2018 News

Congratulations to Molly Flessert, who was featured in a story about GSU grad students who are supported by the Second Century Initiative at GSU. The article discussed Molly's ongoing research looking at face pareidolia, which is seeing faces where they really are not. Congrats Molly! Click here to link to the story.




COMIC lab had a very successful Psychonomics conference, with presentations from many of us, and a nice lab dinner with others from GSU. Excellent work everyone!


And, very special congratulations to Dr. Bonnie Perdue and Dr. Audrey Parrish, both of whom were elected as Fellows of the Psychonomic Society. Very well deserved honor for them both!








Dr. Kelly presenting his work on serial memory recall in children at Psychonomics.











Congrats to Brielle James, who was a finalist in the student paper contest, presenting her work on memory interference effects in the chimpanzee Sherman.










Dr. Parrish presenting her work on the density bias in primates at Psychonomics.











Will Whitham presenting his research on working memory in monkeys.










Mike Beran gave an invited talk as part of a conference on economic behavior in non-human primates in Florence. It was a great meeting and many excellent papers were presented.











Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference 2018, with posters by Courtney Creamer, Myah Vogt, and Yvonne Sims!





















COMIC lab members took part in a STEAM outreach program at a local elementary school, highlighting research with primatses and other aspects of psychology.























Congratulations to Brielle James, who successfully defended her Master Thesis at the end of the summer. She did a fantastic job, and is now headed into her "second, third year" of graduate school, as she likes to call it.











In August, Mike Beran's book on self-control was published by Academic Press. Thanks to everyone who helped to make that happen!










Molly Flessert presented her research on face pareidolia at the meeting of the Animal Behavior Society in August.








At the APA meeting in San Franciso in August, COMIC was very well represented in a panel on animal cognition. Presentations by Dr. Perdue and Dr. Parrish along with work from Dr. Debbie Kelly, Dr. Irene Pepperberg, and Dr. Reggie Gazes. Great session!









Myah Vogt was awarded a summer Brains and Behavior Fellowship to support her research at the LRC during the summer break. As part of this, she worked on a project about capuchin monkey memory, and presented this poster.








Congratulation to Brielle James who was awarded a Science ATL Communication Fellowship. She will join a program in which she learns about science communication and trains to engage the media and public about science. For more on the program, see https://scienceatl.org/scicommfellow/

An excellent new story came out by Georgia State about the Language Research Center, and Duane Rumbaugh. Features comments from David Washburn, Charles Menzel, and Michael Beran. You can read it here.

Congratulations to Courney Creamer and Rebecca Moss, who were selected as Pipeline Scholars by the Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology (Division 6 of APA). This program recognizes undergraduate and post bac students for their research accomplishments and their potential as future scholars. Great job!


Succesful GSURC 2018 (GSU Undergraduate Research Conference)!


Myah Vogt presenting our work with children and cognitive control.











Becca Moss presenting work on agency in preschool children.









Dr. Bonnie Perdue and other researchers who work with animals traveled to Capital Hill to speak with congressional aides about the value and need for animal research. The Committeee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) is organized by the APA. Good work, Dr. Perdue!









COMIC research on display! We are pleased to be featured as part of the Think Tank at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC. Dr. Parrish stands by the exhibit.











While there, Audrey also had the chance to talk to the public about some of the science we are doing with the apes at the Smithsonian National Zoo. Right now, we are studying metacognition in the orangutans, to see how well they understand what they do and do not know.









How do COMIC members celebrate their anniversary? Well, with conference presentations in the same session, of course! Dr. Bonnie Perdue and Dr. Andrew Kelly, celebrating their science (and marriage) at the SSPP meeting in San Antonio!





















COMIC members presented a number of papers and posters at the SEPA meeting in Charleston, SC. Dr. Parrish also organized a symposium on prospective memory at the meeting, and LRC Director David Washburn gave a paper about Duane Rumbaugh. Some photos below.


Courtney Creamer












David Washburn


























Session about Duane Rumbaugh and Animal Welfare











Kristin French












Travis Smith










Prospective memory session participants Jon Crystal, Jason Hicks, Jill Shelton, Jessie Martin, Andrew Kelly, and Audrey Parrish














Brielle James











Alexandria Guild and Audrey Parrish










Bill Hopkins and Mike Beran published a paper on the relationship between chimpanzees' self-control and intelligence that received press coverage. For example, in articles on Inverse.com and Alphr.com.

Brielle James represented COMIC lab at the North Georgia Regional Annual Memory Meeting (NGRAMM) with her paper entitled "Post-event memory interference in chimpanzee food memory."

Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Kelly, who was promoted to Associate Professor at Georgia Gwinnett College. Andrew also was elected as member-at-large of the Executive Committee of the Southeastern Psychological Association and will serve a three-year term in that capacity. Way to go Andrew!

