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Kenneth J. Leising

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Associate Professor Direct: 817.257.6139
BS Texas Christian University MA, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
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Research Interests

My lab uses Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning procedures to study how environmental stimuli influence spatial learning (in 2-D and 3-D environments), working memory (e.g., selective interference), and choice behavior (e.g., conditional discriminations).  Most of my research studies involve humans and at least one non-human animal species (rats or pigeons).  The lab includes four touchscreen-equipped operant boxes for pigeons, eight Med-Associates operant boxes for rats (touchscreen capable), an open field for rats or pigeons, and two touchscreen PCs for humans.  Pigeons, rats, and people experience variations of many of the same kinds of learning environments (e.g., foraging for food and finding mates), which enables fruitful cross-species comparisons to determine what aspects of learning may be unique to humans and what may be shared with other animals.

Please visit tcucomparativecognition for more info.

Stahlman, W. D., & Leising, K. J. (2016). Midsession shifts in reward probability and the control of behavioral variability. Learning & Behavior, doi:10.3758/s13420-016-0211-8

Leising, K. J., Hall, J. S., Wolf, J. E., & Ruprecht, C. M. (2015). Occasion setting during a spatial-search task with pigeons. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 41(2), 163-78. [Click to download pdf]

Ruprecht, C. M., Wolf, J. E., Quintana, N. I., & Leising, K. J. (2014). Feature-positive discriminations during a spatial-search task with humans. Learning & Behavior, 42(3), 215-230. doi:10.3758/s13420-014-0140-3

Wolf, J. E., Urbano, C. M., Ruprecht, C. M., & Leising, K. J. (2014). Need to train your rat? There is an App for that: A touchscreen behavioral evaluation system. Behavior Research Methods, 46(1), 206-14.

Ruprecht, C. M., Taylor, C. D., Wolf, J. E., & Leising, K. J. (2013). Task complexity modifies the search strategy of rats. Behavioural Brain Research, 258, 208-217.

Leising, K. J., Elmore, L. C., Rivera, J. C., Magnotti, J. F., Katz, J. S., & Wright, A. A. (2013). Testing visual short-term memory of pigeons (Columba livia) and a Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) with a location change detection task. Animal Cognition, 16, 839-844.

Teaching and Service Responsibilities

Teaching Responsibilities:  I teach General Psychology, which provides a broad overview of research and concepts within the core areas of psychology.  I teach this course with an emphasis on the science of psychology.  I also teach Memory and Cognition, in which I review major issues and topics in modern cognitive psychology.  In my Fundamentals of Learning course, the focus is on the informal learning process by which behavior adapts through experience.  Topics covered in this course include reflexes, predictive learning, behavior modification, stimulus control, and choice behavior. In Experimental Psychology: Learning we cover many of the same topics discussed in Fundamentals of Learning, but this course includes a laboratory component.  In the lab component, we conduct a variety of experiments ranging from simple computer simulations of rat behavior to studying spatial behavior in live pill bugs.  Lastly, I teach Contemporary Learning Theory, in which I review basic learning topics and then continue to more contemporary topics including communication, metacognition, social learning, tool use, numerical capacity, and navigation in non-human animals.

Service Responsibilities: I am the co-advisor for the TCU chapter of the Psychology National Honor Society and co-advisor for the TCU chapter of Golden Key International Honour Society.  I am the Member-at-Large for the Comparative Cognition Society and a member of APA’s Committee on Animal Research Ethics (CARE).