Emory Report
September 28, 2009
Volume 62, Number 5

Homecoming buzz
For photos, updates and stories from Homecoming Weekend 2009, follow
the Emory Alumni Association’s updates on eaavesdropping.blogspot.com.


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September 28, 2009
Psychology celebrates new home

By Carol Clark

The psychology department introduced its new building by celebrating its past and the possibilities for the future at Homecoming 2009.

“New technologies and sophisticated methodologies are allowing us to learn things about the human brain that were just unimaginable even a decade ago,” says Robyn Fivush, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology and chair of the department.

Ben Johnson, chair of Emory’s Board of Trustees, served as master of ceremonies for the Sept. 25 dedication ceremony of the state-of-the-art building, which was completed in May. Alumni on campus for Homecoming Weekend mingled with other members of the Emory community at a ribbon cutting, followed by refreshments and guided tours of the facility.

Three venerable faculty members — Marshall Duke, Darryl Neill and Steve Nowicki — inaugurated the 115-seat auditorium by giving talks drawing from their decades of teaching and psychology research at Emory.
The 119,000-square-foot structure more than doubles the space of the old psychology building, and brings together offices for the department’s faculty and graduate students, laboratories, classrooms and clinical work that were spread over six locations. (The only psychology labs not housed in the new building are those involving animals.)

Natural light fills the public spaces, high-tech labs and classrooms. The Child Studies Center on the main floor offers a warm, friendly setting where researchers focus on the origins and development of language, memory and how infants and children come to know the world and themselves.

The third and fourth floors contain the cognition labs, where faculty and students are investigating the evolutionary origins of language, memory and thought. The top floor houses the Psychological Center, serving members of the community in need of testing, assessment and intervention, and labs doing groundbreaking research into mental health and mental illness.

“It’s big,” says Elaine Walker, Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology, who moved into the new building over the summer, along with the rest of the faculty. “A lot of people, including myself, are still walking around lost a bit of the time. We are still in the throes of the excitement about it.”

The building rises five stories and extends in a boomerang shape along Eagle Row. Its two wings embrace green space and walkways connected with the chemistry department in Atwood, forming a “science commons.”

“The brain processes everything,” Duke says. “Across the University, people are interested in how the brain responds to music, art and literature. Now it’s possible to address those questions at very different levels.”