Victoria Kelly has accepted a research assistant position at Temple University. Victoria was a research assistant in the COMIC lab for two years, and will continue to conduct psychological research in her new job. Congratulations Victoria!


2017 News

Congratulations to Travis Smith, who has accepted an offer for a postdoctoral associate position at Kansas State University. Travis will stay at the LRC and GSU until the end of the spring, and then move to his new position!

Travis Smith, Brielle James, and Michael Beran presented papers and posters at the Comparative Cognition Society meeting and the Psychonomic Society meeting in Vancouver in November.

Travis presenting a paper on stimulus relations.










Brielle with a poster on metacognitive judgments by humans during team trivia.










Mike presenting a paper on metacognition in preschool children.











The Georgia State Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) was in late October, and COMIC students presented their work.

Courtney Creamer presenting research about the reverse-reward task with children









Rebecca Moss presenting work about trivia game playing and metacognition in undergraduate students.









On October 20, the LRC hosted the LANA (Learning about Apes and other Nonhuman Animals) conference in Atlanta. This was a chance to reflect largely on the career of Duane Rumbaugh, and the research accompishments of Lana chimpanzee. LRC researchers and many others gave presentations, and it was a wonderful event. The panel of speakers is shown below.



COMIC Lab at the LANA conference:







Congratulations to Will Whitham for defending his master's thesis entitled “Randomness and structure to humans and rhesus macaques”!

COMIC lab welcomes Molly Flessert as a new graduate student in the Cognitive Sciences program at GSU! Molly comes to GSU from the NIH, where she was a post-baccalaureate research fellow.

Dr. Duane Rumbaugh was the founder of the Language Research Center, and he was a mentor and friend to many of us at the LRC and in the COMIC lab. Duane passed away in early July, and he will be greatly missed. Dr. Rumbaugh's passion for studying primates and his curiosity about what they could learn to do (and how they learned to do it!) was infectious.

Dr. Rumbaugh always encouraged his students to ask questions they found interesting, and he supported them when they pursued those questions. His guidance and mentoring were crucial in what COMIC lab now represents. Three of us (Beran, Perdue, and Parrish) are honored to have served as the Duane M. Rumbaugh Fellow at various points in our careers, and we hope to carry forward Dr. Rumbaugh's passion for comparative psychology.




Congratulations to Audrey Parrish! She is the recipient of the 2016 Early Career Award from the Society for Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science (Division 3 of the APA). This award recognizes the best paper published by an early career investigator. Her paper that was recognized was:

Parrish, A. E., Brosnan, S. F., & Beran, M. J. (2015). Do you see what I see? A comparative investigation of the Delboeuf illusion in humans (Homo sapiens), rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 41, 395-405.

Congratulations to Brielle James who is the inaugural recipient of the Stan Kuczaj Memorial Travel Grant to the Comparative Cognition Conference this year.  This award will help support her attendance and presentation at the conference. You can read more about this award at http://www.nmmf.org/kuczaj-memorial-fund.html. Kristin French also presented a poster, and Travis Smith and Audrey Parrish presented papers as part of the meeting.

New from the Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting (SEPA):

Many of us in COMIC presented our work at SEPA this year. Below are some photos from poster sessions, and from presentations that we gave. Among those, Dr. Beran presented the senior keynote address at the Southeastern Workers in Memory session, and his talk was entitled "Prospecting for prospective memory in children and nonhuman primates." In addition, Dr. Beran was elected as President of SEPA for 2018-2019.





2016 News


Audrey Parrish and Travis Smith presented at the Psychonomics Society meeting in Boston.












Michael Beran presented an invited address for the McCahan Colloquium Series at Furman University in November. He talked about prospective cognitive processes in nonhuman primates. In addition to meeting and talking with many outstanding students and faculty, he had the chance to see the boyhood home of John B. Watson, who graduated from Furman University.


Anamaria Otalora-Garcia presenting at the Georgia State Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC).











Victoria Kelly also presented at PURC.









Click here for an NPR story on chimpanzee research featuring LRC chimpanzees and Dr. Beran

Audrey Parrish's dissertation research on illusions in monkeys was featured in APA's PeePs (Particularly Exciting Experiments in Psychology). Click here to read it.

Congratulations to Brielle James who was awarded a travel grant to the International Congress of Psychology in Yokohama, Japan. The award was from the National Science Foundation in support of the APA-USNC International Travel-Mentoring Program. Brielle gave a paper about her research and engaged in a mentoring program to promote the development of international collaborations and networking skills in early career psychologists.   

Michael Beran presented a Keynote Address at a meeting entitled Traveling in Time: The Construction of Past and Future Events Across Domains which was held at the Center on Autobiographical Memory Research, Aarhus University. Click here for details about the meeting.

