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Dr Ryan Ward

Ryan Ward2

Email rward@psy.otago.ac.nz
Phone 64 3 479 5660

Dr Ryan Ward received his PhD from Utah State University in 2008. His PhD research focused on how reinforcement variables such as rate and probability impacted attention and working memory in a visual discrimination procedure. This work was awarded the Basic Research Dissertation Award from Division 25 of the American Psychological Association in 2009.

He made the move to New York City to pursue post-doctoral training and research at Columbia University. His research in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience focused on behavioral and neurobiological characterisation of a transgenic mouse model of the negative and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. He and his colleagues discovered that the mice had impaired ability to use reward related information to adaptively guide choice behavior, a strikingly similar deficit to that reported in patients. For this work, Dr Ward was awarded the B.F. Skinner Foundation New Researcher Award from the American Psychological Association in 2012.

Ryan joined the Department of Psychology as a Lecturer in 2014. His current research is focused on understanding the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying the interaction between motivation and cognition. He has published over 30 articles and book chapters, and his work has been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health. He currently serves on the review board for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and has served as a reviewer for numerous other journals.

Teaching

Research Interests

  • Behavioural neuroscience
  • Motivation, cognition, and their interaction
  • Temporal information processing

Find out more about Dr Ward's research interests

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Publications

Parnaudeau, S., Taylor, K., Bolkan, S. S., Ward, R. D., Balsam, P. D., & Kellendonk, C. (2015). Mediodorsal thalamus hypofunction impairs flexible goal-directed behavior. Biological Psychiatry, 77(5), 445-453. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.03.020

Trifilieff, P., Feng, B., Urizar, E., Winiger, V., Ward, R. D., Taylor, K. M., … Javitch, J. A. (2013). Increasing dopamine D2 receptor expression in the adult nucleus accumbens enhances motivation. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(9), 1025-1033. doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.57

Jensen, G., Ward, R. D., & Balsam, P. D. (2013). Information: Theory, brain, and behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 100(3), 408-431. doi: 10.1002/jeab.49

Parnaudeau, S., O'Neill, P.-K., Bolkan, S. S., Ward, R. D., Abbas, A. I., Roth, B. L., … Kellendonk, C. (2013). Inhibition of mediodorsal thalamus disrupts thalamofrontal connectivity and cognition. Neuron, 77(6), 1151-1162. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.01.038

Ward, R., Gallistel, C. R., & Balsam, P. D. (2013). It's the information! Behavioural Processes, 95, (pp. 3-7). doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2013.01.005

Journal - Research Article

Parnaudeau, S., Taylor, K., Bolkan, S. S., Ward, R. D., Balsam, P. D., & Kellendonk, C. (2015). Mediodorsal thalamus hypofunction impairs flexible goal-directed behavior. Biological Psychiatry, 77(5), 445-453. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.03.020

Jensen, G., Ward, R. D., & Balsam, P. D. (2013). Information: Theory, brain, and behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 100(3), 408-431. doi: 10.1002/jeab.49

Parnaudeau, S., O'Neill, P.-K., Bolkan, S. S., Ward, R. D., Abbas, A. I., Roth, B. L., … Kellendonk, C. (2013). Inhibition of mediodorsal thalamus disrupts thalamofrontal connectivity and cognition. Neuron, 77(6), 1151-1162. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.01.038

Trifilieff, P., Feng, B., Urizar, E., Winiger, V., Ward, R. D., Taylor, K. M., … Javitch, J. A. (2013). Increasing dopamine D2 receptor expression in the adult nucleus accumbens enhances motivation. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(9), 1025-1033. doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.57

Kahn, J. B., Ward, R. D., Kahn, L. W., Rudy, N. M., Kandel, E. R., Balsam, P. D., & Simpson, E. H. (2012). Medial prefrontal lesions in mice impair sustained attention but spare maintenance of information in working memory. Learning & Memory, 19(11), 513-517. doi: 10.1101/lm.026302.112

Nevin, J. A., Shahan, T. A., Odum, A. L., & Ward, R. (2012). Delayed matching to sample: Reinforcement has opposite effects on resistance to change in two related procedures. Learning & Behavior, 40(4), 380-392. doi: 10.3758/s13420-011-0059-x

Ward, R. D., Gallistel, C. R., Jensen, G., Richards, V. L., Fairhurst, S., & Balsam, P. D. (2012). Conditioned stimulus informativeness governs conditioned stimulus-unconditioned stimulus associability. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 38(3), 217-232. doi: 10.1037/a0027621

