Departments of Biology and Psychology
Avian Models of Search and Choice under Uncertainty
Monday, December 6, 2010
Lecture Hall 2, 5:00 PM
Despite decades of theoretical work on search and choice under uncertainty, typified by ‘secretary problem’ models, we still know little about the rules by which humans and other animals evaluate and select one option among many. In this talk, I will review how behavioral ecologists and cognitive ethologists have begun to rigorously evaluate how birds and other animals ‘solve’ the secretary problem, with a focus on how birds choose mates and choose nuts to store. I will then relate this to recent experiments on how humans solve analogous choice problems, with the objective of identifying general ways that animals deal with economic and cognitive constraints to make economical and accurate choices.
I received my Ph.D. at University of California, San Diego and conducted postdoctoral research at UCLA. I am currently an Associate Professor of Biology and Psychology at Clarkson University. My principal research areas have included the cognitive ecology of foraging behavior, the causes and consequences of cooperative breeding, and road ecology. Besides the current research on the cognitive ecology of foraging that is focus of my EvoS talk, I also work on predictive landscape models of animal road crossing hotspots, to use as tools for conservation planning and mitigation along road networks.