Gund Internal Steering Committee, Professor, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Research in the Falls laboratory examines the behaviors, neurotransmitters and neural circuits that are involved in both the elicitation and reduction of fear and anxiety. We accomplish this by combining procedures of animal learning with the techniques of behavioral neuroscience and behavioral genetics. Specific questions include:

  • What are the neural systems underlying the interaction of fear and anxiety?
  • What are the neural correlates of the anxiolytic effects of voluntary exercise?
  • How does voluntary exercise increase memory and is this related to the anxiolytic effect of exercise?


  • Falls, W.A. MacAulay, C.M. & Fox, J.H. (2010). Voluntary exercise improves both learning and consolidation of cued conditioned fear in C57 mice. Behavioural Brain Research. 207, 321-331.
  • Salam, J.S., Fox, J.H., DeTroy, E.M., Guignon, M.E., Whol, D.F. & Falls, W.A. (2009). Voluntary exercise in C57 mice is anxiolytic across several measures of anxiety. Behavioural Brain Research, 197, 31-40.
  • Fox, J.H. Hammack, S.E. & Falls, W.A. (2008). Exercise is associated with reduction in the anxiogenic effect of mCPP on acoustic startle. Behavioral Neuroscience. 122, 943-948.

Pistel, P.J. & Falls, W.A. (2008). Extended fear conditioning reveals a role for both N-methyl-d-aspartic acid and non-N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptors in the amygdala in the acquisition of conditioned fear. Neuroscience. 155, 1011-1020.
Waddell, J., Bouton, M.E. & Falls, W.A. (2008). Central CRF Receptor Antagonist a-Helical CRF9-41 Blocks Reinstatement of Extinguished Fear: The Role of the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis. Behavioral Neuroscience. 122, 1061-1069.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Biobehavioral psychology


  • PhD, Yale University
  • MS, Yale University
  • BA, Bates College


  • 802-656-5748
Office Location:

College of Arts & Sciences Dean's Office, 438 College Street