Goals of Our Lab
In recent years the list of the social emotions of animals has expanded to include positive social instincts like love, attachment, grief, empathy, sympathy, altruistic helpfulness, friendliness, peacemaking, community concern, adherence to community norms, and loyalty to family and friends. Gone forever, apparently, is the idea that mammals are interested in sex, food, dominance and not much more. The primary architects of this dramatic change have been primatologists, field biologists and documentary film makers.
Because this change has been so rapid, it has not yet fully penetrated many subfields of psychology, and as a result one can learn more about the prosocial instincts of animals this year by watching television than by reading textbooks. Only a few laboratory preparations have been developed which allow one to characterize the behavioral properties of the newly discovered social instincts, and neuroscience preparations for prosocial behaviors are virtually nonexistant except in the case of maternal behavior.
Our goal is to develop new behavioral preparations which allow laboratory investigation of the characteristics of animals' prosocial instincts, and new neuroscience preparations that allow investigation of their neural substrates.
Although we have run a psychobiology laboratory for 4 decades, this is a new enterprise for us, and our social behavior projects are still in the pilot test stages. Please look around this site to see what we are doing.
Another one of our goals is to complete this web site, but we're under construction on some pages.