Emeritus Professor Michael Charles Davison

BSc, PhD, DSc, FRSNZ, FABAI

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Emeritus Professor

Biography

I obtained my B.Sc. (Hons) from Bristol University, and then went to Otago University on a Commonwealth Scholarship to do my PhD. I was then successively a Lecturer at Otago University, then at University College London, before returning to New Zealand and The University of Auckland.

I retired in 2013, and remained employed part time until July 2014.  I am not taking any more research students.

Research | Current

My research interests are concerned with the fundamental processes of behaviour.

I study choice—how animals distribute their activities between available alternatives—both in the stable state and in transition (learning and adaptation). This research, which is quantitative in focus, has led me recently to question the oldest “law” in Psychology—Thorndike’s (1897) Law of Effect—wrong for over 100 years.

I recently spent some time applying these interests to the study of prenatal nutrition on the speed of learning of offspring in the National Research Center for Growth and Development at the Liggins Institute (a Center of Research Excellence). We demonstrated that maternal undernutrition led to less adaptability to changing circumstances, and we have located the epigenetic effects likely responsible for this.

Sadly, while our papers on this are still being published, I have now ceased working in this area.

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students:

Distinctions/Honours

  • Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis award for the International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis, 1994
  • Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis award for Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis, 2009
  • APA/MED Associates award for Distinguished Contributions to Behavior Analysis, 2011
  • Royal Society of NZ Science and Technology Silver Medal, 2001
  • NZ Association for Behaviour Analysis Lifetime Membership Award, 2014
  • Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, 2004
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 1987.

Responsibilities

Retired

Areas of expertise

  • Quantitative analysis of behaviour
  • Choice
  • Math models

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Association for Behavior Analysis International; Fellows' Committee Member and Chair.
  • Previously Associate Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior; Board of Reviewers for 5 3-year terms.
  • Acted as Board Member of The Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, The Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, The Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior.
  • Site Visitor for the Association for Behavior Analysis International

 

 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Cowie, S., & Davison, M. (2020). Being there on time: Reinforcer effects on timing and locating. Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior, 113 (2), 340-362. 10.1002/jeab.581
  • Davison, M., & Cowie, S. (2019). Timing or counting? Control by contingency reversals at fixed times or numbers of responses. Journal of experimental psychology. Animal learning and cognition, 45 (2), 222-241. 10.1037/xan0000201
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46775
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sarah Cowie
  • Davison, M. (2018). In Memoriam: John Anthony 'Tony' Nevin. Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior, 110 (3), 293-301. 10.1002/jeab.484
  • Davison, M. (2018). Divided stimulus control: Which key did you peck, or what color was it?. Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior, 109 (1), 107-124. 10.1002/jeab.295
  • Cowie, S., Davison, M., & Elliffe, D. (2017). Control by past and present stimuli depends on the discriminated reinforcer differential. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 108 (2), 184-203. 10.1002/jeab.268
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sarah Cowie, Douglas Elliffe
  • Davison, M. (2017). Killeen and Jacobs (2016) Are Not Wrong. The Behavior Analyst, 40 (1), 57-64. 10.1007/s40614-017-0118-5
  • Cowie, S., Davison, M., Blumhardt, L., & Elliffe, D. M. (2016). Learning in a changing environment: Effects of the discriminability of visual stimuli and of time. Learning and Motivation, 56, 1-14. 10.1016/j.lmot.2016.08.001
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Douglas Elliffe, Sarah Cowie
  • Cowie, S., Davison, M., & Elliffe, D. (2016). A model for discriminating reinforcers in time and space. Behavioural Processes, 127, 62-73. 10.1016/j.beproc.2016.03.010
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sarah Cowie, Douglas Elliffe

Identifiers

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 2, Room 238
23 SYMONDS ST
AUCKLAND CENTRAL
AUCKLAND 1010
New Zealand

Web links