Support Dr. Aaron Blaisdell’s Comparative Cognition Research 2
The animal mind has always fascinated me. I have dedicated the past 20 years to animal cognition research. This research has traditionally been funded by federal agencies such as the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and NSF (National Science Foundation). Recently, however, these agencies have almost completely stopped supporting research into animal cognition.
Animal cognition research is not very expensive compared to other fields of biomedical research. Lab expenses typically run about $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Most of the costs go to supporting animal welfare. In the absence of federal support, I’ve had to resort small though insufficient amounts of funds from UCLA, with my own personal funds making up the difference. Nevertheless, this has dramatically curtailed the scope of research my lab is able to carry out.
While animal cognition research is primarily curiosity driven, it has led to translational benefits to society. For example, by understanding common cognitive processes shared by rats and people, I’ve been able to use well-controlled rat experiments to document the cognitive impairments caused by a highly processed, sugary diet (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24548685; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28323074). My work in rational processes of causal cognition in the rat has directly informed on the evolutionary origins of causality and imagination (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/311/5763/1020; https://jevohealth.com/journal/vol1/iss1/9/).
We are currently investigating the role of individual differences in pigeon intelligence which can provide insight into understanding differences in IQ in people (https://www.researchgate.net/project/Finding-g-in-the-pigeon).
If you partner with me, you can help support my laboratory research on animal cognition. Your funds would go to supporting animal welfare, laboratory supplies, hardware maintenance and upkeep, and student support, especially important for disadvantaged students.