Laura Pickens, Ph.D. ’06
Associate Professor of Psychology, Department Chair
Academic Center 257
“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” –B.F. Skinner
What do I love most about the Psychology Department at Thiel College?
“I am proud to work at a College, and in a department, that is whole-heartedly committed to student success both in and out of the classroom. In addition to building a solid, foundational knowledge base in psychology, the Psychology Department has a curriculum designed to prepare majors for the workforce or advanced degrees after graduation by offering a specialized focus in either counseling, cognitive, or social psychology. Further, we encourage students to gain internship and research experiences outside of the classroom, and have incorporated these and other aspects of professional development into the curriculum so that are students are successful in the field after graduation.”
As a behavioral neuroscientist I have a broad interest in understanding the interrelationships between biological function and behavior. At the heart of my research interests are the subfields of neurobehavioral teratology and psychopharmacology. Considering these topics of the discipline together, I ask research questions about the impact of early exposure to drugs on the developing brain, and ultimately the behavior of the organism. To this end, my research at Thiel College investigates the role of adolescent nicotine exposure on adult cognitive processes using an animal model.
Selected Publications and Presentations:
(* denotes undergraduate student co-author)
Renaud, S. M., Pickens, L. R. G., Rowan, J. D., Bevins, R. A., & Fountain, S. B. (2015) –Paradoxical effects of injection stress and nicotine exposure experienced during adolescence on learning in a serial multiple choice (SMC) task in adult female rats: Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 48, 40-48
Blose*, M., & Pickens, L. R. G. (2015, June) –The Effect of Adolescent Nicotine Exposure on Morris Water Maze Spatial Learning and Retention in the Adult Male Long-Evans Rat, A Pilot Study: Poster session presented at the annual conference of the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society, Montreal, Canada
Percy*, S. E., & Pickens, L. R. G. (2015, June) –The Impact of Enrichment on Spatial Memory in Long Evans Rats Exposed to Ethanol: Poster session presented at the annual conference of the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society, Montreal, Canada
Renaud, S. M., Miller, M. E., Pickens, L. R. G., & Fountain, S. B. (2015, June) –Sex-Specific Differences in the Persistence of Cognitive Impairments Caused by Adolescent Nicotine Exposure: Poster session presented at the annual conference of the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society, Montreal, Canada
Pickens, L. R. G., Rowan, J. D., Bevins, R. A., & Fountain, S. B. (2013) –Sex differences in adult cognitive deficits after adolescent nicotine exposure in rats: Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 38, 72-78
Fountain, S. B., Rowan, J. D., Muller, M. D., Kundey, S. M. A., Pickens, L. R. G., & Doyle, K. E. (2012) –The organization of sequential behavior, Conditioning, memory, and abstraction: In E. A. Wasserman and T. R. Zentall (Eds.), Handbook of Comparative Cognition (pp. 594-614). Oxford: Oxford University Press
Renaud, S. M., Pickens, L. R. G., & Fountain, S. B. (2012, Oct.) –Effects of Stress and Nicotine Experienced during Adolescence on Learning in a Serial Multiple Choice (SMC) Task in Adult Female Rats: Poster session presented at the annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, La.
Renaud, S. M., Pickens, L. R. G., & Fountain, S. B. (2012, March) –Effects of Injection Stress on Rat Serial Pattern Learning: Poster session presented at the annual conference of the Comparative Cognition Society, Melbourne, Fla.