRL). Laur will work with Drs. Trish Devine and Will Cox, whose expertise is in intergroup relations. Among other things, Laur will help design and test bias training intervention programs in schools. Congratulations, Laur on joining such a prestigious lab!

image of PBSC staff farewell party

PBSC farewell party

New faces at PBSC

By Carrie Keating on September 14, 2018

Introducing our new developmental psychologist, Professor Lauren Philbrook.

image of Lauren Philbrook

Lauren Philbrook, assistant professor of psychology

If you are stressed and sleepless, Dr. Philbrook has research for you! She studies relationships between sleep and physiological regulation, mental and physical health, and academic outcomes. Stress generated by family conflict, socioeconomic status, and/or race and ethnicity are of special interest. Her research probes how better sleep and physiological regulation benefit children experiencing stress.



image of maggie cusick

Maggie Cusick ’18, intern

Joining us as PBSC Intern for 2018–19 is Maggie Cusick 18. Maggie will be organizing research study prescreening and sign-ups, directing review sessions, working with faculty on research lab projects, and more. All great prep for grad school, which is where she is headed.



image of Shiri Spitz

Shiri Spitz, lab manager


Our new EEG lab manager and technician is Shiri Spitz. Shiri will be working closely with Drs. Hansen and Kelly, but also with student research assistants and others who may pilot work using our amazing EEG labs.


Who is PBSC?

By Carrie Keating on September 14, 2018

Colgate’s Department of Psychology updated itself: We are now Colgate’s Psychological & Brain Sciences department (PBSC). We offer two majors: one in Psychological Science (formerly, “Psychology”), and the other in Neuroscience. Department faculty voted for these changes and received approval in May, 2018. The changes automatically apply to The Colgate Class of 2022 & beyond — current majors/minors have the choice to switch to the new or stick with the old on their transcript. Stay tuned for an e-mail asking for your choice.

Why the changes? The new name better describes what we actually do as a department — we study behavior, brain, and everything in-between. It also reflects how different levels of analysis connect in our contemporary science. The content of each major changes very little (PSYC not at all). The changes to the Neuroscience curriculum begin with the Class of 2022.

Click here for descriptions of the Psychological Science major and minor and the Neuroscience program major.

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Our educational mission is to create a vibrant and supportive intellectual community fostering the exploration of multidisciplinary approaches to psychological science and neuroscience.