● My Psychology BLOG!

     Biography & CV 

Discovering Biological   
(my text)

     Neuroscience Links

     What I teach
Biological Psychology
Introductory Psychology
History and Systems
Behavior Disorders
Sensation & Perception

     Information Competency

     Problem Based Learning

     News & Resources

     My Friends at Houghton Mifflin

     Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
        Cal Poly Links

     My Family


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My Biography and CV:

  The people we are today are the sum totals of all of our experiences, our joys as well as our sadnesses, our personal victories as well as our defeats. Few of us ever get through this life without experiencing some life changing and sometimes life shattering events. Although I have been no exception, I consider to have been very blessed.

  I am a product of the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California, where I grew up and eventually married my high school sweetheart. In some ways, I developed rather traditionally, but when the opportunity came to do something interesting, I often took it. While in high school I was an exchange student to Austria. Living with local families in both Linz and Graz was a real educational experience.

 I invested 9 years of my academic life at UCLA, earning a B.A., M.A., and finally a Ph.D. I had the very real privilege to study psychology with some of the most gifted faculty in the United States. During the 1970s, the psychology faculty at UCLA read like a who’s who. My thinking about psychology was shaped by Eric Holman, John Garcia, Ivar Lovaas, Jackson Beatty, John Libeskind, Donald Novin, Frank Krasne, and F. Nowell Jones, just to name a few.  As a graduate student, I sat in awe as Arnold Scheibel lectured in neuroanatomy for three hours straight without pause, and without ever referring to any notes. Many happy hours were spent in Murray Jarvik’s and Ron Siegel’s lab, where we watched monkeys apparently hallucinating and discovered that it’s virtually impossible to make elephants drunk. Larry Butcher also contributed to my greater understanding of the human brain.

  As a capstone, I had the very real pleasure to complete my dissertation research under the direction of
Robert Rescorla, then at Yale. Bob has a mastery of experimental design that I’ve never seen equaled by anyone else, and he tolerated my many questions with patience and grace.

Here are a few of the members of Robert Rescorla's lab at Yale University in 1978 during one of our regular 'meetings.' Fun times!

Bob Rescorla sits at left. Standing (with glasses) is James Nairne. Jim, now at Purdue and the author of an Intro text, went to my high school in Southern Cal--Small world.

I took the picture!

Here we are at the 2005 American Psychology Society in Century City, California.


  In 1979, two wonderful things happened. First, I was awarded my Ph.D. and within a few months Roger and I were blessed with our first of three daughters, Kristin (1979).
Then in time came my two Texas girls
Karen (1982) and  Karla (1984).

Pictured Left to Right:
Kristin (27), Karen (24) and Karla(22)

Here's what they are doing now: Kristin, a West Point graduate and Bronze Star recipient who currently serves as a Captain in the U.S. Army Engineers, Karen, a on the Trojan Track Team and a grad student in USC's Annenberg School of Communication (and a 9th place finisher in the 2004 Olympic Trials women's shot put), and Karla, our resident artist and computer whiz. As you can tell, we raise "traditional" children.... :)


Here is my UCLA graduate advisor Eric Holman.

Eric joined my father and Roger to celebrate the awarding of my Ph.D. in 1979.

  Not counting Research Assistant and Associate positions, I first found myself teaching at Pasadena City College at the ripe old age of 23. As most instructors know, teaching at the community college level requires a few different skills than at the university. However, I have taught in both venues and I have found both stimulating and challenging in their own ways. A lot has changed in the last 30 years, but some things always remain the same. Keeping a subject fresh and relevant to a student's interest is no different today than it was 30 years ago. I still love to teach and I will never give up the fun of exploring the world of Psychology with my students.

  Throughout my time at the head of a classroom, I began to think about how I might approach writing a textbook.  I was beginning to realize that plenty of opportunities for improvement in currency, accuracy, function and format existed. I knew there was a way to make the subject come alive for both students and faculty. I began to write my book.

  If you have not had the opportunity to write a text yourself, you may find it baffling that others of us engage in such  behavior. My route to this project was neither short nor direct.

  I didn’t just sit down to write a textbook. Instead, I found myself getting gradually more involved with the
publishing business. Reviewing others’ work led to production of test banks, study guides, and instructors’ manuals, contributing to new editions, and editing collections of readings for psychology. Eventually, curiosity takes over, and you wonder what the material would look like if you could write it your way. For the reader, I emphasized three main features: accuracy, completeness of coverage, and currency. I have been personally involved with the production of animations, PowerPoint® presentation materials, and the construction of 1600 questions for the test bank. Many of these questions have been piloted in my own classes, and resulting item analyses are included in the test bank. My questions reflect past collaboration with consultants who specialize in test construction for higher education.

 I am enormously grateful for the team that Houghton Mifflin has assembled to help make this book a reality. Walking into the Houghton lobby and seeing Lord of the Rings everywhere is a bit intimidating, but it has been a remarkable experience to work with such talented people. I would also like to thank my family for their patience and support.

 So, what am I doing now? When I am not riding around our beautiful rural county, teaching or traveling, I have started gathering materials for the 2nd edition!

Thanks for letting me share my story with you,



Student Evaluations:

Student evaluations average 3.8 out of a possible 4.0.


