Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, mind, and brain. We seek to understand how people think and act, both as individuals and in groups.  The department has 18 faculty providing expertise in six subareas of study: cognitive, cultural, developmental, social, psychopathology, and neuroscience.  Features of the major include foundational courses, training in statistics and research methods, a cultural immersion experience, small advanced seminars, and opportunities to conduct original research.



Overview for New and Prospective Majors
Oct. 1st (Mon.), 12:20-1:10 pm, Judd 116
Prof. Matthew Kurtz, department chair, will provide an overview of the major to prospective majors and to review requirements with junior majors. Prof. Kurtz will be available before and after the meeting to sign forms (e.g., study abroad, transfer credits).
Meet our peer advisor, Amabel Jeon '19.
Helpful handouts:
Psychology Majors Manual, Class of 2019 and beyond
Email received after submitting major declaration request
Pizza will be provided.

Future Psychology Majors Meeting:
Nov. 5 - Study Abroad & Community Service Opportunities
Feb. 11 - Graduate School Clinical Psychology
April 8 - Overview for Prospective First-Year Majors


“Adolescent Challenges: The Role of Sleep Timing”
Mary A. Carskadon
Brown University
Oct. 4 (Thurs.), 12:15 - 1:10 pm, Judd Hall 116

The critical role that sleep plays in adolescence is increasingly well documented for a range of areas including brain maturation, learning, emotional wellbeing and physical health. Insufficient sleep, daytime sleepiness, and circadian misalignment in adolescence have been variously shown to contribute to reduced quality of life and productivity, greater risk of depression and obesity, higher rates of drowsy driving crashes and illness, and may also increase incidents of anti-social behaviors, aggression, substance abuse, and self-harm. This presentation will provide an overview of findings and an update of key evidence of the important role of sleep in adolescent development; it will also argue that the ‘perfect storm’ metaphor applies to sleep patterns of adolescents in the sense that developmental trajectories of biopsychosocial factors conspire to limit the quantity of sleep for many adolescents who live in industrial societies in the 21st century.

Mary A. Carskadon's research includes examining associations of sleep regulatory mechanisms to sleep/wake behavior of children, adolescents, and young adults. Her findings have raised public health issues regarding consequences of insufficient sleep in adolescents and concerns about early school starting times. Current research examines genetic contributions to these processes and the association of chronic sleep restriction with development of depressed mood.


The goal of the department peer advisor (DPA) program is to provide additional peer advising support to pre-major students and to answer questions about specific requirements for the psychology department. Click on the link above for more information.


“The Psychology of Heterosexism”
Mark Hoffarth
New York University
Nov. 29 (Thurs.), 12:15 - 1:10 pm, Judd Hall 116

Sexual minorities continue to face prejudice and discrimination. What social psychological factors promote and maintain heterosexism? How are sexual minorities impacted by heterosexism, and how do sexual minorities respond to heterosexism? I discuss how people may be motivated to justify the current social system because of the psychological needs that are fulfilled by maintaining a positive view of oneself and maintaining the perception that society is fair. As a consequence of these motivations, both heterosexuals and sexual minorities can be motivated to maintain the status quo in ways that promote heterosexism and lead to resistance to social changes and reduced activism. Specifically, I discuss the potential roles of religious beliefs, political ideologies, stereotypes, and social identities in influencing whether people oppose or support heterosexism. 

Mark Hoffarth is a visiting postdoctoral scholar at New York University with Dr. John Jost. He is interested in political psychology, intergroup relations, and sexuality. He is currently completing an NSF-funded postdoc examining when and why sexual minorities either challenge or justify heterosexist social systems, including factors such as political ideology, religiosity, system-justifying stereotypes, sexual identity, and well-being.