Dr. Alan Daniel
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Office: Science and Technology Building, RM 311Q
Dr. Daniel received his PhD in Psychology with an emphasis in Learning from Texas Christian University in 2007.
Dr. Daniel is a comparative psychologist. Comparative psychology a branch of the natural sciences that developed at the intersection of evolutionary biology and the psychology of behavior in the early 20th century. It is an interdisciplinary field that bridges areas of biology and psychology such as behavioral neuroscience, ethology, neurobiology, pharmacology, developmental biology, and evolution. As a comparative psychologist, Dr. Daniel has worked with a wide variety of species including Japanese quail, ringneck dove, pigeons, rats and mice, praying mantids, isopods, and honey bees.
A major theme of Dr. Daniel’s research program is to uncover the shared mechanisms of physical pain and psychological pain. Overlap between these systems at the behavioral and neurochemical levels are evident across a wide range of species. Using comparative methods, Dr. Daniel is tracing the evolution of psychological pain in order to develop new approaches to treatment of anxiety and depression.
One of his current projects is uncovering emotional-like behaviors in invertebrates. For example, Honey bees (Apis Mellifera) exhibit a reaction to reward loss that was previously believed to be a psychological feature limited to mammals. Understanding how bee psychological pain is related to mammalian psychological pain can illuminate selective pressures that drive the evolution of behavior, as well as providing a new simple nervous system model for translational research.
Dr. Daniel has been a member of the American Psychological Association, Society for Neuroscience, and the International Society for Comparative Psychology, among other organizations. He currently serves as the newsletter editor for the Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology