Steve Siviy

John McCrea and Marion Ball Dickson Professor




Campus Box 0407


McCreary Hall
Room 316
300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400


BA Washington & Jefferson College, 1979
MS Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1981
PhD Bowling Green State University, 1985

Academic Focus

Behavioral neuroscience

I came to Gettysburg after doing post-doctoral work at the University of Sydney and UCLA. I currently teach Psych 236 (Introduction to Brain and Behavior), Psych 237 (Psychopharmacology), and Psych 336 (Laboratory in Behavioral Neuroscience). My primary research interest is to identify neurobiological substrates of mammalian playfulness. Along these lines I also teach a First Year Seminar entitled The Playful Mind and the Neuroscience of Joy.

Why study play? And why study play in rats? Almost all mammals play. It doesn't seem to matter if you're a rat, dog, or human; there's something simply irresistible about a good bout of raucous social play. What makes mammals so playful? Are we genetically pre-programmed to have fun? Can early postnatal experiences influence how much we play? What kind of processing goes on in the brain that can make one youngster more, or less, playful than another? Using the young rat as a model system for studying rough-and-tumble play, work in my lab addresses questions such as these.

Courses Taught