John E. R. Staddon

John E. R. Staddon

James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1964


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, 2008and 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 Scientific Method: How Science Works, Fails to Work, and Pretends to Work. published by Routledge in December, 2017.

Staddon, JER. "On the notion of cause, with applications to behaviorism." Behaviorism 1.2 (January 1, 1972): 25-63.

Staddon, JER. "Reinforcement omission on temporal go–no-go schedules." Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 18 (1972): 223-229. (Academic Article)

Staddon, JER. "A note on the analysis of behavioral sequences in Columba livia." Animal Behaviour 20 (1972): 284-292. (Academic Article)

Innis, NK, and Staddon, JER. "Temporal tracking on cyclic-interval reinforcement schedules." Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 16 (1971): 411-423. (Academic Article)

Staddon, JER, and Simmelhag, V. "“Superstitious” sequences." Proceedings of the 78th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (1970): 757-758. (Academic Article)

Innis, NK, and Staddon, JER. "Sequential effects in cyclic-interval schedules." Psychonomic Science 19 (1970): 313-315. (Academic Article)

Staddon, JER. "Temporal effects of reinforcement: A negative “frustration” effect." Learning and Motivation 1 (1970): 227-247. (Academic Article) Open Access Copy

Staddon, JER. "Effect of reinforcement duration on fixed-interval responding." Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 13 (1970): 9-11. (Academic Article)