Psychology is the scientific study of how and why people think, feel, and behave as they do. Psychology focuses on understanding basic functions such as memory, emotion, visual perception, social interaction, development and learning, and problem solving and creativity, as well as on alterations to these functions in psychopathology, developmental disorders, or neurological disorders. Faculty in our department approach these topics from multiple, converging levels, using assessments of individual behavior, dynamic group interactions, and investigations of the neural processes and computations that give rise to behavior.

Our curriculum embodies the philosophy of Boston College’s liberal arts education, providing students the opportunity for intellectual growth and a deeper understanding of the human condition. Students become critical thinkers as they read cutting-edge research and reflect on topics that are at the core of the human experience: how context influences everything from what we see to how we behave toward others; which aspects of behavior are easily controlled and which proceed without conscious awareness; which aspects of behavior and thought are universal and which are culturally and socially determined; how we learn through our experiences; how brain cells give rise to thought and behavior. 

Students not only learn to critically read and integrate research in psychology and neuroscience but also have ample opportunities to conduct research themselves, working in one of our many world-class labs. In our research laboratories, students have the opportunity to learn how many different methods—from the study of networks of brain cells to the study of eye gaze in infants—can be used to understand the mechanisms that give rise to human behavior

Recent Senior Theses

A small sampling of some of the recent senior theses that our students have conducted: 

  • Examining eye-tracking patterns in a cooperative vs. competitive game
  • Contextual features affect children’s attention to number 
  • Dopaminergic correlates of safety learning in male and female rats
  • The development of psych verbs in 3-6-year-olds: A truth value judgment task
  • Assessing the relationship between resting autonomic nervous system functioning, social anxiety, and emotional autobiographical memory retrieval