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Jennifer Templeton


Jennifer Templeton

Professor of Biology

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Professor of Biology

Jennifer Templeton

General Interests
"My research takes an interdisciplinary approach, spanning the fields of behavioral ecology, ornithology, experimental and comparative psychology, and neuroethology. The focus of my studies is on learning, memory, and foraging behavior, and involves experimental work in the field and lab. In particular, I am interested in the ecological and cognitive factors that have influenced the evolution of decision-making processes, information use, and learning in solitary and group-living species.

I am campus co-advisor for a couple of study-abroad programs in Tanzania: SFS - Tanzania Wildlife Management Studies and SIT Zanzibar - Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management."

Years at Knox: 2001 to present

Ph.D., Biology, 1993, Concordia University-Montréal, Québec, Canada.
M.S., Biology, 1987, Queen's University at Kingston-Ontario, Canada.
B.S., Psychology, B.Sc. (Honors) Biology, 1985, Queen's University at Kingston-Ontario, Canada.

Teaching Interests
Cognitive ecology, animal behavior, behavioral ecology, supervising undergraduate students undertaking ecological and neuroethological studies of avian foraging, development, learning, memory in lab and field.

Research Web Page

Faculty CV

Selected Professional Accomplishments


  • Co-PI on PI Crawford’s NSF S-STEM Grant (DUE 1258935): COAST: Creating Opportunities & Access in Science and Technology. Sept 2013 - May 2019.
  • Knox Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant - Collaborative Research Grant with James Mountjoy: "Sabbatical Research at the University of Washington: Identifying Brain Regions Associated with Visual Mate Choice in Zebra Finches" - 2017.
  • National Science Foundation Grant: Experimental examination of factors affecting public information use by birds, 2001-2004.


"What Causes the Guilty Look in Dogs?" Case Study, plus Answer Key & Teaching Notes. Templeton, J.J., 2020. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.

"How do birds look at their world? A novel visual fixation strategy in birds." Butler, S.R., Templeton, J.J., Fernandez-Juricic, E. 2018. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 72: 38-47. 

"Exploring Animal Behavior in the Laboratory: Territoriality in Cichlids," The American Biology Teacher 79 (2017): 41-48.

Templeton, J.J., *McCracken, B.G., *Sher, M., Mountjoy, D.J. 2014. An eye for beauty: Lateralized visual stimulation of courtship behavior and mate preferences in male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata. Behavioural Processes 102: 33-39.

" In the eye of the beholder: visual mate choice lateralization in a polymorphic songbird." Jennifer J. Templeton, D. James Mountjoy, Sarah R. Pryke and Simon C. Griffith. Royal Society's Biology Letters, online, doi: 10.1098 (2012).

"Investigating the influence of personality on performance by family-owned dogs in a human-cued task." Templeton, J.J., Stoune, J. & Thorn, J.M. Journal of Veterinary Behavior / Clinical Applications and Research 6 (2011): 84. CSF II Symposium Abstract.

"Social learning in shelter dogs." Co-authored with J.M. Thorn. Journal of Veterinary Behavior /Clinical Applications and Research 4 (2009): 78-79. CSF I Symposium Abstract.

"A behavioral analysis of prey detection lateralization & unilateral transfer in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)." Co-authored with J. Christensen-Dykema. Behavioural Processes 79 (2008):125-131.

"Use of a geometric rule or absolute vectors: landmark use by Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana)." Co-authors D. Kelly, S. Kippenbrock, and A. Kamil. Brain Research Bulletin 76 (2008): 293-299.

"Conditioning Shelter Dogs To Sit." Co-authors J.M. Thorn, K.M.M. Van Winkle, and R.R. Castillo. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 9 (2006): 25-39.

"Reverse Lateralization of Visual Discriminative Abilities in the European Starling." Co-authored with D.P. Gonzalez. Animal Behaviour 67 (2004): 783-788.

