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David Washburn

David Washburn

Professor of Psychology


On faculty since 2019

Office Hours
By Appointment

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.


Students who are interested in research opportunities in the "Cognition, History and Learning Lab" (CH+LL) should email Dr. Washburn. Students may also inquire about research opportunities with Dr. Washburn at Georgia State University's Language Research Center, Sonny Carter Life Sciences Laboratory, or the Individual Differences in Executive Attention (IDEA) Lab.

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; Fellow, Division 26, Society for the History of Psychology, and Division 2-Teaching of Psychology; Member, 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 about 200; 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.

  • Washburn, D. A. & Walters, S. (2022). A history of primates studying primates. In B. Schwartz & M. J. Beran (Eds.), Primate Cognitive Studies (pp. 12-28). New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • Pope-Caldwell, S. M. & Washburn, D. A. (2022). Overcoming cognitive set bias requires more than seeing an alternative strategy. Scientific Reports, 12, 2179.

  • Bowden, M., Whitham, W., Beran, M. J., Conway, C. C., & Washburn, D. A. (2021). Nonhuman Primates Learn Adjacent Dependencies but Fail to Learn Nonadjacent Dependencies in a Statistical Learning Signal Detection Task. Learning & Behavior, 50, 242-253.

  • Bond, A., Washburn, D. A., & Offutt, H. M. (2021). Like father, like son: Stereotypical Black facial features in children causing trouble. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 35, 1135-1145.

  • Washburn, D. A., Rudiman, G. G., Salamanca, J. A., & Whitham, W. (2020). History in ten minutes: Two activities for promoting learning about the history of comparative psychology. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 33,

  • Washburn, D. A. (2020). Animal Minds in the Media: Learning outcomes for a critical-analysis assignment for students of comparative
    psychology. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 33.

  • Whitham, W. & Washburn, D. A. (2020). Strategy use in probabilistic categorization by rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and Capuchin monkeys (Cebus [Sapajus] apella). Journal of Comparative Psychology

  • Burns, A., Sparks, M. & Washburn, D.A. (2020). Skinner Box. . In J. Vonk & T. Shackleford (Eds), Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition. New York: Springer Nature.

  • Subramani, O. S., Parrott, D. J., Latzman, R. D., & Washburn, D. A. (2019). Breaking the link: Distraction from emotional cues reduces the association between trait disinhibition and reactive physical aggression. Aggressive behavior, 45(2), 151-160.

  • Pope, S. M., Fagot, J., Meguerditchian, A., Washburn, D. A., & Hopkins, W. D. (2019). Enhanced Cognitive Flexibility in the Seminomadic Himba. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50(1), 47-62.

  • 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.