UCLA Department of Psychology & UCLA Brain Research Institute
I am interested in animal cognition and behavior. How do animals build and use representations of their world? I use Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning procedures to dissect this question. My work addresses a number of research questions at the interface between associative and cognitive processes. How do rats make causal inferences? What other rational processes do rats use? How do pigeons learn and integrate spatial maps? What are the sources of behavioral variability and what role does it play in problem solving? I also study simple learning, perception, and attentional processes in the terrestrial Caribbean hermit crab.
A second interest of mine is in how human ancestry and evolution can inform us about our health and well being. In particular, our modern world is quite different from that of our ancestors, to the detriment of our health and brain function.