Paul Moes, Professor, Department Chair, Psychology
Office: Science Building 360
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Professor Moes teaches Introduction to Psychology (151), Brain and Behavior (333), Experimental Psychology (356), and Statistics and Research Design (255). He received his PhD in experimental psychology, with an emphasis in the “Chemistry of Behavior,” from Texas Christian University combining his interest in psychology and physiology. In addition to teaching at Dordt College in Iowa for 18 years, Professor Moes had the opportunity to spend a year in St. Andrews, Scotland doing research with Professor Malcolm Jeeves, a well known neuropsychologist and author of many books focusing on the integration of Christian faith and psychology. Professor Moes’ research interest focuses on the interaction of the left and right cerebral hemispheres, including a special focus on individuals born without the corpus callosum, which connects left and right hemispheres. He continues to reflect on, and write about Christian approaches to understanding brain function, personal responsibility and human nature.
- Assists the Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum network (Web page development, etc).
- Conducts student outcomes assessment
- Regular participant in the International Neuropsychology Society Meeting
- Member, APS
What happens when the brain doesn’t become organized in the “typical” way? Professors Paul Moes (Psychology) and Loren Haarsma (Physics) have been studying what happens when a structure called the corpus callosum, which is a set of nerve cells connecting the two sides of the brain, doesn’t develop as it should. Instead of growing to the other side (“hemisphere”) of the brain, these nerve cells grow back into the same hemisphere. Professor Moes has studied human patients with this condition who show a variety of social and emotional difficulties (similar to autism), along with possible coordination problems and learning difficulties. But now the two professors are studying mice with this same condition. The primary goal of the study is to determine if the nerve cells that should have grown to the other side of the brain form communication networks with cells in the same hemisphere. Professor Haarsma’s expertise in electrophysiology of nerve cells (using a “patch clamp” procedure) has allowed the two collaborators to explore the nature of brain reorganization and to learn more about the basic mechanisms of brain function. The advanced instruments used for this interdisciplinary study was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and the summer research students (Charlotte DuLaney – Physics; Dan Evans – Engineering; Jonathan Wong – Biochemistry) have been funded by the college’s Integrated Science Research Institute (ISRI).