Ashlynn Keller

My Research

My research focuses on visual spatial attention and spatial integration and auditory processing, primarily using operant techniques. I'm also working on extending our research to including neuroimaging techniques. Currently, I focus on pigeons, but I hope to expand my research to starlings and other avian species. Finally, I want to establish a fish research paradigm to continue my passion that developed as an undergraduate.

Tools

Incorporating the touch screen-equipped operant chambers in our lab, my research utilizes computers to systematically present stimuli, reinforce correct behavior, and collect extensive response data for every test session. I spent my first year of graduate school learning to write experimental programs and general-purpose programs in the languages regularly used in the lab. Currently, my experiments are created with the following programs in VB6. In addition to programming, my research uses Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Audition, SIGNAL, Audacity, and MATLAB for stimulus generation. Data analysis is conducted in Excel (with VBA), MATLAB, R Studio, SPSS, SigmaPlot, and Surfer. Recently, our neuroimaging data has also required the use of Vivoquant and AFNI for analysis. Ever an eager student, I await the opportunity to learn another one of the countless tools available in the lab. Additionally, I have previous experience with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

About Me

Born and raised on a dairy farm, I often found myself questioning how animals perceive the world. As an undergraduate student at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), I was able to work in Dr. Caroline DeLong's Comparative Cognition and Perception Lab. Initially, I worked on a previously established shape discrimination task in goldfish (Carassius auratus) before proposing and conducting my own numerosity study with the goldfish. Finally, I conducted a comparative tool use and problem solving study with orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus), raccoons (Procyon lotor), and children. The research in Dr. DeLong's lab drew me toward a career in animal cognition and perception research which I have been working on since I began in Dr. Cook's Avian Cognition Lab in June 2014.

Comparative Cognition Lab

Tufts University

robert.cook@tufts.edu