Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Our field lies at an intersection of sciences. Courses and research labs investigate all of the interacting functions — cognitive, affective, behavioral, physiological, social, developmental — that drive and define the human experience.
Why Study Cognitive and Behavioral Science?
Many students are drawn to the Cognitive and Behavioral Science (CBSC) major because of its multidisciplinary foundations, rich linkages to other sciences, and applications within diverse career paths. Our department has strong connections with the interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program on campus; CBSC and neuroscience majors work side by side in CBSC Department labs.
Our curriculum emphasizes research training because it provides students with durable skills that benefit any future professional path: critical thinking, teamwork, quantitative skills, data management and analysis, and problem solving.
The W&L CBSC curriculum encourages individualization of the major:
- Join a faculty member’s research team. The team experience provides a close-knit academic home on campus and allows you to spread your wings in a professional research context. Some lab members, especially those who are selected as W&L Summer Research Scholars, become credentialed in research by presenting the lab’s findings at a professional conference and/or earning authorship on a published article.
- Choose a capstone experience that fits your goals. Capstones allow students to synthesize and expand their knowledge base while exploring an avenue for applying it in the real world. Students may complete an independent senior research thesis, an applied science internship, or a community-based research project.
- Explore applications of psychological science through Community-Based Learning (CBL) courses. For instance, tailor-made applied science capstone placements allow students to explore diverse career paths and professional settings (e.g., Blue Ridge Court Services, Woods Creek Montessori School, Western State Hospital, Rockbridge Area Health Center, Thomas Jefferson Coalition for the Homeless). In a recent CBL Spring Term course, W&L students collaborated with members of the Eagle’s Nest Clubhouse, a local psychiatric rehabilitation center, to create a mural on their campus.
Statistics & Research Design
Cognition & Emotion
Psychoactive Drugs & Behavior
The Marijuana Question
Sleep, Health & Society
Meet the FacultyAt W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.
Wythe Whiting Head, Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science; Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Whiting teaches courses in cognition, evolutionary psychology and attention. His lab has been researching how increasing neural noise affects declining cognition in older adults as well as how smart phones affect sleep/attention.
Ryan C. Brindle Assistant Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Ryan Brindle teaches courses related to brain and behavior, statistics, and the impact of mental stress and sleep. His lab researches the connections between mental stress, sleep, and health to improve clinical interventions.
Megan Fulcher Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Dr. Fulcher teaches courses on child development, the development of gender roles, and socioemotional development. Her research focuses on children’s gender role development, toy play and their visions of their future selves.
Dan Johnson Associate Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Johnson’s courses include Psychology Mythbusters and Cognition and Emotion. His lab uses computational models and empirical data to investigate the mechanisms underlying creativity processes like the generation of novel ideas.
Tyler Lorig Ruth Parmly Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Lorig’s courses include Sensation Measurement and Perception and Cognitive Neuroscience. His research involves recording the brain’s electrical activity as subjects detect scents to understand the basis of cognition.
Karla Murdock David G. Elmes Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Among Murdock’s courses are Introduction to Clinical Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology. Her research program examines associations between technology use and indicators of health, well-being and cognitive performance.
Bob Stewart Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Stewart’s courses include Psychoactive Drugs and Behavior and Neuropharmacology. He has researched salty, sweet and bitter taste development as well as the development and plasticity of taste axon termination patterns.
Julie Woodzicka Abigail Grigsby Urquhart Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Woodzicka’s courses include Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination, Social Psychology, Psychology of Humor, and Research Design and Analysis. She studies the effects of disparagement humor (specifically sexist and racist humor) and subtle strategies to confront discrimination.