Like Duke Ellington’s 1931 jazz standard, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another for a fraction of a second and harmonize, then go back to improvising,... Read more
Hello Alumni and Friends! After four outstanding years of astute and inspiring leadership, Rich Ivry is stepping down as chair and returning to full time teaching and research. Our Department flourished under Rich’s leadership and guidance, and we are all very grateful for his hard work, steadfast... Read more
If you can’t tell a smile from a scowl, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. A new UC Berkeley study shows that sleep deprivation dulls our ability to accurately read facial expressions. This deficit can have serious consequences, such as not noticing that a child is sick or in pain, or that a... Read more
Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new UC Berkeley study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence. Scientists tracked cocaine cravings in more than 70... Read more
New study links a gene variant with smiling and laughter. Researchers at UC Berkeley and Northwestern University have found that a gene involved in the regulation of serotonin makes some of us more prone to spontaneous smiles and bursts of laughter, according to their study just published in the... Read more
When UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner attended the Hollywood premiere of the new Pixar movie Inside Out – which opens Friday in theaters nationwide – he was thrilled to see children running around the purple (not red) carpet yelling, “I’m Fear,” “I’m Sadness” or “I want to be Anger.” Video... Read more
New study shows we can use our sense of smell not just to identify objects, but to navigate. Like homing pigeons, humans have a nose for navigation because our brains are wired to convert smells into spatial information, new research from UC Berkeley shows. While humans may lack the scent-tracking... Read more
On May 5, 2015, the GSI Teaching and Resource Center hosted a reception to honor Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors (OGSIs). From the Department of Psychology award certificates were presented to the six OGSIs, and one from the Graduate School of Eduation. The OGSI Award is in recognition of... Read more

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