The Comparative Cognition Laboratory is a part of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at The University of Iowa. Our research concerns the experimental investigation of cognitive processes in adaptive behavior, with an overarching interest in comparing cognition in humans and nonhuman animals. Specific research topics include: category learning, cognitive flexibility, and same-different conceptualization. The evidence that we collect constantly surprises us and forces us to view human cognition in a fresh light. 

News and Announcements

group Bochum

Brains, Birds, Ideas workshop at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Ed and Leyre participated in the Brains, Birds, Ideas workshop at the Ruhr University Bochum, in Germany
post it notes

On the Origin of the Post-it Note: Intelligently Designed?

The Post-it note appears to have been brilliantly designed to permit its grip to be weak and temporary. However, appearances can be deceiving.

In Skeptical Inquirer (July-August 2023 issue) Ed Wasserman writes about how the true origin of the Post-it note debunks the myth of intelligent design, and its evolution agrees with other evidence pointing to context, coincidence, and consequence as more objective and effective determinants of creative innovations.

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pigeon and task visual

Resolving the Associative Learning Paradox

How powerful is associative learning? On the one hand, it powers amazing feats of artificial intelligence. On the other hand, it is deemed to be a simple and limited form of animal and human learning.

In the March 2023 issue of Current Biology, Wasserman et al. show that, via associative learning, pigeons learn a novel categorization task that can stump more sophisticated forms of learning.