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Faculty Profiles

Catherine F. Talbot

Assistant Professor, School of Psychology

Personal Overview

Catherine F. Talbot is an Assistant Professor in the School of Psychology at Florida Tech and co-director of the Animal Cognitive Research Center at Brevard Zoo. After receiving her B.S. in Biology at Florida State University, Dr. Talbot completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive Sciences at Georgia State University. Throughout her academic career, her overarching research goal has been to study the ultimate (evolutionary) and proximate (behavioral, biological, and developmental) mechanisms underlying sociality. Dr. Talbot’s graduate research focused on face recognition and social knowledge in nonhuman primates and was supported by the National Science Foundation, American Psychological Association, as well as a number of internal awards. Dr. Talbot joins us from the Neuroscience and Behavior Unit at the California National Primate Research Center at the University of California, Davis, where she worked as a postdoc on a collaborative bio-behavioral project examining naturally occurring low-sociability in rhesus monkeys as a model for the core social deficits seen in people with autism spectrum disorder, specifically targeting the underlying mechanisms of social functioning.


Educational Background

Ph.D. Cognitive Sciences, Georgia State University

M.A. Cognitive Psychology, Georgia State University

B.S. in Biological Sciences, Florida State University


Current Courses

Human Cognition

Learning and Motivation

Comparative Animal Cognition


Professional Experience

Aside from her teaching experience, Dr. Talbot continues to act as a reviewer for several journals, grants, and conferences.


Additional Duties 

Grant Committee, American Society of Primatologist; Scientific Committee, International Primatological Society; Florida Tech Research Committee


Current Research

 Dr. Talbot’s research interests include the evolutionary and biological mechanisms underlying sociality, face recognition and social processing, autism, behavioral economics, and animal welfare. She approaches these topics from a comparative, evolutionary, and translational perspective and has investigated such behavior in several primate species, including chimpanzees, orangutans, capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and rhesus macaques. Given the importance of faces in conveying social information and the impairment of social processing associated with many developmental and brain disorders, like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), face processing and its underlying mechanisms are one of the main foci of her research program. To this end, and in collaboration with her postdoctoral mentors, she helped develop and validate a naturally occurring monkey model of the core social deficits relevant to ASD, specifically targeting the underlying mechanisms of social functioning. Currently, she and her collaborators at UC Davis and Stanford are examining the relationship between potential biomarkers (e.g., oxytocin, vasopressin) of sociality and performance on a series of social-cognitive tests with direct relevance to ASD. By combining biomarker correlates (e.g., vasopressin, cortisol, etc.) and behavioral data we can significantly expand our understanding of how behaviors develop and are maintained. Therefore, she is currently expanding her research program to explore the role of neurohormones in complex social behaviors (e.g., face recognition, joint attention, social decision-making, and cooperation) in non-human primate and whether variations in responses are explained by species' and individuals' social and ecological environment. As such, she has teamed up with the Brevard Zoo to investigate these topics across several primate species.



Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed

Talbot CF, Garner, JP, Maness AC, McCowan B, Capitanio JP, Parker KJ (2020) A psychometrically robust screening tool to rapidly identify socially impaired monkeys in the general population. Autism Research, 00, 1-11.

Talbot CF, Parrish AE, Watzek J, Essler J, Leverett KL, Paukner A, Brosnan SF (2017) The influence of reward quality and quantity and spatial proximity on the responses to inequity and contrast in capuchins (Cebus [Sapajus] apella). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 132(1), 75-87. doi: 10.1037/com0000088.

Talbot CF, Leverett K, Brosnan SF (2016) Capuchins recognize familiar faces. Animal Behaviour, 122, 37-45. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.09.017

Talbot CF, Mayo L, Stoinski T, Brosnan SF (2015) Face discriminations by orangutans (Pongo spp.) vary as a function of familiarity. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 1, 172-182. doi:10.1007/s40806-015-0019-3.

Brosnan SF, Talbot CF, Essler J, Leverett K, Flemming T, Dougall P, Heyler C, Zak PJ (2015) Oxytocin reduces food sharing in capuchin monkeys by modulating social distance. Behaviour, 152, 941- 961.doi:10.1163/1568539X-00003268.

Brosnan SF, Hopper LM, Richey, Freeman HD, Talbot CF, Gosling SD, Lambeth SP, Schapiro SJ (2015) Personality influences responses to inequity and contrast in chimpanzees. Animal Behaviour, 101, 75-87.

Freeman HD, Sullivan J, Hopper LM, Talbot CF, Holmes AN, SchultzDarken N, Williams LE, Brosnan SF (2013) Different responses to reward comparisons by three primate species. PLOS ONE 8(10), e76297.

Perdue BM, Talbot CF, Stone A, Beran MJ (2012) Putting the elephant back in the herd: Elephant relative quantity judgments match those of other species. Animal Cognition, 15(5), 955-961. doi:10.1007/s10071-012-0521-y.

Talbot CF, William LE, Brosnan SF (2011) Squirrel monkeys’ response to inequitable outcomes indicates a behavioural convergence within the primates. Biology Letters, 7(5), 680-682. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0211.

Brosnan SF, Flemming T, Talbot CF, Mayo L, Stoinski T (2011) Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) do not form expectations based on their partner’s outcomes. Folia Primatologica, 82(1), 3442-3447.

Brosnan SF, Parrish A, Beran MJ, Flemming T, Heimbauer L, Talbot CF, Lambeth SP, Schapiro SJ, Wilson BJ (2011) Responses to the assurance game in monkeys, apes, and humans using equivalent procedures. Proceedings National Academy of Sciences, 108, 3442-3447. doi:10.1073/pnas.1016269108.

Brosnan SF, Talbot CF, Ahlgren M, Lambeth SP, Schapiro SJ (2010) Mechanisms underlying the response to inequity in chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes. Animal Behaviour, 79, 1229-1327. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.02.019.

Book Chapters & Encyclopedia Entries

Talbot CF, Reamer LA, Lambeth SP, Schapiro SJ, Brosnan SF (in press) Meeting cognitive, behavioural, and social needs of primates in captivity. In L Robinson & A Weiss (Eds.), Welfare of Nonhuman Primates. Springer.

Talbot CF (2017) Sarah Brosnan. In J Vonk & TK Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_2000-1.

Talbot CF (2016) Ability to recognize individuals. In TK Shackelford, & VA Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science (pp.1-9). Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1253-1.

Talbot CF, Price SA, Brosnan SF (2016) Inequity responses in nonhuman animals. In C Sabbagh & M Schmitt (Eds.), Handbook of Social Justice Theory and Research (pp.387-403). New York: Springer.