Behavior and the Brain

Put simply, if we understand mind, brain, and behavior relationships we understand the human condition.

In early January 2012, the College of Arts and Sciences will open the new Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Brain Imaging (CCBBI), a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research facility, housed in the Department of Psychology, dedicated to the study of brain mechanisms underlying individuals’ cognitive capacity and subjective well-being, as well as dysfunctions of the brain mechanism in normal aging and mental disorders.

“Brain imaging shows us the critical building blocks of the mind and allows us to explore the brain processes underlying human behavior,” says Zhong-Lin Lu, CCBBI director, professor of psychology and Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

What are the key neural pathways responsible for debilitating mental illnesses and developmental disorders, learning and memory, language comprehension, visual and auditory processing, aging, personality and emotion, self control and risky behavior? These are just a few of the questions our CCBBI researchers will be investigating.

With a new Siemens 3T Trio Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) system, CCBBI researchers can go beyond merely asking the questions to literally seeing the answers.

Wil Cunningham, CCBBI’s associate director and associate professor of psychology, believes that psychology is at the very beginning of a revolution. “The brain is not static. It is constantly changing, rewiring, reconnecting to deal with the challenges of everyday life. Advancing our understanding of the relationship between mind and behavior truly will allow for transformative discoveries.”