Dr. James Denniston

Research Interests

  • Elementary information processing in animals

My area of specialization is information processing in animals, including learning, memory, timing, and decision making.  Recent work has been concerned with the processes underlying extinction (the loss of responding following exposure to a previously conditioned stimulus).  This research has focused on identifying the mechanisms responsible for extinction and the renewal effect.  These studies have found that extinction is the result of an easily disrupted inhibitory association that is rich in its informational content.  Additionally, I have been investigating whether similar mechanisms are responsible for other sources of relapse following the extinction of conditioned fears.  These lines of research seek to identify variables that might lead to more effective and enduring forms of behavioral treatment of acquired fears (i.e., phobias).

Education

  • Ph.D., 1999, State University of New York at Binghamton, Experimental Psychology
  • M.A., 1994, Bucknell University, Experimental Psychology
  • B.A., 1992, New York University

Representative Publications

  • Denniston, J. C. (2008). Basic learning processes: Recent trends in classical conditioning. In W. F. Buskist & S. F. Davis (Eds.), The Handbook of Psychology in the 21st Century. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage Publications.
  • Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (2007). Timing of omitted events: An analysis of temporal control of inhibitory behavior. Behavioural Processes, 74, 274-285. [PDF Format]
  • Pineño, O., Denniston, J. C., Beckers, T., Matute, H., & Miller, R. R. (2005). Contrasting predictive and causal values of predictors and of causes. Learning & Behavior, 33, 184-196. [PDF Format]
  • Denniston, J. C., Blaisdell, A. P., & Miller, R. R. (2004). Temporal coding in conditioned inhibition: Analysis of associative structure of inhibition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 30, 190-202. [PDF Format]
  • Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (2003). The role of temporal variables in inhibition produced through extinction. Learning & Behavior, 31, 35-48. [PDF Format]
  • Denniston, J. C., Waring, D. A., & Buskist, W. (2003). Charles Darwin teaches evolutionary psychology. Contemporary Psychology, 48, 238-241.
  • Denniston, J. C., Chang, R., & Miller, R. R. (2003). Massive extinction treatment attenuates the renewal effect. Learning and Motivation, 34, 68-86. [PDF Format]
  • Denniston, J. C., Savastano, H. I., Blaisdell, A. P., & Miller, R. R. (2003). Cue competition as a retrieval deficit. Learning and Motivation, 34, 1-31. [PDF Format]
  • Blaisdell, A. P., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (2001) Recovery from the overexpectation effect: Contrasting performance-focused and acquisition-focused models of retrospective revaluation. Animal Learning & Behavior, 29, 367-380. [PDF Format]
  • Burger, D., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (2001). Temporal coding in condition inhibition: Retardation tests. Animal Learning & Behavior, 29, 281-290. [PDF Format]
  • Denniston, J. C., Savastano, H. I., & Miller, R. R. (2001). The extended comparator hypothesis: Learning by contiguity, responding by relative strength. In R. R. Mowrer & S. B. Klein (Eds.), Handbook of contemporary learning theories. (pp. 65-117). Mahwah, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
  • Blaisdell, A. P., Denniston, J. C., Savastano, H. I., & Miller, R. R. (2000). Counterconditioning of an overshadowed cue attenuates overshadowing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 26, 74-86. [PDF Format]
  • Blaisdell, A. P., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (1999). Posttraining shifts in the overshadowing stimulus-US interval alleviates the overshadowing deficit. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 25, 18-27. [PDF Format]
  • Gunther, L. M., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (1998). Renewal of comparator stimuli. Learning and Motivation, 29, 200-219.
  • Gunther, L. M., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (1998). Conducting exposure treatment in multiple contexts can prevent relapse. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36, 75-91. [PDF Format]
  • Denniston, J. C., Cole, R. P., & Miller, R. R. (1998). The role of temporal variables in the transfer of conditioned inhibition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 24, 200-214. [PDF Format]
  • Denniston, J. C., Blaisdell, A. P., & Miller, R. R. (1998). Temporal coding affects transfer of serial and simultaneous inhibitors. Animal Learning & Behavior, 26, 336-350. [PDF Format]
  • Blaisdell, A. P., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (1998). Temporal encoding as a determinant of overshadowing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 24, 72-83. [PDF Format]
  • Blaisdell, A. P., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (1997). Unblocking with qualitative change of US. Learning and Motivation, 28, 268-279. [PDF Format]
  • Denniston, J. C., Miller, R. R., & Matute, H. (1996). Biological significance as a determinant of cue competition. Psychological Science, 7, 325-331.
  • Cole, R. P., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (1996). Reminder induced attenuation of the effect of relative stimulus validity. Animal Learning & Behavior, 24, 256-265.
Title: Coordinator of Faculty Diversity Recruitment and Inclusion Initiatives for the Office of Academic Affairs, Professor of Psychology
Department: Department of Psychology

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-8939

Fax: (828) 262-2974

Office address
215 Smith Wright Hall

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