The principal aim of graduate training in the comparative-neurobiology psychology track is to develop a strong theoretical understanding and research competence in the study of comparative psychology and/or neurobiology. Graduate students work in a close mentoring relationship with a faculty member in this track. The ultimate goal is to prepare students for productive academic careers.
Comparative description: Comparative psychology is the study of the similarities and differences in the behavior of organisms. Students of comparative psychology are natural scientists explicitly trained in the science of making comparisons and use such training to examine, for instance, phylogenetic, ontogenetic and cross-cultural aspects of behavior. Graduate students with an interest in comparative psychology learn to conduct experiments with a variety of vertebrates and invertebrates including pigeons, rattlesnakes, turtles, honey bees, flatworms, earthworms, and humans in a variety of pure and applied problems. These problems include timing in animals, aversive conditioning, the effect of agrochemicals on behavior, and the role of biogenic amines on learning and memory. In addition, students learn how to build and assess training devices for a variety of organisms and learn to use animals to demonstrate a variety of psychological principles. Students are encouraged to take courses with affiliated faculty in the Department of Zoology and Animal Science.
Neurobiology description: Neurobiology examines the physiological or biological bases for psychological processes. Graduate students with an interest in neurobiology learn to conduct studies using a variety of physiological indicators, including salivary analysis, dietary intake, electoencephalography and electocardiology. Current research by faculty members in the neurobiology track includes work in immune system reactivity, stress response, and nutritional influences on the developing brain. Students who have earned doctoral degrees from Oklahoma State University specializing in neurobiology have chosen academic careers in colleges and universities throughout the United States (e.g., University of California, San Francisco, University of Kansas), have arranged post-doctoral training, or have worked for the government or private industry as research consultants (e.g. Brown University Medical School).
Numerous students have earned doctoral degrees from our program. These students have chosen academic careers in colleges and universities throughout the United States (e.g., Kansas State University, University of Central Arkansas), have arranged post-doctoral training (e.g., University of Maryland), or have worked for the government or private industry as research consultants.
Charles I. Abramson, Ph.D., Boston University (1986),
Regents Professor – Comparative analysis of learning, effect of agrochemicals on learning, development of a mathematical model of the learning process, use of animals in the classroom, development and assessment of training devices
Jennifer Byrd-Craven, Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia (2007),
Assistant Professor – Same-sex peer interactions on stress and immune system reactivity, sex differences in social cognition and stress response, resilience to early adversity, evolutionary theory
James W. Grice, Ph.D., University of New Mexico (1995),
Professor – Personality assessment, idiographic measurement, multivariate statistical models
David G. Thomas, Ph.D., University of Denver (1981),
Professor – Early experiences on the infant brain (particularly nutritional influences), neural mechanisms underlying cognitive development throughout the lifespan, brain/ behavior relationships
John M. Chaney, Ph.D., Psychology Department, Clinical Program
Professor – Native American stereotypes and sports mascots, implicit racial bias
Christopher C. Cushing, Ph.D., Psychology Department, Clinical Program
Assistant Professor - Promotion and maintenance of behaviors that advance the physical and psychological health and well-being of children and adolescents
Stephen Damron, Ph.D., Animal Science Department
Professor – Animal Science, Animal Nutrition, Agricultural Animals
Stanley F. Fox, Ph.D., Zoology Department
Regents Professor – Behavioral Ecology, Evolutionary Ecology, Herpetology
DeMond M. Grant, Ph.D., Psychology Department, Clinical Program
Assistant Professor – Cognitive and psychophysiological correlates of anxiety and depression
Carmen Greenwood, Ph.D., Entomology and Plant Pathology Department
Assistant Professor – how disturbance impacts abundance and diversity of invertebrate
Jennifer Grindstaff, Ph.D., Zoology Department
Assistant Professor – Animal behavior, ecological immunology, maternal effects, maternal antibody transmission, avian biology, behavioral ecology.
Laura Hubbs-Tait, Ph.D., Human Sciences Department
Regents Professor – Parent-child relationships, Child cognitive and social competence, Child nutrition
Tay S. Kennedy, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition, Nutritional Sciences Program
Associate Professor – Maternal and child nutrition, Effects of micronutrients and heavy metals on child development
Carl D. Latino, Ph.D., Engineering Department
Associate Professor – Robotics, Micro-computing for experimentalists
Matthew B. Lovern, Ph.D., Zoology Department
Associate Professor – developmental, physiological, and social factors that influence animal behavior
Barney Luttbeg, Ph.D., Zoology Department
Assistant Professor – Behavioral & Theoretical Ecology, predator-prey interactions, mate choice
Doren Recker, Ph.D., Philosophy Department
Regents Professor – History, Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Science
Loren M. Smith, Ph.D., Zoology Department
Regents Professor – Wetland Ecology, Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, Restoration Ecology
Shannon Spaulding, Ph.D., Philosophy Department
Assistant Professor – Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Psychology
Barbara Stoecker, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition, Nutritional Sciences Program
Regents Professor – Effect of zinc on cognition, International nutrition problems
Mary C Towner, Ph.D., Zoology Department
Assistant Professor – Human Behavioral Ecology, Biological Anthropology, Evolutionary Medicine
Tony Wells, Ph.D., Psychology Department, Clinical Program
Assistant Professor – Cognitive factors associated with depression, Genetic contributions to depression vulnerability
PSYC 5813 – Lifespan Cognitive Development
PSYC 5913 – Lifespan Social Development
PSYC 6913 – Multilevel Modeling in Psychology
Recommended Track Courses
PSYC 6483 – Neurobiological Psychology
PSYC 6583 – Developmental Psychobiology
PSYC 6613 – Experimental Learning Theories
- The cognitive, comparative-neurobiology, developmental and social-personality tracks are all housed under the general Experimental Psychology program. Our program adopts the perspective that psychology is a very broad and dynamic discipline. The central focus of psychology is on the understanding, prediction, and enhancement of individual behavior, from a variety of perspectives. These perspectives can range from cognitive neuroscience; to the biological and physiological bases of behavior; to behavior in social environments; to the assessment of individual differences in personality; to the developmental changes that impact behavior; to the quantitative modeling of individual performance. To accommodate this broad spectrum, our program examines the biological, cognitive, developmental, social, and personality factors that affect behavior.
- When applying to the Experimental Psychology program, each potential graduate student applies directly to one of these four tracks, depending on their interests and career goals. In general, students will be “housed” in a particular track and within a particular laboratory, but it is also possible to collaborate with faculty and students in other tracks or laboratories, especially during the later years of graduate training.
To learn more about the Experimental Psychology Program and its associated tracks, please click here.
Please apply using the new graduate college online application: https://www.applyweb.com/apply/oksugrad/
For more information about the Experimental Psychology Program and its tracks, contact the program director Dr. Charles Abramson at firstname.lastname@example.org.