Our laboratory focuses on the quantitative analysis of operant behavior.  Most of our research uses an Evolutionary Theory of Behavior Dynamics (ETBD; McDowell, 2004, 2013) to animate virtual organisms in order to make predictions about live organisms' behavior.

Our ETBD is a selectionist theory based on evolutionary principles.  The theory consists of three simple rules (selection, reproduction, and mutation), which operate on the genotypes (a 10 digit, binary bit string) and phenotypes (integer representations of binary bit strings) of potential behaviors in a population.  In all studies thus far, the behavior of virtual organisms animated by ETBD have shown conformance "to every empirically valid equation of matching theory, exactly and wihout systematic error" (McDowell, 2013, pg. 731).

In addition to our studies with virtual organisms, we have been running experiments with human participants.  We look forward to using the data acquired from humans to test novel predictions made by ETBD and add to the fairly sparse literature on human operant behavior in laboratory settings.