Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences - Colgate University Skip Navigation

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative
Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative
A recent $15 million commitment establishes the Robert Hung Ngai Ho Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative on campus. ABOUT THE INITIATIVE AND COMMITMENT
Researching Race and Prejudice
Researching Race and Prejudice
A shift in the way Stephanie Wu ’18 experienced her racial identity prompted her to research racial perception and prejudice.. READ MORE about Wu's research
Institutional Review Board
Institutional Review Board
Get more information concerning Colgate's policy on the use of human participants in research. READ MORE about the institutional review board
The Psychological and Brain Sciences Department applies scientific methods to investigate what makes humans and animals “tick.”

About Psychological and Brain Sciences

Here are examples of the questions asked in the department:
  • How plastic is the nervous system; how does it develop and what experiences change it?
  • Does gesture train the brain for language learning and intercultural understanding?
  • How can we conquer biases and prejudices we don’t know we have?
  • How can we miss seeing what is right in front of us?
  • Are relationships literally good for the heart?
  • Is the clock of development preordained by genes?
  • Why are some people resilient to misfortune and others vulnerable to life’s stresses and bad habits?
  • What pleasures our brains as we behold great art?
Students and professors explore provocative and important questions like these at multiple levels-of-analysis; from brain to behavior and everything in between. Join the effort to deploy a broad array of empirical methodologies and tools to reach new understandings of human and animal nature.

About the department's academic program

Majors and Minors

Students may pursue a major or a minor in one of two related areas of study: psychological science or neuroscience:
Psychological Science
Embrace scientific approaches to understanding sensation, motivation, perception, cognition, language, development, personality, psychological disorders, and social behavior. As a collective, psychological scientists study diverse species, individual and group processes, and cultures. They deploy techniques that capture processes at the level of the gene, the cell, the brain and brain systems, the individual organism, and the group.
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is the home of Colgate’s interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, which is also affiliated with Colgate's Center for Language and Brain. Neuroscience is the scientific study of the anatomy and physiology of neurons and neural circuits. Colgate's Neuroscience Program is one of the first two established at undergraduate institutions in the United States, and has a particularly strong focus on brain-behavior relationships. The interdisciplinary faculty members have appointments in psychological and brain sciences and in the Department of Biology. Majors take courses in neuroscience and psychological science, and also in biology, chemistry, computer science, math, philosophy, and physics.

Major in neuroscience
The department emphasizes research as an undergraduate, offering world-class faculty and facilities, the challenge to conduct and write a senior thesis, and the ability to explore personal interests through credit-bearing, self-designed independent study.

Success after Colgate

Colgate alumni from the psychological and brain sciences department pursue a wide variety of careers and graduate study. READ MORE: Success after Colgate

Department News

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Department Contacts

Chair: Caroline Keating
Administrative assistant: Debra Linneman (
Office: Olin Hall
Phone: 315-228-7354