DeWitt Wallace Professor of Psychology, GLCA/ACM Japan Study Program Resident Director

Olin-Rice Science Center, 324

Professor Wiertelak will be serving as the resident director of the GLCA/ACM Japan Study Program at Waseda University during the 2023-2024 academic year and, in 2024-2025, he will enter Macalester’s phased retirement program. He will not be taking new students.

Current activities in the Wiertelak research laboratory are the investigation of traditional diet and the onset and progression of neurological conditions, and the neural correlates of dance and dance performance. Recent and ongoing projects include examination of traditional medicines and pain relief, and physiological correlates of observing dance differentiated by experience level. For further information on this general topic in neuroscience, see:

The Neuroscience of Dance
; July 2008; Scientific American Magazine; by Steven Brown and Lawrence M. Parsons; 6 Page(s)
The Dancing Brain ; April 2003; Cerebrum; by Ivar Hagendoorn; 12 Page(s)

Wiertelak is the Director of Macalester’s Neuroscience Studies major program. A past-president of Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (the international organization devoted to neuroscience education and research at the undergraduate level), he is a behavioral neuroscientist. His lab has several areas of current focus: 1) The systematic investigation of the claimed psychoactive and therapeutic effects of traditional diet, natural remedies and aromatherapeutic agents. This work received funding from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. 2) Behavioral and physiological research to investigate how environmental stressors and learning impact on neurophysiological response mechanisms, such as pain modulation. This work received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health. 3) Behavioral and electrophysiolological research to investigate the neural systems involved in the organization of a variety of motor and cognitive aspects of dance and dance performance (hip-hop, modern, and ballroom). He teaches courses related to behavioral neuroscience, sensation, and principles of learning.


BA: University of Central Florida

MA: University of Colorado, Boulder

PhD: University of Colorado, Boulder