Department of Psychology becomes Department of Psychological Sciences

Rice’s Department of Psychology changed its name to the Department of Psychological Sciences July 1 to reflect the rigorous scientific study and methodological training and statistical procedures employed by the discipline.

Brain picture“Psychology is a science, and what we practice in our department is very much scientifically rooted,” said Eduardo Salas, professor and department chair of Psychological Sciences. “Our department employs very rigorous methodological and statistical procedures, just as other scientific departments at Rice.”

Salas said the “rebranding” allows the department to display its “incredible strengths” and reflect its momentum and future directions for growth.

“We apply our rigor to contexts such as health care, corporate organizations, space exploration, aviation, gas and oil, educational institutions and law, to name a few,” he said. “Yet we never depart from the science of understanding the mind and human behavior. And given our breadth of substantive and methodological focus as psychological scientists, the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Defense and other scientific funding agencies regularly support our faculty.”

Salas said the move will allow the department to highlight its recent hires and their pioneering work in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, autonomic psychophysiology, social neuroscience, diversity and resilience in organizations and medical human factors.

“Rebranding — pressing the reset button — represents a new beginning for us,” Salas said. “It is an opportunity to showcase and highlight our science, its applications, our findings and discoveries to our undergraduate and graduate students, our Rice colleagues, and to the Houston community and beyond.”

The name change followed a unanimous vote by the department’s faculty and approval by Dean of Social Sciences Antonio Merlo and Provost Marie Lynn Miranda.

For more information on Rice’s Department of Psychological Sciences, visit

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.