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As evolutionary neurobiologists, our work directly counters human-centric narratives of cognition and behavior (i.e. we show that humans are not the only organisms with interesting and complex mental lives), simultaneously laying the groundwork for diagnostic medical neuroimaging (i.e. human neurobiological processes are defined by looking at our mammalian relatives). Accordingly, the lab’s mission is to complicate the human-centric cultural narrative that we each learn as we grow up through a more thorough understanding of our shared mammalian neurobiological history (humans have incredible, but not exceptional, internal mental lives). We accomplish this by passionately training students from a wide range of backgrounds to engage meaningfully with scientific research by facilitating their understanding of how the brain drives behavior through intensive readings and group discussion. In addition, we seek to train students through extensive use of individual development plans to identify and acquire the skills each of us will need in pursuit of our chosen goals and objectives. Finally, and most importantly, we believe this nuanced understanding of human psychology through the lens of mammalian neuroscience plants the seeds for enculturing the kind of supportive, collaborative attitude that the team science we pursue requires, and which the next generation of scientists and physicians that we train will carry for the rest of their lives.

Our principal investigator is Dr. Dan J. Miller.

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