Anole cognition has made it to the classroom. As a scientist, it is always flattering when other scientists read your work and even more flattering if your research opens the door to further questions.
|Neuroethologist in training|
However, when high school students find your work sufficiently interesting to make it the topic of an independent study it is a completely new ball game. We were very lucky that our research in anole cognition caught the attention of a group of freshman and junior high school students from Cary Academy. The students read our paper on behavioral flexibility and used it as a springboard for their Discovery Term program. Yesterday, we hosted the students. As part of their visits, the students saw first hand how behavioral trials are conducted and how to collect and analyze behavioral data. They’ll use this experience in writing their papers and designing their experiments to test cognition.
The students also learned about the reptile brain and how it is related to the more commonly studied mammal brain. We discussed the methods used to study neuroanatomy, from collection of the brain to histological sectioning. Although Brian covered some fairly complicated issues in brain evolution, the students were ready for the challenge.