Jack J McDowellProfessor Jack McDowell received an A. B. in Psychology from Yale University in 1972 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1979. He has been a member of the Emory University Psychology Department, in the Clinical Psychology Program, since 1979. Dr. McDowell’s research has focused on the quantitative analysis of adaptive behavior. He has conducted tests of matching theory in experiments with humans, rats, and pigeons, has made formal mathematical contributions to the matching theory literature, and has proposed and tested a computational theory of adaptive behavior dynamics. He has also written on the relevance of mathematical and computational accounts of adaptive behavior for the treatment of clinical problems. Dr. McDowell is a licensed clinical psychologist and participates in the clinical training of doctoral students in the clinical psychology program. In addition, he maintains a small private practice of behavior therapy for children and adults. Email: psyjjmd@emory.edu

Current Graduate Students

Olivia Calvin received a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health in 2008 from Pennsylvania State University and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Emory University in 2012 from Emory University. Her research focuses on mathematical models of learning with an emphasis on those pertaining to the matching law and quantitative law of effect. As part of her work with mathematical models, she is very interested in the use of simulations to evaluate hypotheses and their relationship to traditional research approaches. Ms. Calvin has published critical evaluations of a neural-network-based approach to simulating human and animal behavior. She is currently finishing her dissertation, which is focused on evaluating theoretically important alternatives to the Evolutionary Theory of Behavior Dynamics. Email: ncalvin@emory.edu

Ryan Hackett received an A.B. in Sociology from Harvard University in June 2009. He joined the lab as a 3rd-year graduate student in April 2016, after completing his master's thesis as a member of Dr. Irwin Waldman's psychiatric genetics lab. His thesis focused on the psychometric invariance of four parent-report questionnaires designed to assess either parenting attitudes and behaviors, or child/adolescent disruptive behavior disorder symptoms. Ryan took an interest in the experimental analysis of behavior after taking Dr. McDowell’s graduate course in Advanced Behavior Therapy. His current work focuses on exploring the existence and potential functional implications of systematic group differences in matching law parameters, especially undermatching to rates and magnitudes of reinforcement. Prior to becoming a graduate student, Ryan worked as a teacher at The Community School in Decatur, GA, a private school for adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities. He also worked as a research assistant for Dr. Diana Robins at Georgia State University and Dr. Patricia Brennan at Emory University. He is a proud husband to Stephanie Hackett, MMSC, M.P.H., and father of Foster Hackett, toddler. Email: ryan.hackett@emory.edu

Bryan Klapes received a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University in December 2013 and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Emory University in August 2016.  He joined the lab as a research assistant after taking Dr. McDowell’s Behavior Modification course as an undergraduate.  His main research interest is the quantitative analysis of human operant behavior.  In his master's thesis, Bryan attempted to validate a matching law-based estimation of one's sensitivity to punishment.  He hopes to expand on this research, incorporating it into a bigger research program that will give a matching law-based perspective on decisional anhedonia.  Prior to starting in the clinical psychology program at Emory, Bryan worked at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta as a Patient Care Specialist and Emergency Department Technician.  Email: bryan.klapes@emory.edu

Cyrus Chi received a B.A. in Biology from Rutgers University in 2001 and a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers, University and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) Joint Program in 2005. After working as a medical device engineer in various start-ups for 10 years, he joined the lab and the Emory Clinical Psychology doctoral program in 2016. He is currently interested in research exploring how the Evolutionary Theory of Behavioral Dynamics may be potentially codified in neurological activity, intrapersonal disease state etiology, quantification and detection of behavioral feedback loops, and technologically aided prevention and treatment models.


Steve Riley received a B.S. in Mathematics and Symbolic Systems from Stanford University in 2002. He has worked as a computer programmer, teacher, tutor, researcher and therapist. He received his M.S. in clinical psychology from Notre Dame de Namur University in 2015. He holds two patents for his work in on-the-fly language translation in video games. He is an avid crossword puzzle constructor and has had three of his puzzles published in the New York Times. Steve is interested in the overlap between psychology and consumer technology, and he hopes to develop this intersection through his research.



Laboratory Alumni

Andrei Popa, PhD (2013)
Assistant Professor, Agnes Scott College
Dissertation: The Evolutionary Theory of Behavior Dynamics: Complexity, Darwinism, and the Emergence of High-Level Phenotypes

Saule Kulubekova, PhD (2012)
Staff Psychologist at Durham VA Medical Center
Dissertation: Computational Model of Selection by Consequences: Patterns of Preference Change on Concurrent Schedules

John Berg, PhD (2011)
Psychologist at James Haley VA Hospital
Dissertation: Implementation of Stimulus Control in a Computational Model

Paul Soto, PhD (2003)
Research Assistant Professor, College of Education, Texas Tech University
Dissertation: A Test of Matching Theory's Interpretation of re

Jesse Dallery, PhD (1999)
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Florida
Dissertation: Reinforcer Magnitude and Mathematical Models of Operant Behavior

Lisa Shaw, PhD (1994)
Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Seattle Anxiety OCD
Dissertation: Matching Theory Descriptions of Human Social Behavior in Variable-Interval Schedules of Negative Reinforcement

Scott Beardsley, PhD (1991)
Senior Director Quality Improvement at Optum Behavioral
Dissertation: The Application of the Matching Law to the TIme Allocation of Human Social Behavior in a Naturalistic Setting

John Wixted, PhD (1987)
Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California-San Diego