Michael A. Kisley, Ph.D.

Michael A. Kisley, Ph.D.

Michael A. Kisley, Ph.D.

Professor, Associate Dean, College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
By Appointment Only in Starfish

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.He is currently the Associate Dean for the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences.


  • Ph.D. Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, 2000
  • M.S. Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, 1994
  • B.S. Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, 1992

Areas of Interest

Emotional experience and regulation, meta-emotion, affect intolerance, 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 4470 - Social Neuroscience
  • PSY 6120 - Neuroscience
  • PSY 6430 - Contemporary Issues in Psychology

Representative Publications

*Indicates a student author who was supervised by Dr. Kisley

  • Kisley, M.A., *Caudle, C.S., *Harvey, A.M. (2019) Affect intolerance is associated with insecure attachment and reduced self-esteem in adults. Archives of Psychology 3: 1-21.
  • *Bluntschli, J.R., Maxfield, M., *Grasso, R.L. & Kisley, M.A. (2018) The last word: A Comparison of Younger and Older Adults’ Brain Responses to Reminders of Death. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences 73: 555-563.
  • 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. (2015) 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 1: 22-32.
  • *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.


The current focus of my research program is on “meta-emotion,” which includes beliefs, attitudes, and feelings about emotions. Evolutionary theory provides a framework for this research, and suggests that emotions play an adaptive and important role in human function, as it does for other animal species. By contrast, research from my lab and others has shown that many otherwise healthy modern humans believe that emotions are unimportant, are best ignored, or are intolerable. In recent research we have shown that such attitudes are associated with lower self-esteem as well as difficulty in close relationships. My students and I are currently expanding this line of research in a number of ways. We recently completed a study into possible cognitive costs associated with adopting such meta-emotional attitudes and will be publishing that work soon. We are launching additional studies including an investigation of the meta-emotional correlates of empathy and psychopathy, as well as an investigation into an intervention inspired by mindfulness practices that shows promise to help individuals adopt a more understanding and accepting meta-emotional viewpoint.

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 College of Letters, Arts & Sciences Associate Dean, 2019-Present
  • 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

Curriculum Vitae