BEHAVIOR SYSTEMS AND LEARNING LAB

Department of Psychology
Center for the Integrative Sudy of Animal Behavior
Program in Cognitive Science



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RESEARCH PROJECTS

Underlying our strong interests in the behavior of animals is an attempt to integrate a biological approach with the experimental paradigms and explanatory concepts of laboratory learning. By a biological approach we mean an account of behavior that takes into consideration the role of the evolutionary history and ecology (the historical and current selection environment) of a species in producing the niche related mechanisms that the animal brings to, expresses, and refines, in all environments, including environments as different as laboratories and zoos. Our work typically begins with using and developing available information about particular species to formulate a species-relevant system of behavior similar to that created by traditional ethologists. Observational and experimental work is combined to identify functional regulatory systems of behavior, the operation of which typically facilitate the survival and reproduction of individuals and the species.

Each system is composed of an overlapping sequence of motivational states leading from general search behavior through focal search behavior to handling consuming, and, at least in the case of small amounts of food, producing subsequent post-food focal search, and/or general search again. We assume that learning of several sorts, based on multiple evolved mechanisms, has been selected to occur in circumstances that facilitate the survival and subsequent reproduction of the animals we study. We are interesting in understanding this learning and how it relates to the functional behavior of animals in the laboratory, zoos, and more natural settings.

Links under both lab and zoo projects will bring you to information on those particular projects.

ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING

 

ZOO RESEARCH

(We are not recruting research assistants for this project)

 

CIRCADIAN RYTHMS

(We are not recruting research assistants for this project)

SPATIAL LEARNING

 

PREDATORY ODORS

(We are not recruting research assistants for this project)

 

 

 

 

 

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