Faculty Experts - Michael Brown, Ph.D.

Michael Brown, Ph.D.

Michael Brown, Ph.D.
Director, Graduate Programs in Psychology
Department of Psychology
Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Area of Expertise:

  • Animal Cognition
  • Animal Learning
  • Spatial Learning and Cognition


Dr. Brown's research into spatial learning and memory in animals has revealed some interesting parallels to human learning, memory and behavior. His work provides a solid basis for stories on leading research in this field including social working memory, a phenomenon in which the observed behavior of one member of a group influences the behaviors of others. Spatial working memory, a mechanism that avoids redundant actions is another area of focus.


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
  • B.S., University of Michigan

Selected Publications

  • Sturz, B.R., Brown, M.F., and Kelly, D.M. (in press), "Facilitation of learning spatial relations among locations by visual cues: Implications for theoretical accounts of spatial learning," Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, (2009).
  • Brown, M.F., T.N., and Doyle, K.E. "Social effects on spatial choice in the radial arm maze," Learning and Behavior, 37, 269-280
  • Brown, M.F. Farley, R.F. and Lorek, E.J., "Remembrance of places you passed: Social spatial working memory in rats," Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 33, 213-224.
  • Brown, M.F., "Spatial patterns: Behavioral control and cognitive representation," book chapter in E.A. Wasserman and T.R. Zentall (Eds.) Comparative Cognition: Experimental Exploration of Animal Intelligence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Brown, M.F., "Abstracting spatial locations among global locations," book chapter in M. Brown and R.G. Cook (Eds.), Animal Spatial Cognition: Behavioral, Comparative, Computational & Neural Approaches [On-line]; available: www.comparativerecognition.org/asc, 2006.

Selected Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor; Assistant Professor, Villanova University

Selected Research

  • "Animal Behavior Program," National Science Foundation Grant, 2009.
  • Development of Summer Course: "Research Experience in Animal Cognition," Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning, 2006.
  • "A Preliminary Investigation of Social Aspects of Spatial Memoray in Rates," Villanova University Faculty Summer Research Grants, 2005.

About Villanova

Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.

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