In college, I struggled with questions about why people could not live together in peace and harmony. Was there some way to understand the basis for human conflict and a rationale means to a form a society that would promote cooperation and reduce aggression? When I took an introductory psychology course, I was challenged by the ideas of Behaviorism and Skinner’s utopian novel, Walden II, based upon this view of human nature. Here, I thought, was the way to tackle those vexing questions, and so I took up psychology. I have long since abandoned Behaviorism, but that beginning sparked my deep interest in (re)searching for answers through the study of psychology, wherever it leads… brains to animal behavior to consciousness.
I received my Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in neuropsychobiology in 1971. Following an NIH postdoctoral research fellowship in comparative psychology (animal behavior) at the University of California at Berkeley, I joined the faculty at Northeastern University in 1974. My funded research programs have involved investigations into the psychobiological process underlying the development of animal behavior, brain chemistry of mammalian motivated behaviors, and the subjective experiences of hypnosis. Currently, I am conducting studies with graduate and undergraduate students at local zoological parks. The research questions in these projects are related to cognitive processes regulating the adaptive behaviors of endangered species and the effects of environmental enrichment on the natural and abnormal behaviors of captive animals.
My formal teaching includes courses in introductory psychology, neuropsychology, animal behavior, learning & motivation, ethics, and consciousness research. I use both laboratory and field-based methods in my undergraduate and graduate teaching, augmented by web-based educational technologies in selected courses.
Frequently Taught Courses
- Research in Psychology
- Researching Consciousness
- Animal Behavior Research (lab course)
- Seminar on Animal Minds