Biology of Brain and Behavior
The Biological Psychology area encompasses the subdisciplines of Comparative Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience and Animal Behavior.
Our experimental methods range from behavioral tasks, molecular genetic and neuroimaging methods, cellular recording, immunohistochemistry, behavioral pharmacology, hormone and immune assessment. Conceptual issues, such as experimental design, and the relevance to human clinical and social conditions are emphasized.
Topic areas investigated by our faculty include psychoneuroimmunology, hormone-behavior relationships, neurobiology of stress and arousal, psychopharmacology, developmental psychobiology, 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 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 training in specific research methods and techniques needed to assess brain and peripheral physiological mechanisms. 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. Many primate projects also take advantage of the neuroimaging resources at UW and benefit from the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center with its large rhesus monkey and marmoset colonies. Within the Brogden Psychology Building, research programs utilize many other small animal species.
Our program continues to grow and incorporate new perspectives. Our students and faculty interact and collaborate with the Departments of Anthropology, Comparative Biosciences, Psychiatry, 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.