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.

  • Sabrina Grondhuis

    Sabrina N. Grondhuis

    Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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    B.A., University of California; M.A., The Ohio State University; Ph.D. 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.

  • Kathryn Hahn

    Kathryn S. Hahn

    Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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    B.A., University of Tennessee; M.A., Ph.D., University of Arkansas

    Kathryn S. Hahn, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at Millsaps College. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and earned in M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She regularly teaches applied courses such as Abnormal, Social, Test and Measurements, Personality, Clinical Psychology, and History and Systems in addition to enjoying even more specialized courses such Worry/Anxiety-Related Disorders and Clinical Reasoning (Science vs Pseudoscience).

    Hahn's clinical specialty and teaching focus on the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral intersect of psychopathology. She has authored several articles and professional presentations related to the role of information processing biases and emotional dysregulation in the development and maintenance of anxiety and depression. She enjoys inspiring and guiding student interest in both the science and application of psychology.

  • Elizabeth A. Krusemark

    Elizabeth A. Krusemark

    Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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    B.S., B.S.W., M.S., Ph.D., University of Georgia

  • Melissa Lea

    Melissa A. Lea

    Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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    B.S., University of Michigan; M.A., Ph.D., Miami University

    Dr. Melissa Lea is an associate professor of psychology and the director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Studies program at Millsaps College. She earned her B.S. in cognitive science from the University of Michigan—Flint in 1999 and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology/science from Miami University in 2005. Her areas of expertise are in face perception and categorization. While at Millsaps Lea has branched out and has been studying food perception and food behaviors that lead to eating disorders, as well as how social roles influence team cohesion in athletics.

  • A. Kurt Thaw

    A. Kurt Thaw

    Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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    B.S., Georgia Southern University; M.S., Ph.D., 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."