"Development of Foraging Skills and the Transition to Independence in Fledgling Savannah Sparrows." Co-authored with N.T. Wheelwright. Condor 105 (2003): 279-287.

"Environmental Unpredictability and the Value of Social Information for Foraging Starlings." Co-authored with M. Rafacz. Ethology 109 (2003): 951-960.

"Lateralization of the Search Image in the European Starling." Co-authored with J.M. Christensen. Pew Undergraduate Research Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, October 2002.

"Public Information for Resource Assessment: A Widespread Social Phenomenon." Co-authored with T.J. Valone. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 357 (2002): 1549-1558.

"Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Socially-Acquired Information." Co-authors L-A Giraldeau and T.J. Valone. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 357 (2002): 1559-1566.

"Diving Birds: A Field Study of Benthic and Piscivorous Foragers." Co-authored with D.J. Mountjoy. Chapter in Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field. Eds. B.J. Ploger and K. Yasukawa. Academic Press (2002): 215-220.

"Sociality and Social Learning in Two Species of Corvids." Co-authors A. Kamil and R. Balda, Journal of Comparative Psychology 113 (1999): 1-6.

"Learning from Others' Mistakes: a Paradox Revisited." Animal Behaviour 55 (1998): 79-85.Lefebvre, L., Templeton, J.J., Brown, K. & Koelle, M. 1997. Carib grackles imitate conspecific and Zenaida dove demonstrators. Behaviour 134: 1003-1017.

"Vicarious sampling: the use of personal and public information by starlings foraging in a simple patchy environment". Co-Authored with Giraldeau, L.-A. Behavioural Ecology & Sociobiology 38 (1996): 105-114.

"Mode of foraging competition is related to tutor preference in Zenaida aurita". Co- Authored with Dolman, C. & Lefebvre, L.  Journal of Comparative Psychology 110 (1996):45-54.

"The empirical question of thresholds and mechanisms of mate choice". Co-Authored with Valone, T.J., Nordell, S., and Giraldeau, L.-A.   Evolutionary Ecology 10 (1996): 447-455.

"Public information cues affect the scrounging decisions of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)". Co-Authored with Giraldeau, L.-A.  Animal Behaviour 49 (1995): 1617-1626.

"Patch assessment in foraging flocks of European starlings: Evidence for the use of public information". Co-Authored with Giraldau, L.-A.  Behavioral Ecology 6 (1995): 65-72.

"Food scrounging and diffusion of foraging skills in pigeons, Columba livia: the importance of tutor and observer rewards". Co-Authored with Giraldeau, L.-A. Ethology 89 (1991): 63-72.

"Producers, scroungers, and group foraging". Co-Authored with Vickery, W.L., Giraldeau, L.-A., Kramer, D.L., & Chapman, C. The American Naturalist 137 (1991): 847-863.

"Social foraging in cliff swallows: a critique". Co-Authored with Giraldeau, L.-A. Animal Behaviour 39 (1990): 1213-1214.

"Life skills training for hatchery fish: social learning and survival". Co-Authored with Suboski, M.D. Fisheries Research 7 (1989): 343-352.


With K. Gould, J. Noble, and C. Ordas. Impact of encouragement and handler familiarity on pet dogs; behavior during an unsolvable task: Gazing for permission or gazing for help? International Ethological Conference & Animal Behavior Society Meeting. Chicago, IL. July 2019. 

With M. Crawford and A. F. Mehl. Creating Opportunity and Access in Science and Technology. Envisioning the Future of Undergraduate STEM Education (EnFUSE): Research and Practice. Washington, D.C. April 27 - 29, 2016.

With R. Rem, K. Gould, J. Templeton, "Persistence and Gazing at Humans During an Unsolvable Task Depends on the Age, Sex, and Experience of Pet Dogs," International Comparative Cognition Society, Melbourne, FL. April 13 - 16, 2016.

