Robin Foster

Robin Foster, PhD

Professor, Psychology / Co-Director Neuroscience

BS University of Michigan 1982, Biology and Psychology

PhD University of Washington 1991, Psychology-Animal Behavior

Research Interests: Social organization and communication; temperament and learning; behavioral and neural plasticity; biological perspectives on animal behavior.

Robin Foster (Ph.D. Animal Behavior, University of Washington, 1991) is Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Program.  She previously served as chair of the Psychology Department, and as vice-chair and member of the faculty senate.  Robin teaches courses in animal learning, evolutionary psychology, behavioral genetics, and animal communication, and an interdisciplinary course on science and gender.  She is currently working on two lines of research.  The first is on equine temperament, occupational suitability, and horse-human interactions.  This research has looked at companion horse-owner relationships and at the temperament and resilience of horses in an equine assisted activity and therapy program.  This latter work recently received funding from the American Hippotherapy Association (2009). The second line of research builds on Robin’s past work on social organization, behavioral syndromes, and olfactory discrimination in bees and wasps. This collaboration with Sue Hannaford (Biology) includes an investigation of brain structure as a function of age and foraging activity in bumblebees, and a second study that explores whether honeybees can detect cancer using odor cues.