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Dr Damian Scarf

Damian ScarfEmail damian@psy.otago.ac.nz
Phone 64 3 479 7636

It was a third year psychology paper (PSYC 319) and its teacher (Professor Michael Colombo) that first got Damian interested in psychology. After completing his BSc in Zoology, Damian went onto complete his PhD in Professor Colombo’s lab. His PhD research focused on how pigeons execute and plan sequences. Damian continues to collaborate with Professor Colombo and Damian’s comparative research now employs electrophysiological techniques in order to uncover how sequences are represented at the neural level.

Dr Damian Scarf received his PhD from the University of Otago in 2011. Damian’s PhD focused on the representation and planning of sequences in pigeons. During the course of his PhD Damian received a Fulbright scholarship and worked as a visiting researcher in Professor Herb Terrace’s Primate Cognition Lab at Columbia University. While at Columbia University, Damian investigated the planning abilities of rhesus monkeys and transitive preference in children. Damian received several other scholarships during his PhD as well as a number of travel grants. At the time his PhD was conferred, Damian had 9 first author publications. Damian’s PhD was also placed on the University of Otago Division of Sciences List of Exception PhD Theses.

After completing his PhD Damian went on to be Postdoctoral Fellow, and subsequently a Research Fellow, in Professor Harlene Hayne’s child development lab. In Professor Hayne’s lab Damian focused on memory development in young children and investigated whether children are born with an innate sense of right and wrong.

In 2013 Damian became a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. The current focus of Damian’s developmental work is mental time travel and the delay of gratification in young children. Damian’s animal work currently focuses on the neurobiology of sequence learning in pigeons and cognitive abilities of parrots, including kea and kaka.

Teaching

  • PSYC 472 Special Topic: Current Controversies in Psychology

Research Interests

  • Comparative animal cognition; eg, testing the abilityo pigeons to learn novel sequence and solve problems
  • Developmental psychology; eg, testing the ability of 3- and 4-year-old children for the future and delay gratification

Find out more about Dr Scarf's research interests

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Publications

Boden, H., Labuschagne, L. G., Hinten, A. E., & Scarf, D. (2017). Episodic foresight beyond the very next event in 3- and 4-year-old children. Developmental Psychobiology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/dev.21544

Scarf, D., Hayhurst, J. G., Riordan, B. C., Boyes, M., Ruffman, T., & Hunter, J. A. (2017). Increasing resilience in adolescents: The importance of social connectedness in adventure education programmes. Australasian Psychiatry, 25(2), 154-156. doi: 10.1177/1039856216671668

Ruffman, T., Lorimer, B., & Scarf, D. (2017). Do infants really experience emotional contagion? Child Development Perspectives. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12244

Smith, C. D., & Scarf, D. (2017). Spacing repetitions over long timescales: A review and a reconsolidation explanation. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 962. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00962

Riordan, B. C., & Scarf, D. (2017). Crafting minds and communities with Minecraft. F1000Research, 5, 2339. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.9625.2

Chapter in Book - Research

Kafka, S., Hayhurst, J. G., Boyes, M., Scarf, D., Ruffman, T., & Hunter, J. A. (2016). Charting a course to self-esteem: Evidence from four independent studies showing elevated self-esteem following in a 10-day voyage. In F. Holloway (Ed.), Self-esteem: Perspectives, influences and improvement strategies. (pp. 195-230). Nova Science.

Hayne, H., Imuta, K., & Scarf, D. (2015). Memory development during infancy and early childhood across cultures. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (Vol. 15). (2nd ed.) (pp. 147-154). Oxford, UK: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.23062-6

Hayne, H., Scarf, D., & Imuta, K. (2015). Childhood memories. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (Vol. 3). (2nd ed.) (pp. 465-470). Oxford, UK: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.51025-3

Scarf, D., Terrace, H. S., & Colombo, M. (2011). Planning abilities of monkeys. In R. M. Williams (Ed.), Monkeys: Biology, behavior and disorders. (pp. 137-150). New York: Nova.

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Journal - Research Article

Boden, H., Labuschagne, L. G., Hinten, A. E., & Scarf, D. (2017). Episodic foresight beyond the very next event in 3- and 4-year-old children. Developmental Psychobiology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/dev.21544

Riordan, B. C., & Scarf, D. (2017). Crafting minds and communities with Minecraft. F1000Research, 5, 2339. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.9625.2

Smith, C. D., & Scarf, D. (2017). Spacing repetitions over long timescales: A review and a reconsolidation explanation. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 962. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00962

Ruffman, T., Lorimer, B., & Scarf, D. (2017). Do infants really experience emotional contagion? Child Development Perspectives. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12244

