Christopher A. Varnon

Laboratory of Comparative Psychology and Behavioral Ecology

 Here I am with my girlfriend, the incredibly talented artist Jennifer Salazar. You can see her art at: jennifersalazarart.com

Here I am with my girlfriend, the incredibly talented artist Jennifer Salazar. You can see her art at: jennifersalazarart.com

 Here I am with a wild red-tailed boa constrictor I caught while doing some work in Sousa, Brazil. 

Here I am with a wild red-tailed boa constrictor I caught while doing some work in Sousa, Brazil. 

I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Converse College. I completed my PhD in experimental psychology at Oklahoma State University. Previously, I received a master's degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas, and bachelor's degrees in biology and psychology at Jacksonville State University.

My interests involves a diverse range of topics and species but my interests are unified under the theme of comparative psychology. This biological approach assumes that many fundamental behavioral and cognitive processes are conserved across species. Study of multiple species permits an important phylogenetic understanding of behavior. Once species comparisons are made, we can begin answering critical questions related to the experiences, developmental processes and neurophysiological mechanisms that lead to similarities and differences between species.

I am specifically interested in apparatus design, basic learning in ectotherms and invertebrates, behavioral imprinting, captive behavior and breeding of zoo animals, and operant contingencies of social behavior and fear in animals. Although I enjoy working with a wide variety of species, I have always been particularly fond of amphibians and reptiles. Through my time working at various zoos I have also become more interested in birds, particularly larger birds such as cranes and storks. Most recently, I have become fond of bumble bees and tropical cockroaches as invertebrate models of behavior.

I obtained this website primarily to share information about research, analysis techniques, apparatus design and automation. There is especially little instructional material in the area of apparatus design and automation, and I have found the most difficult part is learning the basic skills needed to teach yourself more. It is my hope that some of the information here will help others learn some of these foundation concepts and make these topics less intimidating. 

 

Contact:

Christopher A. Varnon
Assistant Professor
Laboratory of Comparative Psychology and Behavioral Ecology
Department of Psychology
Converse College
580 E. Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302
Christopher.Varnon@Converse.edu