John E. Staddon, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus  

John E. Staddon

My laboratory does theoretical and experimental research on learning and adaptive behavior. Most of our experimental work is with animals. We are particularly interested in timing and memory, feeding regulation, habituation and the ways in which pigeons and rats adapt to reward schedules. Our ultimate objective is to arrive at models for learning that will make contact with the underlying neural mechanisms. Our experimental work involves individual animals in computer-controlled environments, where we manipulate the reward and stimulus conditions and seek to understand the rules animals follow as they adapt to these changes. Our theoretical work involves both analytical and computer-simulation studies of static and dynamic models for this behavior. Our approach is through the development and behavioral testing of real-time top-down models for learning. Recent projects are, for example, a diffusion model that describes the dynamics of stimulus generalization, a parallel model for the assignment-of-credit (response-selection) probelm in operant conditioning, state model for choice behavior, and a recurrent neural network model for sequence learning. Our work on neural networks is part of a joint project with Dr. Richard Palmer in the Physics Department.

Ph.D., Harvard University, 1964
B.Sc. in Psychology, University College, London, England, 1960

Office Location: 242 Soc/psych Building, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 493-4398
Email Address:

Organismal Biology and Behavior

Current projects: Temporal dynamics of choice

Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Staddon, J.E.R., Adaptive Dynamics: The Theoretical Analysis of Behavior (2001), pp. xiv, 1-423, Cambridge, MA: MIT/Bradford .
  2. Staddon, J.E.R., The New Behaviorism: Mind, Mechanism and Society (2001), pp. xiii, 1-211, Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press .
  3. Staddon, J. E. R. & Cerutti, D. T., Operant behavior., Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 54 (2003), pp. 115-144  [abs].
  4. JER Staddon, Scientific imperialism and behaviorist epistemology, BEHAVIOR AND PHILOSOPHY, vol. 32 no. 1 (2004), pp. 231-242 [Gateway.cgi]  [abs].
  5. JER Staddon and JJ Higa, Time and memory: Towards a pacemaker-free theory of interval timing, JOURNAL OF THE EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS OF BEHAVIOR, vol. 71 no. 2 (1999), pp. 215-251 [Gateway.cgi], [doi]  [abs] [author's comments].
  6. JER Staddon, IM Chelaru and JJ Higa, Habituation, memory and the brain: the dynamics of interval timing, BEHAVIOURAL PROCESSES, vol. 57 no. 2-3 (April, 2002), pp. 71-88 [Gateway.cgi], [doi]  [abs].