Timothy Hackenberg

Professor of Psychology
Behavior analysis, comparative cognition, behavioral economics

Curriculum Vitae
Learning & Adaptive Behavior Laboratory

Education and Professional Positions

1982, B.A., Psychology, University of California—Irvine
1987, Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, Temple University
1988-90, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota
1990-2009, Assistant, Associate, Full Professor, University of Florida
2009-present, Professor, Reed College

Recent Projects and Positions

Principal Investigator, NIH Grant: An Animal Model of Gambling in a Laboratory-Based Token Economy, 2020-2023. 

Associate Editor, Frontiers in Psychology, Comparative Psychology Section


I teach courses in learning and comparative cognition; or, how evolution and life experience combine to produce psychological process, including remembering, problem solving, decision making, categorizing, symbolic and relational learning, and communicating. I take a strong comparative and evolutionary approach, trying to understand general principles of adaptive behavior that cut across species and habitats, while at the same time, appreciating the unique adaptations of a given animal in its world. (Follow link to course description for additional details.)

PSY 373 Learning
PSY 330 Comparative Cognition
PSY 392 History and Systems of Psychology
PSY 415 Research Methods in Learning & Comparative Psychology


Work in my lab is concerned broadly with cross-species analysis of adaptive behavior. One line of research centers on adaptive decision-making, including self-control and risky choice. A second line of research concerns social behavior, including cooperation, reciprocity, and the reward value of social interaction. A third line of research centers on behavioral economics, aimed at characterizing relationships between economic behavior (demand, substitution, savings, preference) and economic variables (prices, wages, taxes, interest, framing). In addition to these empirical pursuits, I am also interested in the history and philosophy of science; in particular, how psychological principles can help us to understand science as a social process.

Visit the Learning & Adaptive Behavior Laboratory website

Recent Publications

See CV for complete publications list.

(Students' names appear in bold type.)

Hackenberg, T.D., Vanderhooft, L., Huang, J., Wagar, M., Alexander, J., & Tan, L. (In Press). Social preference in rats.  Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Hackenberg, T.D., Vanderhooft, L., Huang, J., Wagar, M., Alexander, J., & Tan, L. (2021). Social preference in rats.  Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 115, 634-649.

Kirkman, C.Wan, H., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2022).  A behavioral-economic analysis of demand and preference for social and food reinforcement in rats.  Learning and Motivation, 77, 101780.

Wan, H., Kirkman, C., Jensen, G., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2021). Failure to find altruistic sharing in rats.  Frontiers in Psychology, 12:696025. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.696025

Vanderhooft, L., Tan, L., & Hackenberg, T.D. (2019). Demand for social contact in rats: Toward a quantitative analysis of social reinforcement value. Mexcian Journal of Behavior Analysis, 45, 330-358.

Hackenberg, T.D. (2018). Token Reinforcement: Translational Research and Application. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 51, 393-435.

Hiura, L., Tan, L., & Hackenberg, T.D. (2018). To free or not to free: Social reinforcement effects in the social-release paradigm with rats.  Behavioural Processes, 152, 37-46.

Morales, I., Currie, P. J., Hackenberg, T. D., & Pastor, R. (2017). Opioidergic and dopaminergic modulation of cost/benefit decision-making in Long Evans rats. Physiology and Behavior, 179, 442-450.

Andrade, L.F., & Hackenberg, T.D. (2017). Substitution effects in a generalized token economy with pigeons.  Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 107, 123-135.

Tan, L., & Hackenberg, T.D. (2016). Functional Analysis of Mutual Behavior in Laboratory Rats (Rattus norvegicus), Journal of Comparative Psychology, 130, 12-23.

Tan, L., & Hackenberg, T.D. (2015). Pigeons' Demand and Preference for Specific and Generalized Conditioned Reinforcers in a Token Economy. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 104, 296-314.

Bullock, C.E., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2015). The several roles of stimuli in token reinforcement. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 103, 269-287.

DeFulio, A., Yankelevitz, R. L., Bullock, C. E., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2014). Generalized conditioned reinforcement with pigeons in a token economy. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. 102, 26-46.

Hackenberg, T. D. (2014). The outside story: A review of Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds by Louise Barrett. The Behavior Analyst, 37, 125-131.

Tan, L., Sosa, F., Talbot, E., Berg, D., Eversz, D., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2014). Effects of predictability and competition on group and individual choice in a free-ranging foraging environment. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 101, 288-302.

Hackenberg, T. D. (2013). What has happened to Skinner’s empirical epistemology? The Behavior Analyst, 36. 277-281.

Macaskill, A., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2013). Optimal and non-optimal choice in a laboratory-based sunk-cost task with humans: A cross-species replication. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 100, 301-315.

Avila, R. S., Yankelevitz, R. L., Gonzalez, J. C., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2013). Varying the costs of sunk costs: Optimal and non-optimal choices in a sunk-cost task with humans. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 100, 165-173.

Hackenberg, T. D. (2013). From demand curves to public policy: Introduction to the Special Issue on Behavioral Economics. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 99, 1-2.

Tan, L., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2012). Social foraging in rats: Group and individual choice in dynamic environments. Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, 38, 87-105.

Lagorio, C. H., & Hackenberg, T. D. (2012). Risky choice in pigeons: Preference for amount variability using a token-reinforcement system. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 98, 139-154.

Andrade, L.F., & Hackenberg, T.D. (2012). Saving the best for last? A cross-species analysis of choice between reinforcer sequences. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 98, 45-64.

Miras, A. D., Jackson, R. N., Jackson, S. N., Goldstone, A. P., Olbers, T., Hackenberg, T. D., Spector, A. C., & le Roux, C. W. (2012). Gastric bypass surgery for obesity decreases the reward value of a sweet-fat stimulus as assessed in a progressive-ratio task. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96, 467-473.

Macaskill, A., & Hackenberg, T.D. (2012). Providing a reinforcement history that reduces the sunk-cost effect. Behavioural Processes, 89, 212-218.

Macaskill, A., & Hackenberg, T.D. (2012). The sunk cost effect with pigeons: Some determinants of decisions about persistence. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 97, 85-100.