Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Neural Science
Cognition & Perception, Center for Neural Science


Motivation, Conditioning, and Learning

Togetherness in rodents may be more social than sexual. We've trained rats, mice, and prairie voles to perform a learned response for access to another member of the same species. To our surprise, it does not seem to matter whether the subject rat is sexually motivated by hormones or not, or whether the target animal is receptive or not receptive or the same or opposite sex. These rodents like to be with conspecifics and if a sexual encounter is added to the experience it doesn't matter much. This mechanism seems to support the colonial residential style of these species as Meadow voles, which are more solitary in habits, seem indifferent to social contact with their own species but are motivated to respond for sexual opportunities. Although we continue to write about this problem, laboratory work has been terminated with Professor Matthews’ retirement.

Human Conversation

A new project involves a rigorous behavioral analysis of the interactive patterns of speech sounds in human conversation. Recorded conversations are analyzed for regularities in utterances, interruptions, over-talking, pausing, and vocal loudness. A bout analysis reveals patterns of turn-taking that distinguish intimate, polite, instructional, and dominant conversation formats, among others. Graphical feedback will be explored as a means to modify problematic conversation patterns.

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Ph.D. 1970 (experimental psychology), Brown University
M.A. 1966 (experimental psychology), Bucknell University
B.A. 1964 (psychology), The American University


- American Psychological Association
- American Psychological Society
- Psychonomic Society

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Selected Publications

Matthews, T. J., Abdel-Baky, P., Pfaff, D. W. (2005) Sexual and affiliative motivation in the mouse. Behavioral Neuroscience, 119, 1628-1639.

Pfaff, D.W, & Matthews, T. J. (1998) Sex hormones and the basis of sex differences in the brain: Studies of molecular mechanisms and of motivation. In Halbriech, U. (Ed.), Handbook of Psychiatry: Effects of Sex Hormones on Brain. American Psychiatric Association Press.

Matthews, T. J., Grigore, M., Tang, L., Doat, M., Kow, L-M, & Pfaff, D.W. (1997) Sexual reinforcement in the female rat. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 68, 399-411

Papadouka, V. and Matthews, T. J. (1995). Motivational mechanisms and schedule-induced behavioral stereotypy. Animal Learning and Behavior 22, 354-363.

Allan, R. W., and Matthews, T. J. (1992). "Turning back the clock" on serial-stimulus sign tracking. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 56, 427-443.

Allan, R. W., and Matthews, T. J. (1992). Selective sensitivity of schedule-induced activity to an operant suppression contingency. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 58, 471-483.

Bordi, F., and Matthews, T. J. (1990). The effects of psychoactive drugs on schedule-controlled behavior in the pigeon. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 53, 87-102.

Allan, R. W., and Matthews, T. J. (1990). Comparative effects of food and water deprivation on movement patterns in the pigeon (Colomba Livia). Behavioural Processes 20, 41-48.

Matthews, T. J., Bordi, F., and Depollo, D. (1990). Schedule-induced kinesic and taxic behavioral stereotypy in the pigeon. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 16, 335-344.

Matthews, T. J., and Lerer, B. E. (1987). Behavior patterns in pigeons during autoshaping with an incremental conditioned stimulus. Animal Learning and Behavior 1, 69-75.

Matthews, T. J., McHugh, T. G., and Carr, L. D. (1974). Instrumental and Pavlovian determinants of response suppression in the pigeon. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology 87, 500-506.

Candland, D.K., Matthews, T.J., and Taylor, D.B. (1968). Factors affecting the reliability of dominance orders in the domestic chicken (White Leghorn). Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 66, 168-174.

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T. James Matthews
Professor of Psychology and Neural Science

Department of Psychology
New York University
244 Greene Street, Rm. 510
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 998-7888
Fax: (212) 995-4349

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