Wednesday 29 July 2015

Episode 4 - Noam Miller

Noam Miller is an assistant professor of psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada where he runs the collective cognition lab.

He's probably modelling something right now
Noam has a B.Sc. in Biology from Tel-Aviv University and – for some reason – also a degree in music (I suspect that reason is because he is a pretty good musician) . He did his PhD in Psychology at the University of Toronto, working with Sara Shettleworth on geometry learning and with Robert Gerlai on schooling in zebrafish. For those of you scoring at home, I did my PhD with Sara and Robbie helped me load the moving truck when I left Sara's lab to move to UWO to do a postdoc. It is interesting how I can pretty much spin anything into something about me isn't it?

He then did a post-doc with Iain Couzin in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Princeton University. He is interested in how being in a group shapes cognition, especially learning, and in zebrafish cognition generally.

Noam and I talked about a lot of different things, including the mathematical model of spatial reorientation that he published along with Sara, his recent theoretical paper about collective learning and a pretty cool empirical one on the same topic. In all of this work you can definitely see the influence of the Rescorla Wagner model.

Thanks again to Red Arms for letting me mash up their music in the closing theme. Buy their music now.

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Tuesday 21 July 2015

Episode 3 - Matthew Murphy

Happy Matt
Matthew Murphy is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Salem State University in Massachusetts, and will be a Visiting Assistant Professor at UMass Lowell this upcoming fall, teaching statistics and research methods.

He earned his B.S. in Interdisciplinary Psychology/Biology in 2005 from Southampton College of Long Island University, mentored by Dr. Paul Forestell.  Research experience there included work at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and work at Brookhaven National Laboratories on a NASA-funded project on radiation's effects on auditory cognition.

Matt moved on to Tufts University in Boston where he earned his M.S. in 2009 and Ph.D. in 2014, both in Psychology, under the mentorship of Bob Cook in the Avian Visual Cognition lab.  His work with pigeons included absolute and relational control of auditory sequences, auditory entropy, rule-learning, spatial frequency perception, and intraocular visual memory.

Matt's research interests include intraocular visual memory and self-recognition in animals.

We talked about what got him into the field, why Bob Cook's lab is full of people who give great talks, about a life in science and his dissertation work as well as some of his recent stuff that he just published in JEP with Dan Brooks and Bob Cook.

Thanks again to Red Arms for letting me mash up their music in the closing theme.  Buy their music now.  

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Friday 10 July 2015

Episode 2 - Neil McMillan

Neil, telling us things at CO3
Neil McMillan is a postdoctoral researcher in the psychology department at the University of Alberta.  Neil completed his undergraduate degree (a BSc(Hons)) in 2007 with Angelo Santi at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON and then moved on to graduate school at the University of Western Ontario.  He completed his MSc and later his PhD (in 2013) under the supervision of Bill Roberts.  We have something in common there as I did a postdoc with Bill Roberts back in the mid 90s.

We talked about a few things in this episode, including my bizarre inability to remember Neil's name for like the past 3 years.

Of course we talked science too.  Neil is interested in spatial memory and so am I.  That said, no matter what, timing keeps pulling him back in.  He also is first author of a pretty cool review paper that you should check out.  We talked about hierarchical representations and cue conflict experiments as well, which I am quite fond of....

His recent JEP paper with his two postdoc supervisors was another topic that we got in to, they have found an effect in reversal learning that you should read about.

Finally, we also talked about the future of the discipline.

Thanks again to Red Arms for the background closing music.  Buy their music now.

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Thursday 2 July 2015

Episode 1 - Chris Sturdy

Chris Sturdy is a professor of psychology and member of the neuroscience and mental health institute at the University of Alberta.

Chris (far right) and the members of the Songbird Neuroethology Lab

Chris has a BA in psychology from the University of Windsor as well as an MA and a PhD from Queens University in Kingston Ontario.

He studies the neuroethology of song learning and more generally songbird communication. I was really happy he wanted to be my first guest on the podcast.

We talked about a lot of different things including the influence that other researchers have had on Chris, the future of comparative cognition and the ever complicated world of gene expression in learning.

Thanks to Red Arms for allowing me to mash up their music with quotes from a bunch of people in the closing theme. Buy their music. NOW.

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