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Michael Beran

Associate Professor    

Comparative cognition; Numerical cognition; Self-control and behavioral inhibition; Prospective memory; Metacognition; Primate cognition; Perception; Decision-making


My research is focused on learning about and understanding the cognitive abilities, and particularly the cognitive control, exhibited by humans (children and adults) and other species, primarily the great apes and monkey species.  This work is conducted in the Comparative Intelligence and Cognition laboratory and at the Language Research Center of Georgia State University, as well as through collaborations with other institutions such as the National Zoo in Washington, DC and Zoo Atlanta.  I also conduct some research studies with preschool children in the local Atlanta area.

Currently, my students and I are working on six major programs of research: Numerical Cognition; Metacognition; Strategic Economic Interactions; Prospective Memory and Planning; Self-Control and Delay of Gratification; and Perceptual and Cognitive Illusions.  These research projects are supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and Georgia State University. Please visit the Comparative Intelligence and Cognition (COMIC) laboratory page, where you can see much more about our research, our publications, and who we are.


Recent Publications (student authors underlined)

Beran, M. J., Hopper, L. M., de Waal, F. B. M., Sayers, K., & Brosnan, S. F. (2016). Chimpanzee food preferences, associative learning, and the origins of cooking.Learning & Behavior, 44, 118-121.

Beran, M. J., James, B. T., Whitham, W., & Parrish, A. E. (2016). Chimpanzees can point to smaller amounts of food to accumulate larger amounts but they still fail the reverse-reward contingency task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 42, 347-358.

Beran, M. J., Menzel, C. R., Parrish, A. E., Perdue, B. M., Sayers, K., Smith, J. D., & Washburn, J. D. (2016). Primate cognition: Attention, episodic memory, prospective memory, self-control, and metacognition as examples of cognitive control in nonhuman primates. WIREs Cognitive Science.  doi: 10.1002/wcs.1397

Beran, M. J., & Parrish, A. E. (2016). Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) treat small and large numbers of items similarly during a relative quantity judgment task.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 1206-1213.

Beran, M. J., Perdue, B. M., Church, B. A., & Smith, J. D. (2016). Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) modulate their use of an uncertainty response depending on risk.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 42, 32-43.

Beran, M. J., Perdue, B. M., Rossettie, M. S., James, B. T., Whitham, W., Walker, B., Futch, S. E., & Parrish, A. E. (2016). Self-control assessments of capuchin monkeys with the rotating tray task and the accumulation task.  Behavioural Processes, 129, 68-79.

Beran, M. J., Rossettie, M. S., & Parrish, A. E. (2016). Trading up: Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) show self-control through their exchange behavior. Animal Cognition, 19, 109-121.

Parrish, A. E., Agrillo, C., Perdue, B. M., & Beran, M. J. (2016). The elusive illusion: Do children (Homo sapiens) and capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) see the Solitaire illusion? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 142, 83-95.

Parrish, A. E., Emerson, I. D., Rossettie, M. S., & Beran, M. J. (2016). Testing the ego-depletion hypothesis among capuchin monkeys: Does glucose boost self-control?Behavioral Sciences, 6, 16. doi:10.3390/bs6030016

Beran, M. J. (2015). Chimpanzee cognitive control. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 352-357.

Beran, M. J. (2015). The comparative science of “self-control”: What are we talking about?  Frontiers in Psychology, 6, Article 51

Beran, M. J., & Heimbauer, L. A. (2015). A longitudinal assessment of vocabulary retention in symbol-competent chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes).  PLoS ONE, 10,e0118408

Beran, M. J., James, B. T., Futch, S. E., & Parrish, A. E. (2015). A comparative psychologist by any other name…is still a comparative psychologist. Commentary: A crisis in comparative psychology: Where have all the undergraduates gone? Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1928.

Beran, M. J., Parrish, A. E., Futch, S. E., Evans, T. A., & Perdue, B. M. (2015).  Looking ahead? Computerized maze task performance by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), and human children (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 129, 160-173.

Beran, M. J., Perdue, B. M., Futch, S. E., Smith, J. D., Evans, T. A., & Parrish, A. E. (2015). Go when you know: Chimpanzees’ confidence movements reflect their responses in a computerized memory task. Cognition, 142, 236-246.

Parrish, A. E., Brosnan, S. F., & Beran, M. J. (2015). Do you see what I see? A comparative investigation of the Delboeuf illusion in humans (Homo sapiens), rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 41, 395-405.

Parrish, A. E., Brosnan, S. F., & Beran, M. J. (2015). Capuchin monkeys alternate play and reward in a dual computerized task. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 2, 334-347.

Parrish, A. E., Evans, T. A., & Beran, M. J. (2015). Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) exhibit the decoy effect in a perceptual discrimination task.  Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 77, 1715-1725.

Parrish, A. E., Evans, T. A., & Beran, M. J. (2015). Defining value through quantity and quality – Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) undervalue food quantities when items are broken.  Behavioural Processes, 111, 118-126.

Perdue, B. M., Bramlett, J. L., Evans, T. A., & Beran, M. J. (2015). Waiting for what comes later: Capuchin monkeys show self-control even for nonvisible delayed rewards. Animal Cognition, 18, 1105-1112.

Perdue, B. M., Church, B. A., Smith, J. D., & Beran, M. J. (2015). Exploring potential mechanisms underlying the lack of uncertainty monitoring in capuchin monkeys.International Journal of Comparative Psychology, Article 28.

Sayers, K., Evans, T. A., Menzel, E., Smith, J. D., & Beran, M. J. (2015). The misbehaviour of a metacognitive monkey. Behaviour, 152, 727-756.