Michael A. Kisley, PhD

Michael A. Kisley, PhD

Michael A. Kisley, PhD


Columbine Hall 4013

Office Hours :
Tuesday: 11:00am-11:45am & Thursday: 11:00am-11:45am

Professional Summary

Dr. Kisley joined the UCCS Psychology Department in 2002. Before becoming the Chairperson in 2014 - 2017, he served as the department's Director of Graduate Training for 5 years. Dr. Kisley teaches, conducts research and mentors graduate and undergraduate psychology students in their research and professional development.


PhD Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, 2000
MS Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, 1994
BS Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, 1992

Areas of Interest

Emotional experience and regulation, insecure attachment in close adulthood relationships, and attention function, all from an evolutionary perspective.


Professor Kisley teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Biopsychology, Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology for the UCCS Psychology Department.


PSY 1000 - General Psychology
PSY 1100 - The Profession of Psychology
PSY 3270 - Introduction to Biopsychology
PSY 4270 - Seminar in Biopsychology
PSY 6120 - Neuroscience
PSY 6430 - Contemporary Issues in Psychology

Representative Publications

Escasa-Dorne, M, & Kisley, M.A. (2017) Relationship between sexuality and gender. In T.K. Shackelford & V.A. Weekes-Shackelford (eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. New York, NY: Springer.

Lathrop, L.M., Davis, I.A., Kisley, M.A. (2016) Attention Allocation to Attachment-Related and General Emotional Words: An Event-Related Brain Potential Investigation of the Effects of Attachment-Style and Relationship Status. Edorium Journal of Psychology, in press.

Chavis, J.M., & Kisley, M.A. (2012) Adult attachment and motivated attention to social images: Attachment-based differences in event-related brain potentials to emotional images. Journal of Research in Personality 46: 55-62.

Morgan, L.K., & Kisley, M.A. (2014) The effects of facial attractiveness and perceiver's mate value on adaptive allocation of central processing resources. Evolution & Human Behavior, 35: 96-102.


Attachment theory explains, from an evolutionary perspective, the adaptive benefit of forming supportive and caring social bonds ("attachments") between individuals. This includes bonds between children and their caregivers, but also between other relatives, between friends, and between romantic partners. However, the rate of insecure attachment in the general population, estimated to be about 50% in some studies, is difficult to explain from the same evolutionary framework. Insecure attachment manifests as 2 primary behavior patterns: anxious attachment in which an individual becomes overly preoccupied with relationships and tends to "cling" to their social supports, and avoidant attachment in which an individual tends to dismiss the importance of relationships and distances themselves from others. Generally considered negative outcomes, it remains unclear why these insecure attachment patterns would persist at such high rates in the human species unless they are somehow evolutionarily adaptive to the survival or reproductive success of the individual. Dr. Kisley is investigating this apparent paradox through theory-guided research.

Honors & Awards

Outstanding Faculty Member, PSI CHI & Psychology Club, 2013
Outstanding Research Award for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, 2013
Outstanding Teaching Award for the UCCS Campus, 2011
Outstanding Teaching Award for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, 2006

Representative & Recent Service/Leadership Roles

UCCS Psychology Department Chairperson, 2014-2017
UCCS Psychology Director of Graduate Training, 2009-2014
Served on several NIH Grant Review Study Sections including most recently the special emphasis panel on "Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics of Aging"
Served as ad hoc peer reviewer for more than 40 scientific journals