Christopher A Varnon

Christopher A Varnon
Converse College · Department of Psychology

22.2
 · 
Doctor of Philosophy, Psychology

About

16
Publications
6,657
Reads
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109
Citations
Research Experience
August 2017 - present
Converse College
Position
  • Assistant Professor
August 2017 - present
Converse College
Position
  • Assistant Professor
August 2012 - May 2017
Oklahoma State University - Stillwater
Position
  • Graduate Student Instructor
Description
  • PSYC 1113: Introduction to Psychology, PSYC 3073: Neurobiological Psychology, PSYC 3113: Comparative Psychology, PSYC 3214: Quantitative Methods
Education
August 2011 - May 2017
August 2011 - May 2013
August 2008 - May 2011
University of North Texas
Field of study
  • Behavior Analysis

Publications

Publications (16)
Article
Full-text available
The use of the Propeller Experiment Controller to create inexpensive teaching laboratories in behavior is described. Pre-written programs are provided for unique classroom experiments in habituation and classical conditioning. Several programs are also provided to recreate the traditional student operant conditioning laboratory. Video tutorials are...
Article
Full-text available
Interval timing is a key element of foraging theory, models of predator avoidance, and competitive interactions. Although interval timing is well documented in vertebrate species, it is virtually unstudied in invertebrates. In the present experiment, we used free-flying honey bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) as a model for timing behaviors. Subjects...
Article
Full-text available
Free-flying honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) reactions were observed when presented with varying schedules of post-reinforcement delays of 0 s, 300 s, or 600 s. We measured inter-visit-interval, response length, inter-response-time, and response rate. Honey bees exposed to these post-reinforcement delay intervals exhibit one of several patterns compa...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this experiment was to investigate whether honey bees (Apis mellifera) are able to use social discriminative stimuli in a spatial aversive conditioning paradigm. We tested bees’ ability to avoid shock in a shuttle box apparatus across multiple groups when either shock, or the absence of shock, was associated with a live hive mate, a...
Poster
We developed a novel method to study learning in bumble bees. Bumble bees lift a leg in response to perceived threat. This DLR response is displayed in Bombus species, but not in honey bees. The leg-lift response is found in both captive and wild bees, though captive bees show a much higher response rate. Both captive and wild bees habituate at a s...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) learning is a highly specialized form of conditioning found across taxa that leads to avoidance of an initially neutral stimulus, such as taste or odor, that is associated with, but is not the cause of, a detrimental health condition. This study examines if honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) develop ethanol...
Article
The Propeller Experiment Controller: Automation for the Comparative Analysis of Behavior in Research and Teaching is written primarily for students and faculty who wish to incorporate a low-cost experimental controller into their research and teaching programs. Inexpensive forms of automation, such as the Arduino (Arduino; New York, New York) and R...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral research is often enhanced by automated techniques, where experimental parameters and detection of behavior are controlled by electromechanical systems. Automated research promotes refinements in measurement, greater experimental control, longer durations of data collection, reduction of observer fatigue, and may permit new types of rese...
Article
The current study reports 2 experiments investigating learned helplessness in the honey bee (Apis mellifera ligustica). In Experiment 1, we used a traditional escape method but found the bees' activity levels too high to observe changes due to treatment conditions. The bees were not able to learn in this traditional escape procedure; thus, such pro...
Method
I created an open-source syringe pump for my research in animal behavior. In my work, I often want to deliver a precise quantity of fluid, often as a reward for an animal. There are a few ways to do this, but I prefer syringe pumps as they are flexible and precise. Unfortunately, commercial syringe pumps can be rather expensive, and often lack the...
Chapter
Full-text available
Relatively little research has been conducted on rattlesnake learning. We used an operant conditioning paradigm to investigate the ability of Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox) to learn an arbitrary behavior to thermoregulate. In our procedure, subjects were placed in a heated apparatus and were rewarded with a 3°C reduction in am...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the effects of ethanol on reversal learning in honey bees (Apis mellifera anatolica). The rationale behind the present experiment was to determine the species generality of the effect of ethanol on response inhibition. Subjects were originally trained to associate either a cinnamon or lavender odor with a sucrose feeding before a re...
Article
Full-text available
Honey bees provide a model system to elucidate the relationship between sociality and complex behaviors within the same species, as females (workers) are highly social and males (drones) are more solitary. We report on aversive learning studies in drone and worker honey bees (Apis mellifera anatolica) in escape, punishment and discriminative punish...
Article
Full-text available
Problem statement: This study highlights the potential of using silver vine as an enrichment additive for felines. Approach: A literature review was conducted on the use of silver vine since 1973. The articles were categorized into studies concerned with behavior, biological effects, beneficial uses, plant and chemical studies. Results: We found su...
Article
Full-text available
This review briefly surveys the range of conditioning methods used in the study of learning for economically important farm animals. We begin by discussing the importance of conditioning methods, provide an overview of non-associative and associative learning and follow by showing how these methods are applied to chickens, cows, horses, goats and s...

Questions and Answers

Question & Answers (38)
Question
Hi all,
I am analyzing a learning experiment, and I am having trouble building a comprehensive analysis that I think readers/reviewers would find accessible. I was hoping for some suggestions or other insight.
The dependent variable for this experiment is the percent duration a correct response was made during a repeated measurement period (trial). The DV was originally scored in seconds, but is easier to interpret in terms of percent correct. I also have a group factor with 1 control group and 8 experimental groups. I am analyzing my data with a repeated measures linear regression through a mixed linear model approach. The regression is PercentCorrect ~ Group + Trial + Group * Trial. These parameters are all important to the theory and questions I am asking. It is simple to include my control group in the intercept, and thus the rest of the regression equation refers to difference from the control group. However, I lack a convincing way to compare the 8 experimental groups to each other. I need to consider both the main effect and the Group * Trial interactions. Generally, there appears to be little differences across group, nor is there much difference in Group * Trial interaction, but the pairwise tests seem to be needed to be comprehensive, and I can already imagine getting that comment from reviewers for this and similar experiments. I would prefer keeping this analysis in a regression framework as this seems to be much easier to interpret and relate to the graphs than a repeated measures ANOVA. I am conducting my analysis in the StatsModels package for Python. I also have access to R and SPSS, but I am less familiar with these tools. 
I appreciate any considerations you may have. Thanks in advance.

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The goal of this project is to provide technology and instructional material that can be of use to researchers and teachers with an interest in comparative psychology, behavior analysis, and behavioral ecology. A major emphasis of this project is the Propeller Experiment Controller, free software created for the inexpensive Propeller microcontroller that can be used to automate behavioral experiments for laboratory or field research, as well as classroom exercises. More information regarding the Propeller Experiment Controller can be seen at my website here: http://cavarnon.com/experiment-controller/
Project
This line of research broadly focuses on learning and behavior in invertebrates. The research emphasizes using invertebrates as a model of substance use, and the differences in psychological processes between invertebrates and traditional vertebrate model organisms.