Psychology is a behavioral science that focuses on understanding developmental, cognitive, social, and mental health issues that are a natural part of the human experience. Through the appreciation of human diversity and embracing the proper application of the scientific method, you will hone your critical thinking skills to explore concepts both within and beyond the domains of psychology. From childhood through old age, normal to abnormal development, and even looking at the connections between the brain and human behavior, psychology helps us to further our knowledge of ourselves and the world around us.

Neuroscience and cognitive studies is an interdisciplinary major that incorporates psychology, biology, philosophy, and potentially several other fields. Neuroscience and cognitive studies focuses on the structure and function of the central nervous system. Much of our curriculum is devoted to understanding the development of the brain, the activity of neurons and glia, and how our central nervous system controls so many of our behaviors and cognitions. From physiological research into neurotransmitter activity, to psychological research into language acquisition and memory, to philosophical research into the nature of consciousness and matter, questions regarding the brain are countless and pose one of the most exciting areas of academic research.

  • Nicolas Brunet

    Nicolas Brunet

    Assistant Professor of Neuroscience



    BS, Universidad de Las Americas; PhD, Florida State University

    Dr. Brunet is an assistant professor of Neuroscience. He earned a BA in Physics from the Universidad de Las Americas in Puebla (Mexico) and a PhD in Molecular Biophysics from the Florida State University. Before joining the Millsaps community he held research positions at several R1 institutions: the University of Washington (Seattle WA), the Donders Institute for Brian, Cognition and Behavior (The Netherlands), the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh PA), and most recently, the State University of New York (Brooklyn, NY) where he was the recipient of the Technology Accelerator Fund 2018.

    He employed electrophysiology and various neuroimaging techniques to visualize neurological function not only in healthy human individuals, but also in patients and non-human primates. The results of his research have been published in high impact journals such as “Neuron”, “Cerebral Cortex,” “Neuroimage,” “Trends in Cognitive Neuroscience,” “Nature Communications,” and “PNAS.”

    Dr. Brunet will continue his quest to uncover the cognitive mechanisms of visual perception at Millsaps and is currently leading a research project that involves undergraduate students, aimed to learn more about how the brain processes emotional faces. A second project which he hopes to start to in 2019 will focus on the potential to use eye movements as a biomarker to diagnose mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.

  • Joy H. Clark

    Joy H. Clark

    Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience



    BA, MA, PhD, Texas Tech University

    Dr. Joy H. Clark is an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Millsaps College. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Texas Tech University in 2009 after completing a predoctoral internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology and is board certified in clinical neuropsychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

    Dr. Clark primarily teaches applied courses, including abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, and neuropsychology. She brings her clinical experiences into the classroom to illustrate concepts and provide students with real-world examples. She is passionate about engaging students in critical thinking and scientific debate about human behavior.

    As a neuropsychologist, Dr. Clark’s research centers around the assessment of cognitive and behavioral impairments in patients with neurological disease. She is particularly interested in how cognitive abilities and cultural factors contribute to health behaviors and prevention of disease. Her work also encompasses cross-cultural applications of neuropsychological assessment tools.

  • Sabrina Grondhuis

    Sabrina N. Grondhuis

    Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience



    BA, University of California; MA, The Ohio State University; PhD Candidate, The Ohio State University

    Sabrina Grondhuis came to Millsaps College in the fall of 2013. Grondhuis brings a developmental approach to the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience where she teaches a variety of courses including Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Theories of Personality, and Adulthood & Aging. In the future, she also hopes to offer courses that mirror her research focus on persons with developmental disabilities and issues in intelligence.

    Grondhuis is committed to the ideals of a liberal arts education by taking psychology out of the classroom and helping her students incorporate the concepts discussed into everyday situations. Class discussions often encourage students to come up with their own "real world" examples to help internalize the material and make the topics more salient than only reading a textbook or taking notes during a lecture.

    Grondhuis also aims to correct underlying misconceptions about psychology as a science and help students understand that it is a discipline that is based on research as well as theoretical foundations. During lecture, she presents classic studies that were influential in the field and pairs them with more current research to juxtapose the differences in methodology and interpretation throughout the relatively short history of psychology.

  • Elizabeth A. Krusemark

    Elizabeth A. Krusemark

    Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience



    BS, BSW, MS, PhD, University of Georgia

    Dr. Elizabeth (Lisa) Krusemark is a visiting assistant professor of neuroscience in the Psychology and Neuroscience Department at Millsaps College. She earned her PhD in Social Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Georgia in 2009. Following her graduate training, Dr. Krusemark received postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin and the MIND Research Network in the areas of affective neuroscience and clinical psychology.

    Dr. Krusemark is currently teaching courses in Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Human Emotions/Affective Neuroscience. She enjoys bringing her own enthusiasm for neuroscience and psychology to the classroom to garner student interest in the field. She also enjoys mentoring students during their undergraduate study and career planning as well as training students in empirical research methods and design.

    Her research interests focus on better understanding mechanisms of attention processing in personality pathology. Dr. Krusemark primarily uses electroencephalography (EEG) and cognitive tasks to address these questions. She has published several empirical articles and professional presentations in the areas of narcissism, psychopathy and attention processing as well as anxiety and emotion processing. She looks forward to guiding students in conducting their own research as well as collaborating with students on ongoing research projects.

  • A. Kurt Thaw

    A. Kurt Thaw

    Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience



    BS, Georgia Southern University; MS, PhD, Florida State University

    "As someone trained as a behavioral neuroscientist, I often am asked why I teach in a Psychology Department.

    "The answer to that question is straightforward: The connection between our brain and our behavior is something that can be assessed in a variety of ways. Having previously worked in both physiological research facilities as well as behavioral research programs my preference is to examine behaviors directly. Psychology focuses on behavior so it is a natural fit for my interests.

    "Working within the area of psychology we can address specific behavioral questions such as: 'What leads to hunger and satiation? Are drug addictions just bad choices or are these behaviors governed by neurological changes? How does learning occur and how can you measure it? Are the brains of men and women different with respect to how they respond to sex?'

    "My classes focus on measurable behaviors and the underlying brain areas that regulate and modify such behaviors. By looking at both the neural substrates as well as accompanying overt behavior, students can make the direct connection between what they do and how the brain is controlling it all. Our students end up in a variety of professions (physicians, clinical psychologists, physical therapists, neuroscientists, etc) and having an understanding of how the body and brain work together is an integral part of their education and servers them well in any field of study they pursue."