With Annalyn Chia ('17) and Jim Mountjoy, "Comparison of Bat Species Diversity in Different West-central Illinois Habitats," Midwest Undergraduate Research Symposium, Chicago, IL. November 11 - 12, 2016.

2015 Templeton, J.J. Territoriality in Convict Cichlids: Who Wins? An Animal Behavior Teaching Lab. Animal Behavior Society Meeting, Anchorage Alaska.

2013 Templeton, J.J., *McCracken, B.G., *Sher, M., Mountjoy, D.J. An eye for beauty: Lateralized visual stimulation of courtship behavior and mate preferences in male zebra finches. International Comparative Cognition Society, Melbourne, FL

2012 Mountjoy, D.J., Templeton, J.J., Pryke, S.R., Griffith, S.C. In the eye of the beholder: visual mate choice lateralization in a polymorphic song bird (Erythrura gouldiae). Joint meeting of the Animal Behaviour Society and the Human Evolution & Behavior Society, Albuquerque, NM.

2011 *Wiggen, K. & Templeton, J.J. Cultural transmission of predator recognition in domesticated zebra finches. Joint meeting of the Animal Behaviour Society & the International Ethological Congress. Bloomington, IN.

"Personality and Age Affect the Ability to Interpret Human-Given Social Cues in Bottlenose Dolphins: A Preliminary Analysis." Butzen, C., Byerly, H. & Templeton, J.J. Animal Behavior Society Meeting, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2010.

"Personality is Related to Performance by Family-Owned Dogs in a Human-Cued Task." Templeton, J.J., Stoune, J. & Thorn, J.M. Canine Science Forum II, Vienna, Austria, 2010.

"Cultural Transmission of Predator Recognition in European Starlings." Co-authored with C. Gillespie, Animal Behavior Society (ABS) meeting, Utah, 2008.

"Lateralization of Visual Discrimination in a Passerine: The Importance of the Binocular Field." Co-authored with R. Wintheiser, Animal Behavior Society (ABS) meeting, Utah, 2008.

"Social Learning in Shelter Dogs: Enhancing Training for Adoption." Co-authored with J. Thorn & Biol/Psyc 312 students. Canine Science Forum, Budapest Hungary, 2008.

"Visual Discrimination Lateralization in Passerines and Non-Passerines." Co-authored with R. Wintheiser, Midstates Consortium Undergraduate Research Symposium, St. Louis, MO, 2007.

"Lateralization of Visual Discrimination in the Zebra Finch." Co-authored with K. Wright, PEW Undergraduate Research Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, 2006.

"Domestic Dogs and Social Learning: Do Dogs Learn Better from Conspecifics or Humans?" Co-authors K. Cone and J. Thorn, PEW Undergraduate Research Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, 2006.

"Searching for the Search Image in the Avian Brain." Co-authors J. Christensen and S. Fink, International Society for Behavioral Ecology Meetings, Tours, France, 2006.

"Public Information Use: A Novel Mechanism for Habitat Selection via Conspecific Attraction." Co-authors T.J. Valone and S.E. Nordell. International Society of Behavioral Ecology, Montreal, Québec, Canada, 2002.

"Reverse Lateralization of Visual Discriminative Abilities in the Brain of a Passerine, the European Starling." Co-authored with D.P. Gonzalez. International Society of Comparative Cognition, Melbourne, Florida, 2002.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Campus co-advisor for the ACM Tanzania program.
  • Member, Animal Behaviour Society.
  • Member, Behavioral Ecology Society.
  • Member, Comparative Cognition Society.

What Students Say
"Professor Templeton's passion for her work is obvious. It is her influence that has inspired me to pursue a career as a researcher and professor. Jennifer's familiarity with the larger scientific community makes her an excellent resource for research projects and gives her classes an exciting appeal. Her ambition, enthusiasm, and determination are contagious, whether in her classroom or working in her lab."
-Joyce Christensen, Psychology Major, Biology Minor

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