Michael Beran and Charles Menzel published a short online article about the value of nonhuman primate research and the comparison of human performance and nonhuman animal performance. You can read the article by clicking this link.

Congratulations to Audrey Parrish, who has accepted a tenure-track, assistant professor position in the Department of Psychology at The Citadel starting in August!

Some of our research was featured in an APS Observer article on Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science, written by Gil Einstein and Cindi May. You can read the article here.

In April, Brielle James and Michael Beran were invited to participate in Emory University's Mechanisms of Learning Forum 2016: Making and Manipulating Memories. Dr. Beran gave a presentation on chimpanzee prospective memory and metamemory, and Brielle James worked with other invited graduate students in group-based hypothesis generation workshops.

Research from COMIC lab and in collaboration with David Smith and Barbara Church was featured in APA's PeePs (Particularly Exciting Experiments in Psychology) press release. Click here to read it.

Our research on planning in children and nonhuman primates also was featured in APA's PeePs. Click here to read it.

2015 News

Click here for a recent article by Dr. Beran and other researchers who work with chimpanzees, defending the need and the excellence of laboratory research to study chimpanzee cognition.














Congratulations to Dr. Audrey Parrish! Audrey successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on Friday the 13th of November (she showed true grit in doing it on such a date as that!). She did an excellent job, and has now completed all requirements for the program. The COMIC lab is incredibly proud of Dr. Parrish.






















The COMIC lab was represented by three students, Sarah Futch (top left), Melany Love (left), and Bradlyn Walker (top right), at the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) at Georgia State on October 30th. They each presented some of their past or ongoing work in the lab.










Click here for a short article about chimpanzees that pass the Marshmallow Test.

Click here to see a video about Dr. Perdue's research with sun bears at Zoo Atlanta.

The Language Research Center lexigram symbol system was featured at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta all summer. It highlighted how our apes, and others, have learned to use symbols in ways that illustrate the nature of language, and what animals can do to communicate with each other and with us.








Congratulations to Sara Futch, an intern in the COMIC lab in the summer of 2014 and 2015 and an undergraduate student at Wofford College. 

Her research at the LRC, at Zoo Atlanta, and at Wofford College was featured in the Wofford College Newsroom.  Click here to read the article.  Congrats Sara!







In August, Michael Beran accepted a new position at Georgia State University, becoming Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology.  He also will continue to serve as the Associate Director of the Language Research Center.

Bonnie Perdue was elected as a Member-at-Large to the Executive Council of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology at its 107th annual meeting in April of this year.  She will serve a three-year term on the Council.

Audrey Parrish now serves on the inaugural editorial board for Translational Issues in Psychological Science, a new journal from the American Psychological Association that publishes basic scientific research where each issue has a different guest editor working with a team of associate editors who are advanced predoctoral or early postdoctoral scholars. Each article will focus on extending findings in psychological science to a broader audience including, but not limited to, public interest, practitioners, and scientific scholars.  Audrey served as part of the working group that established this new journal.  For more information about the journal, click here



At the Southeastern Psychological Association meeting in Hilton Head, SC, in March, we organized a symposium about why language-trained chimpanzees were still important and were still teaching us new things about primate cognition.  In the photo - back row, left to right - Ken Sayers, Karen Brakke, David Washburn, and Michael Beran; front row, left to right - Bonnie Perdue, Lisa Heimbauer, and Audrey Parrish







2014 News

Congratulations to Ted Evans, who has taken a new position at Georgia Tech as a Compliance Specialist.  Ted has been at the Language Research Center for almost 10 years, and has been a central and critical part of the research team and critical in keeping the LRC up and running.  He will be missed, and we wish him the best as he heads off to his new administrative position.  We jokingly hope he does not really end up looking like this while working in administration!









Audrey Parrish received a travel award to the APA meeting in Washington DC as part of the APA mentoring program for graduate students supported by the Science Directorate.  She presented her ongoing work on perception and perceptual illusions in nonhuman primates.








Michael Beran was elected as Member-at-Large for the Executive Council of Division 3 of the APA for 2014-2017.

Michael Beran visited Reed College in April as an invited speaker in the Behavior Economics Lecture Series.  He presented a paper entitled “Behavioral Economics from the Chimpanzee’s Perspective.”  While there, he also gave a lecture in the psychology department entitled "Worth Waiting For: Studies of Primate Self-Control and “Willpower.” 


Congratulations to Audrey Parrish!  She was awarded the Richard Morrell Outstanding Graduate Student in Psychology Award from the Department of Psychology at Georgia State.  This honor is based on a doctoral student's record in the areas of research/professional development, instruction, and service. With more than 100 graduate students in the department of psychology, this was an excellent recognition of Audrey's exceptional scholarly output, her effectiveness in her first course as instructor of record, and her extensive service to the university and to the discipline.


