Paul Moes

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).

Professor Moes teaches Introduction to Psychology (151), Experimental Psychology (356), and Statistics and Research Design (255). He received his Ph.D. 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 Malcom Jeeves, a well known neuropsychologist and author of many books focusing on the integration 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.

Curriculum vita

External funding list

Presentation list

Courses taught


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  • M.S. (Montana State, 1979)
  • Ph.D. (Texas Christian, 1982)

Professional Activities

  • 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

Research and scholarship

Dr. Bebej's current research focuses on the transition from foot-powered to tail-powered swimming in the earliest fossil cetaceans.

Investigation of possible neuronal function for Probsts bundles

Agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC) is a congenital defect.

Read more

Selected publications

Moes, P. (2010).  Minding Emotions: The Embodied Nature of Emotional Self-regulation.  Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith; Special issue on Psychology, Neuroscience and Issues of Faith, 62(2), 75-86.

Moes, P., Schilmoeller, K., & Schilmoeller, G. (2009). Physical, motor, sensory and developmental features associated with agenesis of the corpus callosum. Child: Care, Health and Development, 35(5), 656-672.

Moes, P.E, Brown, W.S., & Minnema, M.T. (2007).  Individual differences in interhemispheric transfer time (IHTT) as measured by event related potentials.  Neuropsychologia, 45, 2626-2630.

Selected Presentations

(starred names represent student co-authors)

Moes, P., *Harris, M., & Yonker, J.  (2010). Influence of Menstrual Cycle Phase on Hemisphere Interaction for Emotion and Gender Perception.  Presented at the International Neuropsychological Society Annual Meeting, Acapulco, MX, February, 2010.

Moes, P. *Carlson, H., & *Selles, R., (2010). Gender Differences in Hemisphere Specialization For Non-literal Language (“Jokes”) Processing.  Presented at the International Neuropsychological Society Annual Meeting, Acapulco, MX,February, 2010.

Moes, P., *Van Roekel, J., & *Wittingen, K. (2008). Asymmetry of ERP-derived Interhemispheric Transfer Times for Facial Stimuli.  Presented at the International Neuropsychological Society Annual Meeting, Kona, HI, February, 2008.

Vander Woude, J., Moes, P., Bowyer, S., & *Vander Veen, E.  (2007). An Adolescent with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum: A MEG Study of Idiom Comprehension.  Presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, Nov., 2007. 

*Klassen, B. & Moes, P. (2007). Hemispheric Specialization in the Processing of Positive and Negative Facial Affect. Presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, May, 2007.

*Westbrook, J., *Sinclair, S., & Moes, P.  (2007). The Effects of Religious Orientation and Belief Salience on Self-Serving Bias.  Presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, May, 2007.

Moes, P., *Scheeres, M., & *Klassen, B. (2007).  Interhemispheric Interaction of Emotional Processing in Relation to Social & Emotional Behavior.  Presented at the International Neuropsychological Society Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, February, 2007.

Moes, P. Bolt, B., *Medeiros-Ward, N., & *Zuidema, K. (2007).  The Effect of Training with the Makoto Apparatus on Neurocognitive Performance. Presented at the International Neuropsychological Society Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, February, 2007.

New Publication

Read more about Dr. Moes' book. It is designed to accompany Introductory Psychology textbooks and classes and allow exploration of the integration of psychological concepts with the Christian faith.


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