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Bill Griesar, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
317 Cramer Hall
Portland State University
P.O. Box 751
Portland,OR 97207-0751
phone (503) 725-2389
fax (503) 725-3904



Courses Taught

  •  PSYCH 410 Neuroscience Outreach (for those interested in teaching science in local public schools)
  • PSYCH 200 Psychology as Natural Science
  • PSYCH 347 Perception
  • PSYCH 451 Introduction to Neurophysiological Psychology
  • PSYCH 410 Advanced Neurophysiological Psychology
  • PSYCH 410 Psychopharmacology

Professional Affiliation

  • Instructor, Psychology, Portland State University
  • Adjunct Instructor, Speech & Hearing Sciences, Portland State University
  • Instructor/Outreach, Neuroscience, Washington State University - Vancouver
  • Affiliate Graduate Faculty, Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Neuroscience Coordinator, NW Noggin (
  • Member, Society for Neuroscience
  • PSU Chapter Representative, Oregon/Southwest Washington Society for Neuroscience


 Sc.B., Neural Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

 Ph.D., Behavioral Neurosciences, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon

Professional Background & Interests

I love teaching, and explaining how networks of linked neurons carry out complex behavior.  My dissertation research in Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU examined nicotine effects on spatial attention, time perception, and boredom in non-smokers. Some earlier (pre-2001) studies of nicotine had reported cognitive improvements, but assessed these changes in habitual smokers, where results may have been linked to relief from withdrawal effects.  I completed this research in Dr. Barry Oken's lab. 

In addition to teaching at PSU, WSU Vancouver, and OHSU, I supervise a teaching practicum for Behavioral Neuroscience graduate students, and I routinely bring brains (rat, monkey, human) to K-12 classrooms in the Vancouver and Portland Public Schools.  I’m fascinated by the power of art to engage students in STEM fields, and several of my courses (and all of the outreach efforts) involve art projects, and collaborative work with artists and arts institutions.  I also offer the chance for graduate students in psychology and neuroscience to partner with artists and jointly present lectures and events at Velo Cult, a bike shop/pub in NE Portland. 




In the summer, I supervise graduates and undergraduates from PSU, WSUV, OHSU and the Pacific Northwest College of Art, who develop and deliver their own month long arts-integrated programs on the brain and behavior to academic priority K-12 students. For more information on outreach, and how to get involved, please visit: 













And when my son Jack gets annoyed with his older brother Dominic, and vice versa (and as teenagers, when they routinely get annoyed at me), they each blame it (at least partly) on their amygdalae (..!