People

Koda licking Jeff

Dr. Jeffrey R. Stevens

Dr. Jeff Stevens

Dr. Stevens is the director of the Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab. He received his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Minnesota in 2002. He then spent four years as a Ruth L Kirschstein postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. From 2006-2011, he held a research scientist position in the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

Dr. Stevens is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and is a faculty member in the Center for Brain, Biology & Behavior. He is interested in the evolution of cognition and decision making in humans and other animals. At the moment, his research focuses on cooperation, intertemporal choice, risky choice, and social contact. He has studied these topics in over a dozen species of primates, birds, fish, and now dogs.

Research team

Elise Thayer

Elise Thayer

Elise is a PhD student who graduated from UNL in 2017 with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She studied the effects of nature on decision making in the ADML her senior year, and stayed on post-bacc to venture into the realms of animal behavior and community outreach. Elise is excited to further explore human decision making in a variety of contexts, including food choices and human-animal interactions.

London Wolff

London Wolff

London is a PhD student who graduated with honors in Biology and Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation from Canisius College in 2016. She completed her senior thesis on the affects of the domestication process on dogs’ social cognitive skills. Subsequently she researched decision making with orangutans and dolphins as well as long-tailed macaque social structure at the Indianapolis Zoo. London is interested in exploring how social structure and developmental differences of individuals across and within species impact their decision making processes, specifically looking at impulsivity and risk taking.

Kylie Hughes

Kylie Hughes

Meredith Batten

Meredith Batten

Meredith is a senior studying veterinary science with a minor in animal science. She plans to attend veterinary school and then specialize in a specific field. She is particularly interested in ophthalmology. Meredith is excited to discover ways in which understanding canine cognition can improve how veterinarians care for dogs.

Toria Biancalana

Toria Biancalana

Toria is a junior at UNL studying Fisheries and Wildlife with minors in Conservation Biology and Psychology. She has 3 cats all under a year old and they are the light of her life! She enjoys sand volleyball, the outdoors, but she is all for a lazy day watching Disney movies! Her end career goal is to study the interactions between humans and large marine mammals, and to see how we influence each other.

Haley Hays

Haley Hays

Haley is an undergraduate student from Alma, Nebraska. She is a Psychology major and plans to attend PA school after graduation. Haley is interested in learning more about canine cognition and human interaction. She hopes to use the things she learns in her future career.

Maggie Kempf

Maggie Kempf

Maggie is an undergraduate student from Maryville, Missouri and is studying biology and Spanish. She plans to attend medical school after she graduates. Maggie loves animals which includes her two dogs and five ducks. She is excited to learn more about decision making in dogs and dogs’ influence on humans.

Taylor Schendt

Taylor Schendt

Taylor is an undergraduate student from Omaha, Nebraska. She is studying Psychology with a minor in Business. After graduation, Taylor plans on attending medical school. Taylor is an animal lover and is excited to better understand the way dogs think and how it influences their behaviors.

Destiny Vail

Destiny Vail

Destiny is an undergraduate student from Omaha, Nebraska. She is studying veterinary medicine on the pre-vet track. After graduation, she intends to attend veterinary school and apply canine cognition experience to her future career.

McKenna Yohe

McKenna Yohe

McKenna is an undergraduate student from Etters, Pennsylvania. She majors in Psychology and Veterinary Science and plans to attend Veterinary School. McKenna has enjoyed assisting with research in the Adaptive Decision Making Lab and is excited to keep exploring canine cognition.

Koda

Koda

Koda is a Catahoula leopard dog who acts as a pilot subject and confederate in the dog cognition studies and as the dog intervention in the canine-human interaction studies.  He has received his Canine Good Citizen certification and is a good boy!





Former team members

Megan Bosworth

Megan Bosworth

Maddie Mathias

Maddie Mathias