- Comparative Psychology Lab
Associate Dean of Faculty
Associate Professor of Psychology
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
local: (727) 864-7562
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
Staff & Student Bios
CEC 235 (727) 864-8428
- Ph.D., Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi, 2008
Doctoral Dissertation: "The Use of Personality Assessments in Designing Environmental Enrichment for Small-eared Bushbabies (Otolemur garnettii)"
- M.A., Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi, 2006
Master's Thesis: "Judging Personality Traits in the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)"
- B.A., Psychology, Meredith College, 2002
As a comparative psychologist, I believe it is very important to intersect many areas of psychology within my research. Therefore, some of my current research interests include animal personality, animal cognition, and environmental enrichment. I am also very enthusiastic about involving students in my research program. As an undergraduate, I was always encouraged to perform research and am confident that this encouragement was vital in shaping my career.
Current student researchers
Christine Dumbleton – Lab Manager/Lead Researcher
Christine, a sophomore, is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Environmental Studies. Christine currently serves as a student observer at Busch Gardens, Tampa. Using behavioral ethograms, she records the daily behaviors of a herd of five female Asian elephants. Additionally, Christine is conducting a study on dog cognition. Specifically, Christine is investigating whether dogs can make count. Click here more information about Eckerd College dog projects.
Alicia Lorfink – Lead Researcher
Alicia, a sophomore, is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Marine Science. Alicia is very involved with Eckerd’s Search and Rescue Team (EC-SAR) and Eckerd’s student government (ECOS). She is currently volunteering at the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa and is conducting a cognitive study with several species of cats (e.g. servals, cougars). Specifically, Alicia is investigating whether big cats can make relative quantity judgments of food. Alicia would like to eventually work with manatees and establish herself as a Comparative Psychologist studying animal behavior for education and conservation efforts.
Ashley Chambers – Assistant Researcher
Ashley is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Marine Science. She is currently a student observer at Busch Gardens Tampa recording the behavior of five Asian elephants. In the past she has done work with the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and the Pier Aquarium in St. Petersburg. She hopes to pursue a career in animal care and education with a focus on comparative psychology.
During Sarah's four years at Eckerd, she volunteered at several animal care facilities including the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary and Southeast Guide Dogs Inc. Currently, she is a manatee specialist at the South Florida Museum's Parker Aquarium where she cares for and trains "Snooty" the manatee. Sarah assisted Professor Highfill on cognitive studies with a variety of animals including: dogs, sea lions, and lemurs. She is currently applying to graduate school and plans to pursue her goal of animal-assisted therapy.
During his time at Eckerd, Patrick was a student observer of elephants at Busch Gardens Tampa and a marine mammal intern at Gulf World Marine Park, Panama City Beach, FL. In his final year of college, Patrick interned at Discovery Cove in Orlando. He would commute between St. Petersburg and Orlando every week! His dedication paid off and he was ultimately hired as a marine mammal trainer at Discovery Cove.
Brooke graduated with a Biology major and Psychology minor. While at Eckerd she was the lead student researcher for a project at the Lemur Conservation Foundation's Myakka City. Brooke was able to present her data at the International Conference on Comparative Cognition.