Graduate study is grouped into four areas: Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, and Social/Personality Psychology.
There is also cross-cutting and interdisciplinary study available in Health & Well-Being and Quantitative Psychology.
The Behavioral Neuroscience Program is largely focused on mechanisms of cortical processing and plasticity, using animal models. This focus encompasses processes ranging from those underlying sensory perception, to those underlying cognition and high level process, such as language production or learning and memory. The plasticity ranges from the immediate genetic, biochemical and synaptic changes underlying episodic learning, to the slower and longer lasting neural changes underlying cortical processing in the newborn as well as those underlying the declines in abilities that may occur with aging. Current members of the Program study animal models of memory formation, impulse control and hunger/feeding/satiety homeostasis, and disorders including autism, post-traumatic stress and anxiety, fetal alcohol syndrome and obesity.
Graduate students in the Behavioral Neuroscience Program also participate in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Graduate Program, providing interactions with faculty and graduate students who focus primarily on cellular and molecular questions.
Faculty specializing in Behavioral Neuroscience.
The program in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) offers research training and course work in:
- Learning and memory
- Motor control and action
- Speech and language
- Visual and auditory perception
CCN faculty are dedicated to the study of mental processes and their neural substrates. We are interested in understanding how those processes and substrates affect the way we interact with the world.
All of the CCN faculty use behavioral techniques, and most also use cutting-edge computational modeling and/or a variety of neuroscience techniques, including electroencephalography (EEG/ERP) and structural/functional neuroimaging.
We are interested in a variety of populations, including individuals across the lifespan, monolingual and bilingual adults and children, non-human animals, and non-biological actors (AI). Additional topics of interest include healthy and pathological aging, human factors, and brain games. Although most of our research is conducted at UCR, much of it is pursued via collaboration with other investigators around the globe.
Faculty specializing in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience.
Developmental Psychology is a study of human development throughout life. The program in Developmental Psychology at UCR takes a lifespan approach to understand the development of biological, cognitive, emotional, motoric, and social processes across a variety of contexts, including:
Ongoing work in the Developmental Area represents the breadth of the discipline, covering from infancy to older adulthood. Research topics include attention, learning, memory, perceptual-motor development, gene-environment interplay, emotion regulation, motivation and academic achievement, puberty, social and cultural contributions to cognitive development, and risk and resilience.
To uncover patterns and mechanisms of development in both typically and atypically developing individuals, we use various developmental research designs, including cross-sectional, longitudinal, cross-cultural, and quasi/experimental paradigms. We apply a wide range of research methods, such as genetic, physiological, neural, and behavioral assessments, and naturalistic observation.
Faculty and students have access to the advanced research technology such as MRI, EEG, and eye-tracking device. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the research, our faculty and students engage in collaborative projects with faculty within our area and department, researchers from other departments, and scientists around the world.
Faculty specializing in Developmental Psychology.
The program in Social/Personality Psychology is a nationally prominent program of research and graduate education that offers research training and course work in:
- Health & Well-Being
- Race, Ethnicity, & Identity
- Organizational Leadership
- Social Cognition & Social Neuroscience
- Research Methodology & Quantitative Psychology
The social/personality area has particular and unique strengths in personality psychology and health and well-being. In the area of personality, specific topics of research include psychometrics, cultural differences in construal of situations, personality and emotion, personality and culture, personality and leadership, and the relationship between personality and health.
In well-being science and health, faculty are investigating promotion of happiness and strengths, well-being assessment, health communication and promotion, redemptive life stories, emotion regulation, self-serving biases, social support, and coping.
Faculty in the area have audio-visual laboratories and observation rooms and use state-of-the art assessment methods including Electronically-Activated Recorders (i.e., EAR devices), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), physiological measures, experience sampling, and life story interviews, among others.
Outside the laboratory, faculty and student research has been conducted in Riverside city classrooms, in local hospitals and clinics, in other countries, in California businesses, and in assorted community settings. There are also ties to the system-wide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and to UCR’s School of Medicine and Center for Healthy Communities.
Faculty specializing in Social/Personality Psychology.
Interdisciplinary training in Health & Well-Being emphasizes:
- Positive emotions
- Health communication
- Emotion regulation
- Stress and coping
- Personality and disease
- Social support
- Happiness and well-being
- Well-being interventions
- Health promotion
- Healthy development and healthy aging
Basic training is in social and personality psychology or in developmental psychology, with breadth as needed in related fields and in-depth training in specific issues relevant to health and well-being.
Students conduct original psychological research in well-being interventions, human strengths, culture and well-being, technology and well-being, coping and health maintenance, evaluating health care, ethnicity and health, developing health and well-being promotion efforts, or consulting with health care professionals and organizations on thriving and health.
Faculty specializing in Health & Well-Being.
Psychology graduate students in any of the core areas may choose to minor in Quantitative Psychology. The requirements include additional courses and seminars in topical areas (e.g., multivariate statistics, latent variable models, computer programming), and a research project in the student’s area of interest.
See the Graduate Handbook for details.
Faculty specializing in Quantitative Psychology.