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The Department of Psychology is at the forefront of 21st century psychological science in the classroom and the lab. Undergraduate and graduate students alike join with the faculty in the pursuit of leading-edge research designed to unlock the human mind and brain. Browse our website to learn about our graduate and undergraduate programs, and how our research is pushing the boundaries of psychological science and impacting the larger world around us.

  • A student in the Hank Virtual Environments Lab
  • A professor teaching a class
  • A beaker of fluid
  • A student looking into a microscope
  • A student giving a presentation
  • A student in the Hank Virtual Environments Lab
  • A student giving a presentation
Alexandre Tiriac and Carlos Del Rio-Bermudez

Sleep Twitches Light Up the Brain

A University of Iowa study has found twitches made during sleep activate the brains of mammals differently than movements made while awake. Researchers say the findings show twitches during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep comprise a different class of movement and provide further evidence that sleep twitches activate circuits throughout the developing brain. In this way, twitches teach newborns about their limbs and what they can do with them.  Mark Blumberg, a psychology professor at the UI and senior author of the study, says this latest discovery is further evidence that sleep twitches— whether in dogs, cats or humans—are connected to brain development, not dreams.

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