Graduate Studies


With its rich tradition, the Department of Psychology at the University of Iowa provided me with both a stimulating and formative experience. Continuing the foundation begun at Notre Dame, I moved quickly into further studies of learning and motivation in Professor Judson Brown's laboratory.

From 1969 through 1972, we investigated many basic questions in these areas using rats as subjects. Our studies touched on such topics as fear, avoidance reactions, conflict, self-punitive behavior, and choice. Many of these projects resulted in published articles. As you can see elsewhere on my homepage, my first publication was actually an article based on a project I conducted with Dr. Anderson at Notre Dame. Several additional articles followed based on the projects I conducted at Iowa.

My debt to Professor Brown is great. Through his unique blend of talents, he established many standards of professionalism to which all of his students have aspired. Along with excellent writing and communication skills, he developed himself into a master of laboratory instrumentation and apparatus. Because of his ingenious ability to devise ways to investigate and measure phenomena of interest, Dr. Brown was able to conduct many important experiments during his career including some pioneering work on conflict behavior. The results of these studies, along with his seminal theories, have greatly advanced our understanding of many aspects of learning and motivation. As you can tell from the list of my publications, I collaborated with Dr. Brown on several published projects directly related to his interests. Also, my early publications describing new instrumentation, apparatus and techniques were an indirect result of his influence on me in the technical area.

In 1973, Dr. Brown left the University of Iowa to return to the University of Oregon Medical School (now known as the Oregon Health Sciences Center). By that time, I had completed all requirements except the dissertation and had collected the data for my doctoral thesis. I decided to accompany him to Oregon to help establish his laboratory there while writing my dissertation. During that year, our collaboration continued including publication of a theoretical article on alcohol and conflict resolution. Also, I completed my dissertation and was granted a doctoral degree from Iowa in May of 1973. Shortly after, in August, I decided to take advantage of a post-doctoral opportunity at McMaster University. Dr. Brown continued his work at the Medical School for a number of years. He lived in retirement with his wife Julia in Portland, Oregon for many years. Throughout that time, his technical prowess continued to shine as he invented new ways to hit golf balls and improve the game he took up only after retirement. Dr. Brown passed away in Aug., 2005. The world has lost a very influential Psychologist, and I a very important influence in my life.

Several other faculty in the Department of Psychology at Iowa had an important impact on my professional development. Although I did not work directly in their laboratories, I hung around them enough to learn a considerable amount about psychology, scientific investigation, professional standards and even life from Professors Isidore Gormezano, John R. Platt, and Donald J. Levis. I am indebted to Dr. Gormezano for his encouragement and support throughout my graduate career and for what I was able to learn from him about dedication and commitment to one's field. He also taught me much about learning, especially classical conditioning, a field in which he has become a world-renowned authority. From Dr. Platt I learned a great deal about instrumental and operant learning. He also contributed greatly to my interest and involvement in applications of psychology to real world problems, and his technical wizardry fanned the flames of interest in computer technology that had been sparked in me during my undergraduate days. Dr. Levis also reinforced my interest in applied psychology through his experimental and clinical work on understanding the role of fear and avoidance learning in phobias, anxiety disorders and neuroses.

I even managed to further my interest in mathematics, not just through the study of statistical methods, but also by minoring in mathematical psychology. Under the tutelage of Professors Irwin P. Levin and James V. Hinrichs, I was able to study about how learning, cognition and decision processes could be modeled using various mathematical techniques.