Ask Bruce Bartholow about his current research projects, and the associate professor of psychology at MU will likely direct your attention to the large whiteboard mounted on his office wall. Crowded with names of collaborators and topics ranging from alcohol and race bias to video games and aggression, this board reveals the breadth of Bartholow’s research.
A rainbow of feathers floats upward like a psychedelic butterfly. Fingers of color, violet and lime green, seem to flow outward from the tips of the wings. If you didn’t know better, you might assume it is a work of art. Beyond their beauty, for Shawn Christ these images taken at MU’s new Brain Imaging Center reveal the brain’s activity and connections. In his role as Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of MU’s Clinical Neuropsychology Laboratory, Christ studies how the relationship between the brain and behavior changes as we develop. Christ chose a career in psychology because it would combine two passions— working with kids and solving puzzles.
MU philosophy professor Robert N. Johnson found himself drawn to philosophy as a child who was always “lost in his thoughts.” Then, in high school, Johnson happened upon the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and just “got hooked.” The “Zen” part of the book was not what grabbed his attention; it was the discussion of Plato’s dialogues that framed the story. That encounter led him to check out the Collected Works of Plato from his local library. “I was obsessed… I still am obsessed,” he admits.
Originally a music major, Bartholow turned to social psychology after realizing his desire to learn “what makes people tick.”
Christ combines traditional neuropsychology measures with technology in order to examine brain disorders from many angles. Part of his lab is devoted to a clinic where Christ studies the behavior of children with autism and PKU using simple games.