Message from the Chair

  • How are our brains wired to be social?
  • How do stressful and traumatic experiences influence our physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and brain health? 
  • How can depression, anxiety, and addiction be prevented and treated most effectively?
  • How do cultural contexts shape our identities and most central values? 
  • How can a scientist conduct valid and reliable quantitative analyses when some of the data are missing? 
  • How do we learn? 
  • How do some intimate relationships thrive while others falter? 

Annette L. Stanton, Professor and Chair, UCLA Department of PsychologyWelcome to UCLA’s Department of Psychology.  These are just a few of the questions our faculty are addressing in their research, in the classroom, and in the community.  If such questions sound intriguing, read on! 

Psychology at UCLA is at the forefront of generating, communicating, and applying psychological science.  Our community is a large one, including 84 core, adjunct, and active emeriti faculty members; nearly 3,800 undergraduates enrolled in our three majors (Psychology, Psychobiology, Cognitive Science); 200 Ph.D. students; 30 postdoctoral scholars; 42 administrative staff; and 40 research staff.  Our home is the Psychology Complex, which comprises more than 800 rooms in three connected buildings on the east side of campus.  Our largest building, the Psychology Tower, is undergoing major renovation; Floors 5-8 now are complete with sleek and functional new offices, labs, and meeting rooms.  To be completed in the summer of 2020, Floors 1-4 will house beautiful new classrooms, conference rooms, a welcoming entry space, student study spaces, student services, and additional faculty offices and labs.  The Psychology Tower has the best view of the famous Inverted Fountain, where incoming students are officially initiated during orientation and graduating seniors gather each year to celebrate completing their last final exam.  Our two additional buildings—the Psychology Building and Franz Hall—also are home to faculty, students, and staff, including our UCLA Psychology Clinic, which offers evidence-based psychological assessment and treatment to the Los Angeles community.  The Clinic serves as a training ground for the Ph.D. students in our premiere clinical psychology program and as a site for research to optimize the efficacy of psychological therapies.     

As set out in our strategic plan (2014, 2018), the goals of our research and teaching in the UCLA Department of Psychology are to: 1) advance the understanding of human behavior, cognition, and emotion, including functional and dysfunctional processes, across multiple levels of analysis; and 2) promote human welfare through translational research involving intervention, dissemination, and implementation in psychology.  As defined by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health, “translation is the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public . . .”.  Applied psychological science serves to translate knowledge into action across the realms of psychological and physical health services, education, public policy, and more.

The UCLA Department of Psychology is equally focused on basic science and societal impact through prevention and treatment, educational interventions, and social policy.  Abundant expertise in psychological research across multiple levels of analysis, from single neurons to social cultures, positions our Department to contribute to the welfare of a rapidly diversifying population, as well as to understand and address complex population-level, interpersonal, and intrapersonal problems.  Collaborations among our basic and translational scientists within the Department are perhaps more abundant than anywhere else in the nation.  Moreover, our professors and students forge strong ties with faculty in many other disciplines, including medical sciences, law, computer science, artificial intelligence, applied mathematics, statistics, engineering, economics, linguistics, education, anthropology, communication, political science, sociology, biology, public health, and business.  Such collaborative research and education enables us to bring methods and findings in psychological science to bear on human functioning and fundamental human problems.

Allow me to tell you a bit more about the Department and its programs.  Our home is in the Division of Life Sciences within the College of Letters and Sciences at UCLA.  In addition to our three undergraduate majors, we have an undergraduate Departmental Honors Program, as well as the UCLA Psychology Research Opportunities Programs (PROPS), which supports a select group of undergraduate majors from underrepresented groups who seek to conduct mentored research and prepare for graduate or advanced professional study.  We host an annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) with local and national presenters.  We founded an Infant Development Program, which is a highly valued and evidence-based day care program, as well as a teaching and research facility for the Department that accommodates research with infants, toddlers, and their parents and caregivers. The associated Applied Developmental Psychology undergraduate minor is a unique opportunity for UCLA students which combines rigorous academic courses with hands-on experience working with infants and young children.  The Department’s other undergraduate minor is Cognitive Science.  We house a vivarium and have access to the latest scientific technologies.  Along with faculty mentors, our Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars study behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, learning and behavior, quantitative psychology, and social psychology. Our Diversity Science Initiative bridges our areas of expertise across the Department to advance theory, research, and education on underrepresented and underserved populations.  

I have attempted to offer you a glimpse of the extraordinary depth and breadth of science, instruction, and application encompassed in the Department of Psychology.  I am honored to serve as Chair of the Department, and I encourage you to explore this website to learn more.  In the Department of Psychology, we find ourselves at the exciting and challenging juncture of maintaining and enhancing our position in the national and international vanguard of psychological science and education while at the same time bursting at the seams in the square footage available for these endeavors.  With our expanding community of undergraduate majors, graduate and postdoctoral trainees, essential staff, and exceptional faculty, we welcome your involvement in the life of the UCLA Department of Psychology.

Annette L. Stanton, Professor and Chair, UCLA Department of Psychology