Students in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences learn to apply psychological theories and methods to solve urgent problems facing individuals, communities and society. Our faculty members are active in mentoring student research, and several have been recognized for their prolific contributions to their fields of study.

Surrounded by the esteemed research and health centers that Washington, D.C., and GW have to offer, psychology students integrate practical experience and research into their coursework, preparing them for a wide range of successful careers.



The mission of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the George Washington University is to contribute to psychological knowledge and educate undergraduate and graduate students. Our aim is to provide a solid foundation in scientific approaches, psychological theory and education and training in both basic and applied aspects of psychological and brain sciences. Central to this mission is a scientist/practitioner model that emphasizes the development of proficiency in theoretically grounded research and quantitative and qualitative methods to: (1) elucidate cognitive, neural and affective mechanisms as well as social and structural factors driving behavior; (2) advance empirical knowledge about mental and physical health and well-being; and (3) reduce health and social inequities. Our location in Washington, D.C., is ideally suited to our mission.

Our proximity to many of the nation’s leading research institutes and organizations — such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, as well as numerous other nonprofits, think tanks, policy organizations and applied research units — creates opportunities for students to enhance their academic and professional development and training beyond the classroom.



Through our teaching, research and service, we aim to make the world a healthy and equitable place, beginning with our own community. We aim to foster an academic climate that is diverse, equitable and inclusive for all students, faculty and staff. Our goal is to seamlessly infuse these values throughout all aspects of our department, including but not limited to student admissions; faculty hiring, tenure and promotion; academic program curricula and teaching; student and faculty scholarship and research; and department-sponsored programs and events.


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Psychology News

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Students Step Up During COVID Crisis

Cognitive neuroscience major Sophie Gengler, BS '23, has volunteered at her local food bank every week since the GW campus closed in March due to COVID-19. With demand for food skyrocketing, more...

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Q & A: Talking to Kids about COVID-19

Professor of Psychology Cynthia Rohrbeck shared some tips on the best approaches to discussing the global pandemic with children

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Matchmaker, Matchmaker: An Alumna’s Labor of Love

As a professional matchmaker, psychology major Michelle Jacoby, BA ’87, uses her people skills to help D.C singles look for love in all the right places.

Dr. Dwight Kravitz and Dr. Chunyue Teng (Ph.D. '19) publish research on perception and working memory

In GW Today, Dr. Dwight Kravitz discusses recent Ph.D. cognitive neuroscience graduate, Dr. Chunyue Teng's research.  She was first author on the publication in Nature Human Behavior. 

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What You Know is What You See

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Sarah Shomstein’s recent research examines how the brain processes the size of objects. The findings could aid in predicting performance for jobs involving visual...

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Can Cognitive Science Help with Stroke Recovery?

How do the cognitive sciences help with brain injury? Watch the short overview video of some of the work done in the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

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Can Cognitive Science Help Detect Cancer?

How do the cognitive sciences save women’s lives? Watch this short video to learn more about breast cancer detection and how cognitive science helps inform how radiologists can best perform their...

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The Mothers and Babies Course

The Mothers and Babies Course empowers mothers in Tanzania and Kenya to identify and manage stressors. Studies have shown that adult depression is a major public health concern in the developing...

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Counselor, Entrepreneur and Reality TV Host

Isaiah Pickens, BA ’05, once volunteered as a counselor for young people in New York’s Rikers Island prison. The experience stayed with the former psychology major, who is now a well-known counselor...

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Determining the Effects of Stressors on Black Men

Applied Social Psychology Professor Lisa Bowleg’s interdisciplinary research team brings together doctoral students from GW and other major research universities to focus on improving mental and...