Michael Beran served as President and delivered the Presidential Address at the annual meeting of the Southern Society for Philosophy of Psychology.  His paper was entitled "To err is (not only) human: Fallibility (and success) in comparative approaches to cognition." 

At the same meeting, Audrey Parrish presented an invited paper entitled "Context counts! Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) misperceive food amounts based on presentation style" for which she received a graduate student travel award, and Ted Evans presented an invited paper entitled "Language-trained chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) remember to remember in an analog of a human prospective memory task."

Bonnie Perdue served as the Program Chair in Psychology for this conference and organized the general program and invited many of the speakers.  It was an outstanding program! 

2013 News

Congratulations to Audrey Parrish who received the APA Division 3's Best Early Career Presentation Award for her presentation at the Fall Meeting of the Comparative Cognition Society, in Toronto.  This was the first time this award has been given at this meeting, and Audrey received it for her paper entitled "Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Transfer Tokens with Social Partners to Accumulate Rewards in a Self-Control Task" - coauthored with Bonnie Perdue, Ted Evans, and Michael Beran. 


Congratulations to Audrey Parrish who was named the Duane M. Rumbaugh Fellow at Georgia State University.  This fellowship is awarded to an outstanding young scientist pursuing new insights into Emergent behaviors and the Rational Behaviorism that Dr. Rumbaugh has promoted throughout his career.  Her research program for this fellowship is designed to examine contextual influences on perception and judgment. The Selection Committee noted that they were "particularly impressed with her description of how her research not only addresses an emergent cognitive competency, but also promises to illuminate the basic perceptual-learning mechanisms that underlie emergents themselves."  Audrey presented some of this research in a poster session at the 2013 meeting of the Association of Consumer Research, in Chicago.  Click here for an article about Audrey's research on the GSU web page about chimpanzees and how they perceive food items. 



Congratulations to Bonnie Perdue, who has taken a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Agnes Scott College! 

Ted Evans received a Staff Development Award from Georgia State University in August to support his ongoing research efforts at the Language Research Center, and his conference travel to present that research to the scientific community.




In May 2013, LRC Founder and Director Duane Rumbaugh was back at the LRC visiting and discussing new research projects with all of us.  And, of course, he spent some time with the chimpanzees!








Congratulations to Bonnie Perdue for being awarded the 2013 Richard M. Griffith Memorial Award from the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology.  This award is given for the most outstanding paper by an advanced graduate student or early career investigator.

Michael Beran gave at invited lecture as a B. F. Skinner Lecturer for the annual meeting of the Association of Behavior Analysts International.

2012 News

Congratulations to Audrey Parrish, who completed her qualifying examination for the doctoral program in December, 2012. 


Congratulations to Bonnie Perdue who represented the Language Research Center and Georgia State University through the CARE program of the American Psychological Association when she traveled to Capitol Hill to advocate for comparative psychological science in October, 2012. 

Click here to see a feature on the APA website. 


Audrey Parrish is serving on the APAGS Journal Working Group to establish a new APA journal for students that will likely be titled Translational Issues in Psychological Science.  This is an important effort that will show how psychological research relates to real world problems.  Click here for more information.


Image Bonnie fellowship

Congratulations to Bonnie Perdue who was named the Duane M. Rumbaugh Fellow at Georgia State University.  This fellowship is awarded to a young scientist pursuing new insights into Emergent behaviors and the Rational Behaviorism that Dr. Rumbaugh has promoted throughout his career.  Dr. Perdue is specifically interested in studying whether monkeys actually prefer having choices.  She will use computer tests in which monkeys choose their task order to also ask them if they like having this "choice for choice" versus just being given tasks. 

Congratulations also to Bonnie Perdue who received a travel grant from NSF and APA for the International Congress of Psychology meeting in South Africa and another travel grant from APA for attendance at the 2012 annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Michael Beran also received an APA-USNC Mentoring Award (sponsored by the National Science Foundation) for attending the International Congress of Psychology and mentoring early-career psychologists.

Audrey Parrish represented APAGS at the spring 2012 Consolidated Meetings of the American Psychological Association. The Consolidated Meetings are important opportunities for professional development and for participation in the leadership of the APA, and Audrey was one of only a small number of graduate students who were in attendance at this meeting.

Older News

In October, 2009, Michael Beran published an article about ongoing research in Eye on Psi Chi magazine, the official magazine of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.  If you are interested in reading  it, click this link.

In October 2008, Michael Beran was invited to visit the University of Memphis to give two presentations.  One was on numerosity skills of animals, and the other was about metacognition and self-control.  He had a great time meeting people working in cognitive science as part of the Institute for Intelligent Systems.

In April 2008, Michael Beran was invited to give the Keynote Address at the 16th Annual Student Research Conference at Southeast Missouri State University.  It was quite a thrill, and he really enjoyed meeting everyone at Southeast.  The mural below advertised the conference.