Ph.D. in Psychology, UCLA, 1979

Dissertation conducted at Yale University under the direction of Robert Rescorla

M.A. in Psychology, UCLA, 1975

A.B. in Psychology, UCLA, 1974


1999-present: Professor, Cal Poly

1991-present: Associate Professor, Cal Poly

1987-1991: Assistant Professor, Cal Poly

1985-1987: Lecturer, Cal Poly

1984-1987: Instructor, Cuesta College

1975-1977; 1980-1982: Instructor, Pasadena Community College

1977-1978: Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Yale University

1975-1977: Teaching Assistant, UCLA

1975-1977: Research Assistant, Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA

Textbook Publishing and Related Activities:

Freberg, L. (2006). Discovering Biological Psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Freberg, L. (2005). Teaching Biological Psychology: A Spoonful of Sugar. 12th Annual APS-  STP Teaching Institute, Los Angeles, CA.

Freberg, L. (2005). But I Read It On the Internet...Promoting Information Competency in Biological Psychology. NITOP, Tampa, FL.

Freberg, L. (2001).  Using Internet Resources in the Higher Education Classroom.”  NITOP, St. Petersburg, FLA.

Freberg, L. (2000). Testbank to accompany Jackson Beatty's The Human Brain, published by Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Freberg, L. (2000). Instructor's manual for Stephen Klein's Biological Psychology, published by Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Wulff, D., Zechmeister, E., Zechmeister, J., Freberg, L., and Huff, C. (1999). Teaching
     Without Textbooks. American Psychological Association conference, Boston.

Freberg, L. (1999). Taking Advantage of the Internet with CourseLinks." The 1999 Syllabus
     Conference, Santa Clara, CA.

Freberg, L. (1999).  How to Integrate Internet Resources in the Higher Education Classroom (and still have time for a life).  Technology in Education International Conference & Exposition, Ontario, CA.

Freberg, L. (Ed., 1999). Stand! Introductory Psychology. Boulder, CO: CourseWise Publishers, Inc.

Freberg, L. (1999).  Instructor’s manual and testbank to accompany Stand! Introductory  Psychology.  Boulder, CO:  CourseWise Publishers, Inc.

Freberg, L. (Ed., 1998). Perspectives in Introductory Psychology. Boulder, CO: CourseWise Publishers, Inc.

Freberg, L. (1999).  Instructor’s manual and testbank to accompany Perspectives in Introductory Psychology.  Boulder, CO:  CourseWise Publishers, Inc.

CourseLinks Editor for Introductory Psychology (1999-2000), Boulder, CO: CourseWise Publishers, Inc.

CourseLinks Editor for Lifespan Development (1999-2000).  Boulder, CO: CourseWise Publishers, Inc.

Contributor to Ben Lahey's Psychology: An Introduction (6th Ed). Dubuque, IA:  Wm. C. Brown & Benchmark, Publishers. (Biological Foundations of Behavior, Basic Principles of Learning, Memory, Cognition, Language, and Intelligence, Social Psychology, and  Psychology Applied to Business and Other Professions)

Contributor to Ben Lahey's Psychology: An Introduction (5th Ed.). Dubuque, IA: Wm. C.Brown & Benchmark, Publishers. (Basic Principles of Learning, Memory, Cognition, Language, and Intelligence).

Ray, R.D., Podell, D., & Freberg, L.  (1995).  Multimedia CD-ROM Screening with Critical Discussion.  Presentation to the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society in New York City, NY.

Freberg, L. (1994).  Student Study Guide to Accompany J. Beatty’s Principles of Behavioral Neuroscience.  Dubuque, IA:  Wm. C. Brown & Benchmark, Publishers.

Freberg, L. (1994).  Instructor’s Course Planner to Accompany J. Beatty’s Principles of Behavioral Neuroscience.  Dubuque, IA:  Wm. C. Brown & Benchmark, Publishers.

Freberg, L. (1994).  Test Item File to Accompany J. Beatty’s Principles of Behavioral Neuroscience.  Dubuque, IA:  Wm. C. Brown & Benchmark, Publishers.

Here is some other fun stuff I did when I wasn't working on textbooks:

Freberg, L. (2000).  Keynote presentation: The Neuroscience of Learning Disabilities. The 12th Annual Central Coast Learning Disabilities Conference, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Freberg, L. Automatic and strategic priming effects in adults with verbal learning disabilities. Presented at the I Congreso Regional de Psicologia para Profesionales en  America, held in Mexico City from July 27-August 2, 1997.

Freberg, L., Floyd, B., and Marr, K. (1996). Faculty attitudes towards distance learning. Issues & Inquiry in College Learning and Teaching, 19(1), 9-17.

Freberg, L. Evidence for atypical semantic memory in adults with word-finding problem.  Presented at the 26th International Congress of Psychology, held in Montreal, Canada in August 1996.

Freberg, L., Floyd, B., and Marr, K. (1995). Faculty attitudes towards distance learning.  Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 6(2), 145-159.

Honors and Awards

Member, Phi Beta Kappa

Magna cum Laude, UCLA 1974

Regents Scholar, UCLA 1972-1974

Regents Fellow, UCLA 1974-1978

Department Honors at Graduation, UCLA 1974

Disabilities Resource Center Faculty Member of the Year, 1991 and 1994

Current  Activities

Member, Disabilities Resource Center Advisory Board

Member, Cal Poly Human Participants IRB



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updated: 05/01/2008

© 2007,  Laura Freberg , animations © 2007, Karla Freberg