Scarf, D., Hayhurst, J. G., Riordan, B. C., Boyes, M., Ruffman, T., & Hunter, J. A. (2017). Increasing resilience in adolescents: The importance of social connectedness in adventure education programmes. Australasian Psychiatry, 25(2), 154-156. doi: 10.1177/1039856216671668

Riordan, B. C., Conner, T. S., Flett, J. A. M., & Scarf, D. (2017). A text message intervention to reduce first year university students’ alcohol use: A pilot experimental study. Digital Health, 3. doi: 10.1177/2055207617707627

Labuschagne, L. G., Cox, T.-J., Brown, K., & Scarf, D. (2017). Too cool? Symbolic but not iconic stimuli impair 4-year-old children's performance on the delay-of-gratification choice paradigm. Behavioural Processes, 36-39. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2016.11.014

Hunter, J. A., Platow, M. J., Moradi, S., Banks, M., Hayhurst, J., Kafka, S., Iversen, G., Scobie, O., Scarf, D., … Ruffman, T. (2017). Subjective belonging and in-group favoritism. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 73, 136-146. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2017.06.010

Scarf, D., Boy, K., Uber Reinert, A., Devine, J., Güntürkün, O., & Colombo, M. (2016). Orthographic processing in pigeons (Columba livia). PNAS, 113(40), 11272-11276. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1607870113

Scarf, D., Stuart, M., Johnston, M., & Colombo, M. (2016). Visual response properties of neurons in four areas of the avian pallium. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 202(3), 235-245. doi: 10.1007/s00359-016-1071-6

Staniland, J., Colombo, M., & Scarf, D. (2015). The Generation Effect or simply generating an effect? Journal of Comparative Psychology, 129(4), 329-333. doi: 10.1037/a0039450

Payne, G., Taylor, R., Hayne, H., & Scarf, D. (2015). Mental time travel for self and other in three- and four-year-old children. Memory, 23(5), 675-682. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2014.921310

Riordan, B. C., Flett, J. A. M., Hunter, J. A., Scarf, D. K., & Conner, T. S. (2015). Fear of missing out (FoMO): The relationship between FoMO, alcohol use, and alcohol-related consequences in college students. Annals of Neuroscience & Psychology, 2, 7. Retrieved from http://www.vipoa.org/neuropsychol/2/7

Kumst, S., & Scarf, D. (2015). Your wish is my command! The influence of symbolic modelling on preschool children's delay of gratification. PeerJ, 3, e774. doi: 10.7717/peerj.774

Riordan, B. C., Scarf, D., & Conner, T. S. (2015). Is Orientation Week a gateway to persistent alcohol use in university students? A preliminary investigation. Journal of Studies on Alcohol & Drugs, 76(2), 204-211.

Riordan, B. C., Conner, T. S., Flett, J. A. M., & Scarf, D. (2015). A brief Orientation Week ecological momentary intervention to reduce university student alcohol consumption. Journal of Studies on Alcohol & Drugs, 76(4), 525-529. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2015.76.525

Imuta, K., Hayne, H., & Scarf, D. (2014). I want it all and I want it now: Delay of gratification in preschool children. Developmental Psychobiology, 56(7), 1541-1552. doi: 10.1002/dev.21249

Scarf, D., Terrace, H., Colombo, M., & Magnuson, J. S. (2014). Eye movements reveal planning in humans: A comparison with Scarf and Colombo's (2009) monkeys. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 40(2), 178-184. doi: 10.1037/xan0000008

Scarf, D., Smith, C., & Stuart, M. (2014). A spoon full of studies helps the comparison go down: A comparative analysis of Tulving’s spoon test. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 145-155.

Scarf, D., Millar, J., Pow, N., & Colombo, M. (2014). Inhibition, the final frontier: The impact of hippocampal lesions on behavioral inhibition and spatial processing in pigeons. Behavioral Neuroscience, 128(1), 42-47. doi: 10.1037/a0035487

Imuta, K., Scarf, D., & Hayne, H. (2013). The effect of verbal reminders on memory reactivation in 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old children. Developmental Psychology, 49(6), 1058-1065. doi: 10.1037/a0029432

Scarf, D., Gross, J., Colombo, M., & Hayne, H. (2013). To have and to hold: Episodic memory in 3- and 4-year-old children. Developmental Psychobiology, 55(2), 125-132. doi: 10.1002/dev.21004

Imuta, K., Scarf, D., Pharo, H., & Hayne, H. (2013). Drawing a close to the use of human figure drawings as a projective measure of intelligence. PLoS ONE, 8(3), e58991. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058991

Colombo, M., & Scarf, D. (2012). Neurophysiological studies of learning and memory in pigeons. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 7, 23-43. doi: 10.3819/ccbr.2012.7002

Scarf, D., Imuta, K., Colombo, M., & Hayne, H. (2012). Social evaluation or simple association? Simple associations may explain moral reasoning in infants. PLoS ONE, 7(8), e42698. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042698

