John E. Staddon, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience  

John E. Staddon

Until my retirement in 2007, my laboratory did experimental research on learning and adaptive behavior, mostly with animals: pigeons, rats, fish, parakeets.  We were particularly interested in timing and memory, feeding regulation, habituation and the ways in which pigeons and rats adapt to reward schedules. The aim  is to arrive at simple models for learning that can help to identify the underlying neural mechanisms. I continue to do theoretical and historical work on the power law in psychophysics, operant learning, timing and memory, habituation and feeding regulation.  I have applied some of these ideas to economics and financial markets and social issues such as traffic control (Distracting Miss Daisy, The Atlantic, 2008; Death by Stop Sign) and smoking (Unlucky Strike, Private Health and the Science, Law and Politics of Smoking, with David Hockney, UBP, 2013).  A second edition of Adaptive Behavior and Learning (Cambridge UP) was published in 2016. Most recently I have published Scientific Method: How Science Works, Fails to Work, and Pretends to Work. published by Routledge in December, 2017, Unlucky Strike Second Edition, and Science in an age of unreason (Regnery, 2022). 

Ph.D.,  Harvard University, 1964
B.Sc. in Psychology, University College, London, England, 1960
B.S., University College London (United Kingdom), 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. Staddon, JER, Scientific imperialism and behaviorist epistemology, Behavior and Philosophy, vol. 32 no. 1 (December, 2004), pp. 231-242 [Gateway.cgi]  [abs].
  5. Staddon, JE; Higa, JJ, Time and memory: towards a pacemaker-free theory of interval timing., Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, vol. 71 no. 2 (March, 1999), pp. 215-251 [Gateway.cgi], [doi]  [abs] [author's comments].
  6. Staddon, JER; Chelaru, IM; Higa, JJ, 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].