Graduate Faculty Memberships
Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
Experimental behavioral ecology, foraging behavior; animal decision-making; evolutionary approaches to animal cognition; learning and memory as adaptations
My research blends mathematical and experimental analyses to address a range of issues in behavioral ecology, especially feeding behavior. My experiments use psychological techniques, and this brings the conceptual approach of behavioral ecology into contact with the more mechanistic approach of psychology. Current interests in my laboratory are 1) combining evolutionary and mechanistic analyses of behavior using animal impulsivity as a worked example; 2) evolutionary models of "cognitive" phenomena, e.g. learning, memory and decision-making; 3) Experimental games, including experimental analysis of putatively cooperative games such as the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma and related ideas.
Polnaszek T.J., Stephens D.W. 2014 Why not lie? Costs enforce honesty in an experimental signaling game. Proc. R. Soc. B 281: 20132457. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/
Polanszek, T.J., Stephens D. W. 2014. Receiver tolerance for imperfect signal reliability: results from experimental signaling games. Animal Behaviour 94: 1-8. (Selected for recognition in journal’s “In Focus” section).
Dunlap A. S., Stephens D. W. 2014. Experimental evolution of prepared learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111: 11750-11755 doi:10.1073/pnas.1404176111
Wikenheiser, A. M., Stephens, D. W. and A. R. Redish 2013. Subjective costs drive overly-patient foraging strategies in rats on an intertemporal foraging task. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110:8308-8313
Stephens, D. W. 2013 Writing an effective NSF preproposal. Amazon.com
Dunlap, A. S. and Stephens D. W. 2011. Tracking a changing environment: optimal sampling, adaptive memory and overnight effects. Behavioural Processes.Published online, November 2011.
Stevens, J.R. & Stephens, D.W. (2010). The adaptive nature of impulsivity. In: Impulsivity: the behavioral and neurological science of discounting. (Madden GJ, & Bickel WK, eds). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. pp. 361-388.
Dunlap, A. S. & Stephens, D. W. (2009) Components of change in the evolution of learning and non-learning. Proceedings of the Royal Society (B) Published online 17 June 2009.
Stephens, D. W. 2008. Decision ecology: foraging and the ecology of animal decision-making. Cognitive and affective behavioral neuroscience (CABN) 8: 475-484.
Stephens, D. W., J. S. Brown and R. C. Ydenberg (eds.) 2007. Foraging: behavior and ecology. University of Chicago Press: Chicago. xvi + 586 page
Stephens, D. W., C. M. McLinn and J. R. Stevens 2002. Discounting and reciprocity in an Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. Science 298:2216-2218
Stephens, D. W. and J. R. Krebs 1986. Foraging theory. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ. xiv + 247 pages.