Ward, R. D., Kellendonk, C., Kandel, E. R., & Balsam, P. D. (2012). Timing as a window on cognition in schizophrenia. Neuropharmacology, 62(3), 1175-1181. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.04.014

Ward, R. D., Simpson, E. H., Richards, V. L., Deo, G., Taylor, K., Glendinning, J. I., … Balsam, P. D. (2012). Dissociation of hedonic reaction to reward and incentive motivation in an animal model of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology, 37(7), 1699-1707. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.15

Simpson, E. H., Kellendonk, C., Ward, R. D., Richards, V., Lipatova, O., Fairhurst, S., … Balsam, P. D. (2011). Pharmacologic rescue of motivational deficit in an animal model of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry, 69(10), 928-935. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.01.012

Ward, R. D., Johnson, R. N., & Odum, A. L. (2009). Effects of prefeeding, extinction, and distraction during sample and comparison presentation on sensitivity to reinforcer frequency in matching to sample. Behavioural Processes, 81(1), 65-73. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2009.02.003

Balsam, P., Sanchez-Castillo, H., Taylor, K., Van Volkinburg, H., & Ward, R. D. (2009). Timing and anticipation: Conceptual and methodological approaches. European Journal of Neuroscience, 30(9), 1749-1755. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06967.x

Nevin, J. A., Ward, R. D., Jimenez-Gomez, C., Odum, A. L., & Shahan, T. A. (2009). Differential outcomes enhance accuracy of delayed matching to sample but not resistance to change. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35(1), 74-91. doi: 10.1037/a0012926

Ward, R. D., Barrett, S. T., Johnson, R. N., & Odum, A. L. (2009). Nicotine does not enhance discrimination performance in a temporal bisection procedure. Behavioural Pharmacology, 20(1), 99-108. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e3283242fc2

Ward, R. D., Simpson, E. H., Drew, M. R., Kandel, E. R., Kellendonk, C., Lipatova, O., … Balsam, P. D. (2009). Impaired timing precision produced by striatal D2 receptor overexpression is mediated by cognitive and motivational deficits. Behavioral Neuroscience, 123(4), 720-730. doi: 10.1037/a0016503

Ward, R. D., & Odum, A. L. (2008). Sensitivity of conditional-discrimination performance to within-session variation of reinforcer frequency. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 90(3), 301-311.

Ward, R. D., & Odum, A. L. (2007). Disruption of temporal discrimination and the choose-short effect. Learning & Behavior, 35(1), 60-70.

Odum, A. L., Ward, R. D., Barnes, C. A., & Burke, K. A. (2006). The effects of delayed reinforcement on variability and repetition of response sequences. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 86(2), 159-179. doi: 10.1901/jeab.2006.58-05

Podlesnik, C. A., Jimenez-Gomez, C., Ward, R. D., & Shahan, T. A. (2006). Resistance to change of responding maintained by unsignaled delays to reinforcement: A response-bout analysis. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 85(3), 329-347. doi: 10.1901/jeab.2006.47-05

Ward, R. D., Bailey, E. M., & Odum, A. L. (2006). Effects of D-amphetamine and ethanol on variable and repetitive key-peck sequences in pigeons. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 86(3), 285-305. doi: 10.1901/jeab.2006.17-06

Ward, R. D., & Odum, A. L. (2006). Effects of prefeeding, intercomponent-interval food, and extinction on temporal discrimination and pacemaker rate. Behavioural Processes, 71(2-3), 297-306. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2005.11.016

Ward, R. D., & Odum, A. L. (2005). Effects of morphine on temporal discrimination and color matching: General disruption of stimulus control or selective effects on timing? Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 84(3), 401-415. doi: 10.1901/jeab.2005.94-04

Odum, A. L., & Ward, R. D. (2004). The effects of morphine on the production and discrimination of interresponse times. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 82(2), 197-212.

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Ward, R., Gallistel, C. R., & Balsam, P. D. (2013). It's the information! Behavioural Processes, 95, (pp. 3-7). doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2013.01.005

Ward, R. D., Simpson, E. H., Kandel, E. R., & Balsam, P. D. (2011). Modeling motivational deficits in mouse models of schizophrenia: Behavior analysis as a guide for neuroscience. Behavioural Processes, 87(1), (pp. 149-156). doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2011.02.004

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