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Research: Biological Psychology

Faculty members in the Biological Psychology Group investigate proximate and ultimate mechanisms that control behavior in humans and other animals. We seek to understand the evolutionary processes underlying behavior, the adaptive functions served by behavior, how behavior develops within the context of biological systems, and the mechanisms by which the nervous system regulates behavior.

Research interests of faculty members encompass numerous types of behavior such as feeding and foraging, aggression and defense, learning and motivation, memory, communication, play, stress, and exercise. Faculty members address research questions from a range of theoretical perspectives including comparative psychology, behavioral ecology, ethology, health psychology, behaviorism, behavioral neuroendocrinology, and cognitive and behavioral neuroscience. Corresponding to our range of interests, laboratories in the Biological Psychology Group employ numerous methodological approaches including hormone assays, pharmacological approaches (microinjections), cellular and molecular approaches (immunohistochemistry, western blots), acoustic analysis, brain imaging (EEG), naturalistic observation, and behavioral testing. Faculty and students also work closely with others on campus and in the Knoxville community interested in the biological basis of behavior including colleagues in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Biochemistry Cellular and Molecular Biology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Forestry Wildlife and Fisheries Department, Cole Neuroscience Center at the UT Medical Center, Knoxville Zoological Park, and Neuroscience Network of East Tennessee (NeuroNET).    

To learn more about us, we encourage you to visit the web pages of our core faculty and their respective laboratories. Feel free to contact individual faculty members about undergraduate research opportunities and graduate training.

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