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