Scarf, D., Danly, E., Morgan, G., Colombo, M., & Terrace, H. S. (2011). Sequential planning in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Animal Cognition, 14(3), 317-324. doi: 10.1007/s10071-010-0365-2

Scarf, D., & Colombo, M. (2011). Knowledge of the ordinal position of list items in pigeons. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 37(4), 483-487. doi: 10.1037/a0023695

Scarf, D., Miles, K., Sloan, A., Goulter, N., Hegan, M., Seid-Fatemi, A., … Colombo, M. (2011). Brain cells in the avian 'prefrontal cortex' code for features of slot-machine-like gambling. PLoS ONE, 6(1), e14589. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014589

Scarf, D., Hayne, H., & Colombo, M. (2011). Pigeons on par with primates in numerical competence. Science, 334(6063), 1664. doi: 10.1126/science.1213357

Scarf, D., & Colombo, M. (2010). Representation of serial order in pigeons (Columba livia). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 36(4), 423-429. doi: 10.1037/a0020926

Scarf, D., & Colombo, M. (2010). The formation and execution of sequential plans in pigeons (Columba livia). Behavioural Processes, 83(2), 179-182. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2009.12.004

Scarf, D., & Colombo, M. (2010). A positional coding mechanism in pigeons after learning multiple three-item lists. Animal Cognition, 13, 653-661. doi: 10.1007/s10071-010-0315-z

Scarf, D., & Colombo, M. (2009). Eye movements during list execution reveal no planning in monkeys (Macaca fascicularis). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35(4), 587-592. doi: 10.1037/a0014020

Scarf, D., & Colombo, M. (2008). Representation of serial order: A comparative analysis of humans, monkeys, and pigeons. Brain Research Bulletin, 76(3), 307-312. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2008.02.022

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Journal - Research Other

Güntürkün, O., Ströckens, F., Scarf, D., & Colombo, M. (2017). Apes, feathered apes, and pigeons: Differences and similarities. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 16, 35-40. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.03.003

Scarf, D., Moradi, S., McGaw, K., Hewitt, J., Hayhurst, J. G., Boyes, M., Ruffman, T., & Hunter, J. A. (2016). Somewhere I belong: Long-term increases in adolescents’ resilience are predicted by perceived belonging to the in-group [Brief report]. British Journal of Social Psychology, 55(3), 588-599. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12151

Riordan, B., Conner, T., Flett, J., & Scarf, D. (2015). Out of touch? The shortcoming of New Zealand's amended Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (2012) for the Rugby World Cup (2015). New Zealand Medical Journal, 128(1422). Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Imuta, K., Hewitt, J., & Scarf, D. (2015). Gollin’s (1965) levels-by-levels approach: The importance of manipulating the task dimension when assessing age-related changes and individual differences in decision making. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 541. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00541

Colombo, M., & Scarf, D. (2015). Making clear the value of basic behavioural research: A commentary on A crisis in comparative psychology: Where have all the undergraduates gone?. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1766. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01766

Imuta, K., & Scarf, D. (2014). When too much of a novel thing may be what's "bad": Commentary on Fisher, Godwin, and Seltman (2014). Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1444. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01444

Scarf, D. (2013). Visual acuity: Bird vision offers sharp insight. Nature, 502(7473), 624. doi: 10.1038/502624e

Scarf, D., Imuta, K., Colombo, M., & Hayne, H. (2012). Golden Rule or valence matching? Methodological problems in Hamlin et al. PNAS, 109(22), E1426. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204123109

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Riordan, B. C., Conner, T. S., Flett, J. A. M., & Scarf, D. (2016). The Jekyll and Hyde of student drinking: Event specific drinking during Orientation Week and suggestions for intervention. Proceedings of the Psycolloquy Seminar. (pp. 18). Dunedin, New Zealand: Department of Psychology, University of Otago. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/psychology/research/otago059081.html

Johnston, M., Scarf, D., Clarkson, A., & Colombo, M. (2016). The role of avian nidopallium caudolaterale in a four-item serial order task. Proceedings of the Psycolloquy Seminar. (pp. 21). Dunedin, New Zealand: Department of Psychology, University of Otago. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/psychology/research/otago059081.html

Riordan, B. C., Flett, J. A. M., Conner, T. S., & Scarf, D. (2015). Who you gonna call? Mobile phone interventions to reduce student alcohol use during known periods of risk. Proceedings of the Public Health Association Conference. (pp. 25). Retrieved from https://www.ivvy.com/event/PHA15/

Hinten, A. E., & Scarf, D. (2015). Four out of five ain't bad: Consistency of results and helper's behaviour in children's social evaluations. Proceedings of the Psycolloquy Seminar. (pp. 14). Dunedin, New Zealand: Department of Psychology, University of Otago. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/psychology/research/otago059081.html

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