Psychology

2014-15 Tuition

$29,500

Application deadlines

Fall, Dec 15

Requirements summary

Degrees

  • Ph.D.

Subjects

  • Psychology (Ph.D.)

Major concentrations

  • behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience
  • perception, cognition and development
  • social and personality psychology

Research facilities include: special rooms for research in problems of perception and cognition; a social-psychology laboratory equipped for experimental and observational studies; electrophysiological, histological, and chemical laboratories; surgery facilities; facilities for the maintenance and behavioral study of vertebrate and invertebrate laboratory animals; darkrooms and shops; an audiovisual studio equipped for the study of teaching; laboratory computers and interacting terminals with the capacity to control equipment in experiments and to do online processing and complex data analyses; and other specialized facilities, both on campus and at various off-campus locations.

Students develop an independent program of study in consultation with their Special Committee. The three primary members of the Special Committee must be chosen by the end of the first year; students are encouraged to select at least one member (not the chairperson) from a field other than psychology. The Director of Graduate Studies appoints a fourth member, whose function is to ensure that the student obtains adequate breadth of training.

The Special Committee oversees requirements that are established by the field. Current requirements include a first-year review and annual meetings of the Special Committee to review the student's progress; a research paper completed by the end of the first year and an oral report of the research presented to a meeting of students and faculty members; a one-year course in statistics and experimental design; at least ten hours a week of supervised teaching experience for at least two semesters; the Admission to Candidacy examination, which should be taken by the end of the third year (a Graduate School requirement); a written dissertation proposal, which must be accepted at a meeting of the Special Committee called for that purpose; and the doctoral dissertation itself with a final examination on the dissertation (Graduate School requirements).

Application:
Only applicants seeking the Ph.D. degree are accepted. Applicants must submit GRE general test scores in addition to transcripts of the undergraduate record, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement of interests. Applicants are not required to submit scores on the GRE subject test in psychology, or to have had an undergraduate major in psychology. Prior research experience is highly desirable; applicants may submit research reports or work. The closing date for applications is December 15. Persons whose primary interests lie in clinical, counseling, industrial, or school psychology should not apply.

