photo of open book a head scanning device and a mug of coffee on a desktop


The psychology program at Reed focuses on the science of behavior from multiple perspectives, informed by comparative, cognitive, developmental, health, learning, neuroscience, psychopathology, and social models. Using both human and non-human animal models, Reed’s program provides students with a broad range of experiences in the study of psychology.

The faculty adopts an empirical point of view: through research, students gain the information necessary to address psychological questions. Psychological, biological, and social factors are considered in the context of research findings and current theories of decision-making, motivation, learning, thinking, language, perception, human development, health, and pathology. Reed’s psychology program also contributes to the interdisciplinary neuroscience major, which deals with the intersection of psychology and biology within the brain and nervous system.

Students are integral research partners in the department; they work on both faculty research projects and independent projects of their own design. Psychology students can obtain funding from the college to support independent research projects under faculty supervision. Students in the department regularly present their research at national scientific meetings and publish the results of their research in professional journals jointly with faculty members.

“The professors are approachable and love talking with students during office hours. I’ve had positive experiences building relationships with them in my classes and participating in research in the lab. You really get the sense that they care about you as an individual, not just as a student.” CLARISSA MADAR ’23

Professor profile

Professor Kristen G. Anderson

Addictions, Gender & Health
photo of Professor Kristen G. Anderson

Professor Kristen G. Anderson joined the Reed faculty in 2007 as a professor of psychology. Her research focuses on how social context influences alcohol and other drug decision-making in adolescents and young adults, using novel audio and video simulations. She also conducts research on how gender influences health-related behavior with a focus on people who identify as women and people from gender-minoritized groups.

Kris actively involves students in the learning process, both in the classroom and the laboratory, to develop important skills in writing, research, and critical thinking. In her courses, students are engaged with research design and implementation that involves the collection and analysis of new data.

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Select Courses

  • Neuroscience of Consciousness
  • Socialization of the Child
  • Addictions
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Comparative Cognition
  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • Judgment and Decision-Making
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Stress and Resilience

Recent Senior Thesis Titles

“The Aesthetics of Mathematics: Intuitions about the Beauty and Sublimity of Abstract Ideas”
Jinduo Wang ’22

“Overt Attention and Cognitive Ability Explain Climate Graph Interpretation”
Rishi Krishnamurthy ’22

“Showing Up and Showing Out: Predictors of Black Lives Matter Protest Endorsement and Protest Behavior in Portland, Oregon”
Monique Queen ’22

“Labeling Emotions in a Native and Foreign Language: An ERP Study on Emotion Regulation in Bilinguals Via Affect Labeling”
Christy Lei ’21

“Out in Left Field: A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding the Experience of LGBTQ+ Women in Sports”
Linnea Kelly ’19

“GLP-1 Receptor Activation in the Lateral Hypothalamus Reduces Food and Ethanol Consumption”
Erin Howell ’18

Opportunities & Programs

Student Awards & Fellowships
Psychology majors can apply for funding for their research and academic pursuits via a variety of college-sponsored awards, including the Neuroscience Research Fellowship and the Esther Hyatt Wender Fund, which supports collaborative summer research between Reed faculty and students. Summer research is particularly helpful to those interested in pursuing graduate study in science and medicine.

Squier Retreat
The Squier Retreat is an opportunity for students and faculty to visit a retreat center in the forest. During this community-building trip, participants delve into current debates within the field of psychology and how psychological science applies to broader social and political issues.

Rhodes Series
The Rhodes Fund brings distinguished speakers in psychology to campus for departmental colloquia and communitywide general lectures.

Lab Work
The department uses labs to study topics such as cognitive electrophysiology, psychophysiology, learning and adaptive behavior, health research, and appetitive motivation.

What Do Alumni Do?

Research Assistant
Oregon Health & Science University
Anthony Hill ’22

Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Fellow
McLean Hospital
Raines Baker ’21

Product Designer
Ford Motor Company
Andrew Kyroudis ’19

User Experience Researcher
Melanie Meredith ’19

Engineering Research Psychologist
Federal Aviation Administration
Hannah Baumgartner ’16

Registered Nurse
Trillium Family Services
Corinna Jackson ’15

Program Director
Community Innovators Lab, MIT
Amber Bradley ’02

Games Researcher
John Hopson ’97