Nathan Insel, Ph.D.
Office: Skaggs Building Room 362
We are a laboratory in the University of Montana Department of Psychology investigating how the brain forms expectations about others. Social expectations include everything from moment-to-moment predictions about others' actions to more general notions about personality and threat. They include the initial perception that something might have intentional behavior, inferences about someone's emotional state, and whether or not other individuals should be trusted. Our research focuses on the degu, a small rodent from Chile with a rich repertoire of vocal and physical interactions. By applying techniques to monitor, manipulate, and simulate the nervous system, we can develop and test theories of how social expectations arise from neural interactions. Our goal is to gain better insight into how the brain supports social behavior in a way that is not only adaptive for the individual, but, ideally, constructive for groups of individuals. This could offer directions to help those with social handicaps, and may point to strategies for improving lives in an increasingly crowded world.
Students interested in joining the lab should contact Nathan Insel for more information.
Congrats to Dorothy Young, Kinsey Webb, and Alec Dalton for two solid posters at at the 2018 University of Montana Conference for Undergraduate Research (UMCUR). Stylin'.
The take-homes: 1) it's tough to measure learning using a tube test with degus and 2) degus don't seem to worry about their...
We are honored and happy that the University Research and Creativity Committee (URCC), along with superlative VPR Scott Whittenberg, has awarded us our first grant: a Research Seed Award to build automated tools for tracking and classifying rodent social behavior. We expect these tools will be...
Our lab's first University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research (UMCUR). Dani Crandell presents her finding that degus will spend more time with a 3D-printed objected that has a rabbit-like shape, and less time with a lion shape, as compared with scrambled versions of those same...