Psychology Institute

Take a trip inside the mind. Discover why people think, act, and feel the way they do.

Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Explore the structure of the brain through hands-on dissection and learn about how illusions, emotions, and biases affect how we see and interact with the world. Visit organizations that use psychology to influence behavior and conduct an observational study.


At a Glance

Dates: July 19-24, 2020 or July 26-31, 2020

*A waitlist has been implemented for the Psychology Institute: July 19-24, 2020 and July 26-31, 2020.

Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school and incoming college freshmen

Program Length: 1-week sessions

Program Tuition: $2,350

Location: Winston-Salem, NC – Wake Forest University Reynolda Campus

Day or Overnight Program: Overnight

*Courses carry no secondary school or college credit. Upon completion of the program, an official Wake Forest University certificate of achievement will be awarded to all Psychology Institute participants.


What You’ll Experience

Topics Covered

  • Psychological Science
  • Experimental Design
  • Emotions and Decision Making
  • Social Cognition
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Sensory Exploration
  • Attention and Illusions
  • Disorders of the Brain
  • Psychology of Advertising Media

Hands-On Experience:

  • Make scientific observations of real-life behavior
  • Sheep brain dissection
  • Perform hands-on demonstrations of the senses
  • Experience illusions and shifts in perception, and learn how these are processed by the brain
  • Visit marketing firm

*Hands-on experiences are subject to change.

Psychology Institute Costs:

Reynolda Campus (Residential Program) | $2,350

A Day in the Life

  • 8:00 – 9:00 am – Arrive and breakfast
  • 9:00 – 9:30 am – Welcome and program introduction
  • 9:30 – 10:30 am – Classroom and group work: data, making graphs, and not being fooled by graphs in the media
  • 10:30 – 11:30 am – Illusions: How does our mind play tricks on us
  • 11:30 – 12:30 pm – Lunch
  • 12:30 – 2:00 pm – Sheep brain dissection
  • 2:00 – 3:30 pm – Group work: Manipulating our senses
  • 3:30 – 4:30 pm – Field trip: Visit a marketing firm to see how they “guide” our consumer behavior
  • 4:30 – 5:00 pm – Debrief for next day
  • 5:00 – 6:00 pm – Dinner
  • 6:00 – 7:30 pm – Evening activities
  • 7:30 – 9:00 pm – Free time
  • 9:00  – 10:00 pm – Prepare for bed
  • 10:00 pm – Lights out

*This “A Day in the Life” sample schedule is based upon the 2018 curriculum and is subject to change. 

Christian Waugh

Christian Waugh, Ph.D.

Academic Leader, Psychology Institute
Dr. Waugh received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology with a certificate in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Michigan. There he worked on topics related to resilience to stress and positive emotions. From there he did a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University where he worked on topics related to emotion flexibility, depression, and resilience. A professor at Wake Forest University since 2010, Dr. Waugh and his ‘EmoLab’ investigate how people use positive emotions to regulate stressors and the temporal dynamics of emotional experiences using a wide array of methodologies including neuroimaging, psychophysiology, behavioral experiments and surveys in distressed populations.


Melissa Masicampo, Ph.D.

Academic Leader, Psychology Institute
Dr. Masicampo received her PhD in Neuroscience from Florida State University in 2012. During graduate school, Dr. Masicampo studied the neuroscience of development. Specifically, she investigated the effects of adolescent nicotine administration on mood-related behaviors in adulthood, as well as the effects of blocking sound sensation during auditory system development on brainstem auditory nuclei. After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Masicampo conducted her postdoctoral training at Wake Forest Medical Center, where she was interested in pharmacological treatments for alcohol-withdrawal seizure. Dr. Masicampo then joined the faculty in the Wake Forest Psychology Department, where she teaches neuroscience to undergraduate students.