Christopher A. Varnon

Comparative Cognitive-Behavioral Psychologist

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 presently completing a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University in the Comparative-Neurobiological Psychology program. 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 cognition. 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 tropical cockroaches as invertebrate models of behavior.

I obtained this website primarily to share information about apparatus design and automation. There is relatively little instructional material in this area, 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
Laboratory of Comparative Psychology and Behavioral Biology
Department of Psychology
Oklahoma State University
116 N. Murray, Stillwater, OK 74078
varnon@okstate.edu