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Mike Colombo

Tel +64 3 479 7626

Professor Mike Colombo has over 30 years of university teaching experience, at both graduate and undergraduate levels, and over 30 years of research experience. His current research interests are the neural mechanisms of visual processing, the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, and comparative animal cognition. He has authored over 100 journal articles and one book, and has received numerous awards for his teaching and supervision, including the University of Otago Excellence in Teaching Award.

Mike received his undergraduate degree in molecular biology and psychology from the University of Colorado. He received his PhD in 1989 from Rutgers University with a research emphasis on comparative animal cognition and neuroscience. Following his PhD, he was awarded an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the neural mechanisms of visual processing in monkeys at Princeton University. He joined the University of Otago in 1992 and served as Head of Department of Psychology from 2014 to 2019.


  • PSYC111 Sensation, Perception and Neuropsychology
  • PSYC310 Research Project
  • PSYC319 Comparative Cognition

Research Interests

  • Neural mechanisms of visual processing
  • Neural mechanisms of learning and memory
  • Comparative animal cognition

Find out more about Professor Colombo's research


Kakrada, E., & Colombo, M. (2023). Beyond the mark: Signatures of self-recognition in fish. Learning & Behavior. Advance online publication. doi: 10.3758/s13420-023-00586-0

Clark, W., Chilcott, M., & Colombo, M. (2022). The effect of progressive image scrambling on neuronal responses at three stations of the pigeon tectofugal pathway. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 14190. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18006-0

Kakrada, E., & Colombo, M. (2022). Extending the null hypothesis to invertebrate pain sentience. Animal Sentience, 32(25), 444. doi: 10.51291/2377-7478.1754

Clark, W., & Colombo, M. (2022). Seeing the forest for the trees, and the ground below my beak: Global and local processing in the pigeon's visual system [Mini review]. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 888528. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.888528

Kakrada, E., & Colombo, M. (2022). Mirror mirror on the wall, it's not the mark I care about at all. Learning & Motivation, 77, 101785. doi: 10.1016/j.lmot.2022.101785

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