Keith Burton

Keith BurtonAnchor link to John Martin videoProfessor Burton on turning theory into practice

Meet Keith Burton
Associate Professor,
Psychology, Chair of Psychology and Interim Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences



  • B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University
  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona


  • I know all of my students by name within the first month of a class – how many public university faculty can say the same?I’m married and have the two most adorable children ever born to anybody anywhere. My mother thought her two kids were the most adorable ones ever born, but I now know that she was wrong.

Interesting Facts:

  • I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan and a Green Bay Packers fan. These geographically disparate teams became my favorites as a product of moving around a bit when I was a kid. I “discovered” baseball when I was in 3rd grade and living in Missouri, and I “discovered” football when I was in 5th grade and living in Wisconsin.
  • My one and only brush with celebrity greatness came when I was in the 4th grade and my father took me to a car show in Rolla, Missouri. The car show’s celebrity hostess was actress Donna Douglas, known best for her role as Elly May Clampett on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” She evidently thought I was a sweet kid, as she gave me her autograph as well as a kiss on the cheek. For a 4th grader, that was a very impressive experience.

Learning philosophy:

  • Learning is a collaborative process between the instructor and the student, and both must be actively engaged in deep processing of the course material. That can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but one such method that I feel is particularly effective is applying the concepts learned in the classroom to real-life problems or to the student’s life experiences. I try to work such activities into all of my classes. For example, in my Psychology of Motivation course I have an assignment in which students are to take the motivational principles learned in class and apply them to effect some change in their lives – usually a change that the student has wanted to make for a long time but has been unable to accomplish. I’ve seen wonderful changes occur in the lives of students as a result of that project!

Research interests:

  • My research focuses on psychophysiological aspects of emotion and its relationship to emotion regulation processes. I use electromyographic and skin conductance recording technology to do so.

Major project underway:

  • One of my current studies examines the relationship between cyclical hormones in the menstrual cycle, PMS symptoms, emotion regulation and psychophysiological measures of emotional expression. I’ve done a variety of emotion psychophysiology studies in my time at UIS, and have always had undergraduate students working alongside me in the lab (which I love!).

Listen to Professor Burton on turning theory into practice:

Advice to prospective students:

  • I have two pieces of advice for students: 1) sample a wide variety of courses, as this is the best way to get an idea of disciplines you may wish to pursue. And when doing so maintain an open mind – when I was an undergraduate I had no desire to learn about the brain and deliberately avoided courses on that topic. However, after graduating I got my first job as a research assistant in a neuroscience institute I discovered that avoiding those classes had been a big mistake! I discovered through that job that I loved neuropsychology and made it the focus of my graduate studies. 2) Get involved! Most departments have opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty on scholarly projects – take advantage of those opportunities whenever possible. Not only are these wonderful learning experiences, they are invaluable for those who wish to pursue a graduate education.

Best thing about UIS:

  • Me! Just kidding – UIS has many wonderful features, but for a professor by far the best feature is the ability to teach in relatively small, intimate classroom settings that allow students and faculty to get to know each other. I know all of my students by name within the first month of a class – how many public university faculty can say the same? Coupling this feature with the fact that faculty also maintain active programs of scholarship makes UIS a unique place that can offer the best of both worlds to students.