Nicole R. Dorey, founder of the Animalia laboratory, teaches courses in psychology and animal behavior. Her research focuses on how humans and non-human animals behave and interact, and what factors influence the behavior and success of individuals in applied contexts. She also has consulted on animal research and training at a variety of zoos and is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist.
Areas of Expertise (7)
Media Appearances (2)
How To Cheer Up A Dolphin In Captivity
Although a chronic liver problem has confined Moonshine to human care for the rest of his life, a research team that includes University of Florida professor of psychology Nicole Dorey and alumna Barbara Perez has developed an enrichment program that includes several custom-made toys.
The Human Touch: New research suggests animals prefer human connections
UF News online
Lindsay Mehrkam, a UF doctoral student in psychology, and psychology professor Nicole Dorey have published a paper in the journal Zoo Biology that examines different types of enrichment preferences in zoo-housed animals.
Functional analysis and operant treatment of food guarding in a pet dogJournal of Applied Behavior Analysis
Lindsay R. Mehrkam, et al.
The present study extended functional analysis (FA) methodology to human-directed resource guarding in a dog in an in-home setting. The subject underwent four conditions including control, attention, escape, and tangible, arranged in a modified FA. The results indicated multiply controlled resource guarding (i.e., escape, attention, and tangible functions). The experimenter then conducted a treatment evaluation involving three function-based treatments in a concurrent multiple baseline design.
An Examination of Shaping with an African Crested Porcupine (Hystrix cristata)Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Eduardo J. Fernandez and Nicole R. Dorey
Shaping through differential reinforcement of successive approximations to a target response has been a cornerstone procedure for the training of novel behavior. However, much of how it has traditionally been implemented occurs through informal observation, rather than any direct, systematic measurement. In the following study, an African crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) was trained to touch and hold to a target for 30 s.
Clicker training does not enhance learning in mixed-breed shelter puppies (Canis familiaris)Journal of Veterinary Behavior
Nicole R. Dorey, et al.
Clicker training has been a popular form of training for decades and is used in zoos, aquariums and shelters. In the first study, we used 30 shelter puppies, naïve to training, that were split into three different groups: clicker + primary reinforcement, vocal praise + primary reinforcement, and primary reinforcement alone. Each puppy was then trained to perform a “stay” command using seven shaping approximation steps.
Function matters: a review of terminological differences in applied and basic clicker training researchPeerJ
Nicole R. Dorey and David J. Cox
In clicker training, animal trainers pair a small device (a “clicker”) with a reward when teaching or maintaining responding. Animal trainers often assume clicker training is a “science-based” way to train animals. But, the few studies that have compared clicker training to a control have not provided evidence that adding a clicker is beneficial to training.
Any reward will do: Effects of a reverse-reward contingency on size preference with pet dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)Learning & Behavior
Jonathan K. Fernand, et al.
The reverse-reward contingency (RRC) task involves presenting subjects with a choice between one plate containing a large amount of food and a second plate containing a small amount of food. Subjects are then required to select the smaller of the two options in order to receive the larger-magnitude reward. The RRC task is a commonly used paradigm for assessing complex cognition, such as inhibitory control, in subjects.