Psychology Department welcomes its newest tenure-track faculty member, Adam Fox

The psychology department welcomed Adam Fox as its newest Assistant Professor in the fall of 2013. Dr. Fox's research specialty is learning and behavioral analysis. We asked Dr. Fox a couple of questions about his professional and personal life.

1. What’s your favorite memory about being a psychology student in college?

I have two. The first is quite straightforward: I had an excellent Introductory Psychology professor who provided an exceptional experience in my very first college course. I still remember a lot of what I learned in that course. It was exciting and challenging and I ate it up. If not for that course, I would not be a psychology professor today. The second is more complex. It happened over time during my undergraduate education at Western Michigan University. There I had the chance to work with a group of dedicated and passionate professors and graduate students. They showed me how to roll up my sleeves and do good psychological research. At this point I knew I wanted to pursue a career in psychology, but after interacting with these great researchers I developed a passion for the excitement and fun involved. Both of those experiences have stayed with me and I think about them often in class and in the lab working with students at St. Lawrence.

2. What drew you to St. Lawrence?

Some of my best experiences in graduate school were working with students in the classroom and lab conducting research. I was impressed and excited by the focus that St. Lawrence places on both of these experiences, and more importantly, the combination of the two. I’m excited by the opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with students in the classroom and lab. Perhaps more surprisingly, I also love the location and climate of the North Country.

3. What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I love what I do and am passionate about it. When I see students take up some of that enthusiasm and interest in the classroom it is really exciting and contagious. There is a saying in my field: “Save the World with Behavior Analysis.” I believe that is possible. When students start to believe it too, that is thrilling and gratifying. It reconfirms my passion all over again and hopefully sparks some of the same passion in students—wherever they are heading. In the introductory course I teach, I often think about how interested and enthusiastic I felt in my introductory psychology course. When I see that feeling in a student it is very gratifying.

4. Are you currently involved with any research?

My research takes place largely on three fronts: applied non-human research, basic/laboratory non-human research, and basic/laboratory human research. In the applied non-human research we try to identify variables that control the behavior of domesticated animals and manipulate those variables to improve the relationship humans have with those animals. For example, right now Devon Belding (2014) is conducting research to reduce stereotypic/problem behaviors in horses using basic behavior analytic principles. In the non-human lab we study choice, motor-skill learning, and temporal learning (how organisms perceive time). Of particular interest is how environmental variables affect subjective experiences of time in rodent models. In the human research lab we study many of the same variables as in the non-human lab, including choice, temporal learning, punishment, and rule-governed behavior.

5. What’s something that not many people know about you, but that you’d like to share? 

I love to run, especially outside and on trails. I ran a half marathon in 2013 and hope to run a full in the future. I also play bass guitar and have been in a band pretty steady since I was 15 years old.  I’m particularly fond of blues music and playing in blues bands. Lately I’ve been collaborating a lot with my wife, Allie Fox, who is a much more accomplished musician than I am. It has been a lot of fun and we are looking forward to seeing what comes of it.