Elizabeth Adkins-Regan -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: hormonal, neuroendocrine and behavioral mechanisms responsible for the development and expression of animal social behavior, especially reproductive behavior; physiological and comparative psychology
Andrew Bass -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: hormonal influences on sex differences in physiologically identified neurons; temporal and spectral coding of acoustic communication signals by the nervous system
Sandra Bem -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: social construction of gender and sexuality; clinical psychology and psychpathology
Charles Brainerd -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: cognitive development; social and personality development; cognitive neuroscience; memory and cognitive development; mathematical modeling; psychology and law
Marianella Casasola -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: infant cognitive development and early word learning; interaction between cognition and early language learning
Stephen Ceci -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: theories of intelligence; cognitive development; children and the law; children's testimonial competence
Morten Christiansen -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: language of acquisition and processing; neural network models of language and statistical learning; neurophysiological (ERP) measures of statistical learning; language evolution
Thomas Cleland -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: olfactory perception as a complex system; coordinating behavioral; physiological, pharmacological, and computational studies of sensory sampling; learning and memory; biological neural networks
James Cutting -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: perception of motion, depth and layout; event perception; perception of cinema and pictures; structural and functional analyses or perceptual stimuli
Timothy Devoogd -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: neural basis of female bird song discrimination; interplay between the hippocamus and other brain areas in spatial memory; behavior and brain evolution
David Dunning -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: accuracy and illusion in human judgment; how people's perceptions of themselves and their surroundings differ from an objectively defineable reality; accuracy and error in eyewitness testimony
Shimon Edelman -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: human and machine cognition; visual recognition; natural language processing
Melissa Ferguson -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: automatic attitudes; the interface of affect, knowledge accessibility and motivation; social hypothesis testing and decision-making
David Field -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: theories and models of sensory coding and visual processing; visual perception; relations between the structure of the natural environment and the representation of that environment by sensory systems
Barbara Finlay -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: structure and function of the vertebrate nervous system, particularly in the visual system and the cerebral cortex
Thomas Gilovich -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: everyday judgment and decision making; critical thinking and belief; egocentrism, optimism, pessimism, satisfaction and regret; behavioral economics; gambling
Michael Goldstein -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: human experimental psychology
Bruce Halpern -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; perception, cognition and development; Research interests: human olfaction; human retronasal olfaction; human taste; effects of aging on human smell and taste
Tove Hammer -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: work motivation; job attitudes; work performance; worker participation in management; employee stock ownership; leadership; organizational effectiveness; trade union effectiveness and leadership
Jeffrey Hancock -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: human communication and language use
Cynthia Hazan -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: development and function of emotional bonds between adult sexual/romantic partners; human mating from an attachment theory and evolutionary perspective
Robert Johnston -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: animal behavior and mechanisms of social behavior; olfactory communication, especially in mammals; social recognition and memory; sense of smell and the neural and hormonal mechanisms of behavior
Barbara Koslowski -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: cognitive development; scientific reasoning; conceptual development; problem solving and reasoning
Carol Krumhansl -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: human perception and cognition; cognitive processes in music perception and memory, application of mathematical models to psychological data; multidimensional scaling and clustering
Tamar Kushnir -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: perception, cognition and development
David Levitsky -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: effects of nutrition on behavior; control of food intake and body weight; obesity; nutrition and health
Christiane Linster -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: neural basis of sensory information processing
Barbara Lust -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: language and mind, especially first language acquisition; linguistic theory of Universal Grammar; cognitive development
Alexander Ophir -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: Behavioral, Evolutionary Neuroscience
David Pizarro -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: moral judgment; moral intuitions (especially concerning moral responsibility, and the permissibility or impermissibility of certain acts); biases that affect moral judgment
Rajeev Raizada -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: perception, cognition and development
Dennis Regan -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: experimental social psychology, especially causal attribution and interpersonal influence; evolutionary theory and social behavior
Valerie Reyna -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: cognitive development; social and personality development; memory; judgment; and decision making
Ritch Savin-Williams -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; social and personality psychology; Research interests: the development of same-sex attractions, behaviors and identities; gay, lesbian and bisexual youth; gender nonconformity; clinical psychology; personality and social development during adolescence
Harry Segal -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: personality and social development
David Smith -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: learning and memory; context processing; episodic memory; spatial navigation; attention
R. Nathan Spreng -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests:
Robert J. Sternberg (Minor Member) -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests:
Barbara Strupp -- Concentrations: behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; Research interests: determining the nature and underlying neural basis of developmental cognitive disorders; prenatal cocaine exposure; early lead exposure; transgenic models of developmental disorders
Khena Swallow -- Concentrations: perception, cognition and development; Research interests: Perception, Cognition and Development
Melissa R. Warden -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests:
Vivian Zayas -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests: social and personality psychology
Emily Zitek (Minor Member) -- Concentrations: social and personality psychology; Research interests:

Overview
In the course of studying for and completing a PhD in the field of Psychology, students will work toward mastering a broad understanding of causes of behavior, with a particular emphasis within at least one of our three areas of study: Social and Personality (S&P), Perception, Cognition and Development (PCD), and Behavioral and Evolutionary Neuroscience (BEN). Our faculty members have interests that go from influences on behavior in a social context, to neural mechanisms of learning, to evolution of brain capacities for particular behaviors. The major goals of our graduate program are for our students to appreciate the questions and approaches of those in the department outside their specific interests, and for them to become experts in their own chosen domain. We provide a variety of means for students to achieve these goals, from area and department research discussion and speakers, to repeated required presentations on their own research.


Each student’s course of study is determined in consultation with his or her committee, to remedy gaps in academic background, to determine a study focus and to gain needed knowledge for pursuing that focus. This is typical of many graduate programs at Cornell. Within this tailored and flexible format, though, all our students are expected to attain excellence in qualities related to excellence in research inquiry. These include 1) self-directed learning and mastery of the appropriate literature in the student’s subfield; 2) integration of the current state of knowledge to formulate contemporary and important research questions; 3) learning relevant data collection skills; 4) acquisition of appropriate statistical skills to design rigorous experiments and derive strong conclusions using careful analysis; and 5) mastering effective communication skills in written, spoken and presentation contexts.

Learn more about assessment in the graduate field of psychology.