Department of PsychologyUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa

Department of Psychology Faculty Profile

Patricia Couvillon

Patricia Couvillon

Associate Professor


PhD, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa


Dr. Couvillon is jointly appointed in Psychology and the Pacific Biomedical Research Center. Dr. Couvillon's research interest is the comparative analysis of learning, and her work includes study of both vertebrate and invertebrate species. Work with honeybees is focused on: 1) the rules that govern the interaction of stimuli in compound conditioning experiments, including summation, overshadowing, and blocking; 2) studies of inhibition in classical conditioning experiments; 3) the role of short-term memory; 4) the effects of variation in quality, quantity, and probability of reward on choice behavior in "risk-sensitivity" experiments; and 5) the development of a quantitative theory of honeybee choice behavior. Recent work with pigeons includes a quantitative evaluation of several theories proposed to account for choice performance in a series of complex discriminiation problems including ambiguous-cue and "loop" designs. On-going work with goldfish includes an analysis of classical conditioning phenomena in an activity conditioning situation with the goal of developing a quantitative learning theory to account for the results. Recent publications include "Control of performance by short-term memory in honeybees;" "Exploratory studies of inhibitory conditioning in honeybees;" and "Traverse patterning in pigeons." This laboratory has a track-record of training graduate students interested in learning and behavioral neuroscience as well as advanced undergraduate students interested in careers in science, and the laboratory regularly attracts visiting researchers from other universities on the mainland and abroad. Dr. Couvillon serves as a reviewer for several animal learning journals and for the National Science Foundation. She is also the chair of the advisory council for the Pacific Biomedical Research Center's NIH-sponsored training programs for minority undergraduate students.

College of Social SciencesUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa