Monday 23 November 2015

Episode 10 - Jennifer Vonk

Jennifer gets 2 pics because BATS
Jennifer Vonk is a comparative/cognitive psychologist with primary research interests in two overlapping areas: (1) animal cognition, and (2) cognitive development. 

Dr. Vonk only likes animals that rhyme
She completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in Hamilton ON, conducting an honors thesis in behavioral endocrinology, a Masters degree in human memory at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON and a doctoral degree on the topic of concept formation in great apes at York University in Toronto.  

Her current work centers on social cognition, such as theory of mind, prosociality, and reasoning about emotions, as well as physical cognition, such as causal reasoning, analogical reasoning, numerosity, and natural concept formation. More recent work is focused on examining the effects of religiosity, attachment, and perspective-taking on human decision-making processes.

We talked about some of her recent work including stuff on concept formation in bears, quantity estimation in gorillas, social and non social category discrimination, human emotion detection in domestic cats and kin discrimination in domestic dogs.

(There were some feedback issues in this episode, I have cleaned up the audio best I could)

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

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Thursday 19 November 2015

Episode 9 - Jon Crystal

Jon thinking about thinking
Jonathon Crystal is a professor of psychology and director of the program in neuroscience at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Jon received his BSc in psychology at the University of Toronto in 1992 where he worked in Sara Shettleworth's lab. He also spent a lot of time working with Ken Cheng as an undergrad. He then went on to grad school at Brown where he worked with Russ Church, receiving an Sc.M. in 1994 and a Ph.D. in 1997.

Jon's lab focuses on the development of animal models of memory. His laboratory documented that rats may be used to model what-where-when memory and source memory.  He has also developed a number of innovative techniques for evaluating cognition in rats, including prospective memory, retrieval practice, and metacognition. The objective of the work in Jon's lab is to develop models of the types of memory that are impaired in human diseases.  

Jon and I go way back, and we talked about all kinds of stuff including a bunch of his recent work on topics like source memory, practice effects on memory, prospective memory, episodic memory in rats, and just science in general.

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

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Thursday 12 November 2015

Episode 8 - Leslie Phillmore

Leslie, thinking about gene expression
Leslie Phillmore (follow her on twitter) is an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Leslie received her BA (Hons) from Huron College at UWO working with Mark Cole.  (She also worked the summer between undergrad and grad school on some great stuff, and some not so great stuff when she ran birds for some postdoc in Bill Roberts' lab...)  She then went on to work with Ron Weisman at Queens University in Kingston for her MA and PhD.

Leslie's lab works on song production and perception in zebra finches and black capped chickadees. They are particularly interested in immediate early gene response in perceptual regions of the brain as well as the effects of stress on neural development and neurogenesis.

We talked about a couple of recent papers out of her lab and some stuff she just presented at SFN.

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

mp3 download