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Biology of Brain and Behavior

The Biological Psychology area encompasses the subdisciplines of Behavioral Neuroscience and Animal Behavior. Students sponsored by faculty in this area are trained in theory and methods required for understanding the biological bases of behavior. The doctoral track in behavioral neuroscience provides research training in specific methods and techniques needed to assess brain and peripheral physiological mechanisms. Topic areas investigated by our faculty include psychoneuroimmunology, hormone-behavior relationships, neurobiology of stress and arousal, sensory processes, and the neural organization of the cerebral cortex. Age-related changes during development, and the impact of stress on health and behavior are also important foci. Students learn modern surgical, neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, neuroimaging (PET, MRI), immunohistochemical, pharmacological, and behavioral techniques. Training in hormone and immune assays, or cellular recording, are also provided when required for the student's research. Conceptual issues, such as experimental design, and the relevance to human clinical and social conditions are emphasized.

Our students can also pursue training in theories and methodologies involved in the study of animal behavior. Coursework and research provide a unique interdisciplinary experience with a strong emphasis on evolutionary/ecological principles and proximate mechanisms, including communication and the role of hormones and social relationships underlying the expression of behavior. Our goal is to train outstanding students with a special interest in integrating knowledge across traditional discipline lines.

Many facilities are available for graduate training, including the department's Harlow Primate Laboratory, internationally known for its studies of primate development and learning, and the Callitrichid Behavior Laboratory, renowned for research on communication, reproduction, and conservation. In addition, students benefit from the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center with its large rhesus monkey and marmoset colonies. Within the Brogden Psychology Building, research programs utilize many other small animal species. Well-equipped facilities are available, including surgical suites, histology, electrophysiology, endocrine, and immunology laboratories.

Our program continues to grow and incorporate new perspectives. Our most recent addition, Anthony Auger, provides top-notch approaches toward the functions of receptors in the development of sex differences in behavior. In addition, three professors from the Department of Psychiatry--Ruth Benca, Ned Kalin and Anne Kelley--participate in our graduate program. Our students and faculty interact and collaborate with the Departments of Anthropology, Comparative Biosciences, Wildlife Ecology, and Zoology, as well as the Neurosciences Training Program, Institute on Aging, and Center for Excellence in Women's Health Research. The University of Wisconsin provides a diverse and stimulating academic environment for training in Biological Psychology.

Faculty: Professors Auger, Berridge, Coe, Keesey (emeritus), Marler, Postle, Rogers, Snowdon.

Affiliated Faculty:

Psychology: Professors Davidson, Jenison, Kluender, Pollak.
Anthropology: Professor Strier

Psychiatry: Professors Benca, Kalin, Kelley, Whalen

Zoology: Professors Baylis, Garland, Gamme and Moermond

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 University of Wisconsin- Madison: Psychology Department
Brogden Hall, 1202 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706-1969
Office: (608) 262-0512 or (608) 262-1041
Fax: (608) 262-4029

  Last Modified: January 23, 2008 12:14 PM
Copyright 2006 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.