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David Washburn

David Washburn

Professor of Psychology
On faculty since 2019




Curriculum Vitae  



PhD, Georgia State University, 1991
MA, Georgia State University, 1987
BA, Covenant College, 1986


Professional Interests

My research is focused on the effortful, goal-directed (or executive) control of attention, learning and memory, and other cognitive processes, as reflected in the behavior or adults, children, monkeys, and other animals. By manipulating variables like training, response competition, stimulus movement, and mental workload, and by measuring task performance, self-report, and psychophysiology (e.g., eye movements, muscle movements, changes in bloodflow velocity), I attempt to advance basic understanding of (what my collaborators and I have called) operant, respondent, and emergent forms of behavior. For example, I have published research on factors that affect Stroop interference, performance by monkeys and people on tests of metacognition, experience that results in relational rather than associative types of learning, and effects of prayer on attention and decision making. By examining individual and group (including species) differences in these cognitive competencies, my research has also resulted in applied benefits (e.g., selection, training, and assessment applications for industry, educational, and military contexts). The research has attracted funding from federal, private, industrial, and university sources. In recent years, I have also conducted research on the history of psychology, resulting in several professional presentations and publications.


Professional memberships

  • American Psychological Association (Fellow & Former President, Division 3-Society for Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science; Fellow & Former President, Division 6-Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology; Member, Division 2-Teaching of Psychology and Division 36-Religion and Spirituality)
  • Association for Psychological Science (Fellow)
  • Psychonomic Society (Fellow)
  • Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology (Honorary Member for Life & Former President)
  • Southeastern Psychological Association (Former President)
  • Society for Computers in Psychology (Former President)
  • Comparative Cognition Society


Selected Publications (from over 100; student authors italicized)

  • Washburn, D. A. (Ed., 2006). Primate Perspectives on Behavior and Cognition. APA Press.
  • Rumbaugh, D. M., & Washburn, D. A. (2003). The Intelligence of Apes and Other Rational Beings. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Whitham, W., Johnson, J. M., French, K., Beran, M. J., Washburn, D. A. (2018). Does joystick training facilitate relational learning. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 31, 13.
  • Hoffman, M. L., Beran, M. J., Washburn, D. A. (2018). Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) remember agency information from past events and integrate this knowledge with spatial and temporal features in working memory. Animal Cognition, 21(1), 137-153.
  • French, K., Beran, M. J., Espy, K. A., Washburn, D. A. (2018). Simians in the Shape School: A comparative investigation of executive attention. Animal Cognition, 46(3), 281-293.
  • Adams, H. A., Kleider-Offutt, H.M., Bell, D., & Washburn, D. A. (2017). The effects of prayer on attention resource allocation and availability. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 7, 117-133.
  • Bramlett-Parker, J., & Washburn, D. A. (2016). Can rhesus monkey learn executive attention? Behavioral Sciences, 6(2), 11.
  • Beran, M. J., Menzel, C. R., Parrish, A. E., Perdue, B. M., Sayers, K., Smith, J. D., & Washburn, D. A. (2016). Primate cognition: Attention, episodic memory, prospective memory, self-control, and metacognition as examples of cognitive control in nonhuman primates. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews - Cognitive Science. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1397
  • Washburn, D. A. (2016). The Stroop effect at 80: The competition between stimulus control and cognitive control. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 105, 3-13.


Maggie Chiang

"In high school, I faced different trials and heard many different stories that made me intrigued to understand how our mind and body works. I enjoy Psychology because I am able to learn more about myself and the grief I have faced and I am also able to learn how to help people using a Christ-centered mindset as well."

Caleb McNaughton

"The professors who have most impacted the way I think are Dr. Eames, Dr. Tate, and Dr. Morton. During my freshman year I took cross-cultural psychology with Dr. Eames and learned a lot about how I viewed the world around me. I learned to broaden my horizon and accept other cultures for what they are..."
  - Caleb McNaughton '20