Jeff Schank is interested in how complex group and social behaviors emerge from relatively simple rules of individual behavior. His work examines how these rules change in organisms as a consequence of development and social experience. To achieve these ends, he uses individual-based modeling as a tool for analyzing social behavior, discovering individual rules, and revealing how these rules change as a function of development and social experience. Dr. Schank is also interested in the implications of this view for the evolution of social behavior, and has general interests in historical and conceptual issues in the life sciences.
Jay is a PhD student within the Animal Behavior Graduate Group. He received a BA in both psychology and sociology from Florida International University. His research interests involve social networks and modeling the mechanisms that structure social organization in primates. His research analyzes the interactions of simulated monkeys that behave in variable ways in order to model subsequent variation in group dynamics that emerge as the composition of these simulated monkeys changes. Jay is currently working on the development of an agent-based model of the personality, aggression, and conflict intervention behaviors of captive rhesus macaque colonies housed at the California National Primate Research Center. Jay is also the proud adoptive father of a gibbon at Monkey Jungle in Miami, FL.
Matt is interested in the emergence of prosocial behaviors. He received his B.S. in psychology with highest honors at UC Davis worked in the Schank Lab to develop models of human and animal behavior and with John M. Eadie to develop models of waterfowl foraging in the Central Valley of California. His current research work is focused on developing models of social and individual behavior and on correlating biocomputational models with observed social behavior. Matt is the lab’s point person for algorithms, code speed optimization, and hardware development. After escaping the IT world to study psychology, Matt once again frequently finds himself stuck in windowless rooms with stacks of humming computers.
Paul is a doctoral candidate in Psychology (Psychobiology). He is interested in the interplay between environmental structure (including the social environment) and behavior, particularly with regard to evolutionary dynamics, perceptual biases, and decision heuristics. He is using agent-based models to develop insight into these and other complex processes. Some current projects involve research in human mate choice, evolutionary game theory, and spatial cognition. Before his return to academia, Paul lived New York, where he tried to set the record for most jobs and apartments per unit time. He is seven feet tall.
Bert is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy. He is interested in how computation has shed light on conceptual issues in the past and how it can continue to advance current philosophical research in areas such as cognitive modeling, game theory, and social epistemology. He is currently formalizing philosophical claims about knowledge aggregation in terms of agent-based models in order to test the cogency of the relevant intuitions. He is a fan of the metric system and is 185 cm tall.