J. E. R. Staddon

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John Eric Rayner Staddon is a British-born American behavioral psychologist known for experimental and theoretical research on interval timing, "superstition," and behavioral economics (optimality) in rats, pigeons, and fish—and people. He is also known for his critiques of Skinnerian behaviorism and the proposal of a theoretically based "New Behaviorism."[1] Staddon has also written on social issues arguing against affirmative action in college admissions[2] and that profiling can be both fair and efficient.[3] Other social topics are legal responsibility (The Atlantic Monthly; Feb 1995; pg. 88) and traffic control [1] claiming that US accident rates are much higher than rates in some European countries because of erratic speed limits. enforced attention to signs that conflict with sensible driving habits. The uniquely American "four-way stop" is the most blatant example. Since 2007 he has written on the application of behavioral psychology to the function and malfunction of financial markets in a book The Malign Hand of the Markets. His conclusion is that current regulations are too complex and indirect to be effective.

Education and career[edit]

Educated first at University College, London, then after a year at Hollins College he studied under Richard Herrnstein, obtaining his PhD in Experimental Psychology at Harvard University in 1964. He has done research at the MIT Systems Lab, Oxford University, the University of São Paulo at Riberão Preto, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Ruhr Universität, Universität Konstanz, the University of Western Australia and York University, United Kingdom. He has also taught at the University of Toronto.

Since 1967, Staddon has been at Duke University; since 1983 he has been the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Biology and Neurobiology. He is an Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of York (UK). He is a past editor of the journals Behavioural Processes and Behavior & Philosophy and present editor of [2] PsyCrit, a journal of commentary. [3] Work in the Staddon laboratory has focused on explaining interval timing in terms of memory, and explaining choice in terms of interval timing; work with past students and postdocs has included work on feeding regulation as well as spatial navigation, concurrent choice, and habituation. Many of John Staddon's publications are available at http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/browse?authority=0101137&type=author.


In addition to lectures on education and social issues, Staddon is the author of more than 200 research papers and five books, including:

  • The malign Hand of the Markets:The Insidious Forces on Wall Street that are Destroying Financial Markets – and What We Can Do About it, (McGraw-Hill, 2012)
*The New Behaviorism, (Psychology Press, 2014),
  • Adaptive Dynamics: The Theoretical Analysis of Behavior, (MIT/Bradford, 2001), and
  • Adaptive Behavior and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 1983, new edition 2003/2010: [4].
  • Distracting Miss Daisy The Atlantic July/August 2008 On traffic control in the UK and US [5]


  1. ^ The New Behaviorism: Mind, Mechanism and Society, (Psychology Press, 2001).
  2. ^ Have Race-Biased Admissions Improved American Higher Education? http://www.safs.ca/april2003/highereducation.html
  3. ^ "Fair Profiling," http://psychweb.psych.duke.edu/department/jers/Profiling.pdf

External links[edit]