Dr. Jeffrey R. Stevens

Department of Psychology,

238 Burnett Hall,
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0308

Research Program

Mechanisms of Social Cognition

My research follows the bounded rationality approach, which explores how organisms with limited time, information, and computational abilities make adaptive decisions. I use theoretical, experimental, and comparative methods to model and empirically investigate the cognitive processes humans and other animals use when making decisions. One of my research topics explores the cognitive mechanisms, such as patience and accurate memory, needed to implement decision strategies in cooperative situations. Another research topic develops and tests process-based models of intertemporal choice. I also investigate questions of risky choice, quantification, timing, memory, and social networks to help understand how humans and other animals make decisions in an uncertain world. More information is available at the
Adaptive Decision Making Lab web site.


Publications list:

Duque, J.F., Rasmussen, T., Rodriguez, A., & Stevens, J.R. (2020). The role of mesotocin on social bonding in pinyon jays. Ethology 126: 165175. PDF

Duque, J.F., Leichner, W., Ahmann, H. & Stevens, J.R. (2018). Mesotocin influences pinyon jay prosociality. Biology Letters 14(4): 20180105. PDF

Duque, J.F. & Stevens, J.R. (2016). Voluntary food sharing in pinyon jays: The role of reciprocity and dominance. Animal Behaviour 122: 135-144. PDF

Stevens, J.R., Kennedy, B.A., Morale, D., and Burks, M. (2016) The domain specificity of intertemporal choice in pinyon jays. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 23: 915921. PDF

Stevens, J.R. (2014) Evolutionary pressures on primate intertemporal choice. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 281: 20140499. PDF

Stevens, J.R. & Mühlhoff, N. (2012) Intertemporal choice in lemurs. Behavioural Processes 89: 121-127. PDF

Mühlhoff, N., Stevens, J.R., & Reader, S.M. (2011) Spatial discounting of food and social rewards in guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Frontiers in Psychology 2: 68. PDF

Stevens, J.R., Rosati, A.G., Heilbronner, S.R., & Mühlhoff, N. (2011) Waiting for grapes: Expectancy and delayed gratification in bonobos. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 24: 99-111. PDF

Stevens, J.R., Volstorf, J., Schooler, L.J., & Rieskamp, J. (2011) Forgetting constrains the emergence of cooperative decision strategies. Frontiers in Psychology 1: 235. PDF

Volstorf, J., Rieskamp, J., & Stevens, J.R. (2011) The good, the bad, and the rare: Memory for partners in social interactions. PLoS ONE 6: e18945. PDF

Stevens, J.R. (2010) The challenges of understanding animal minds. Frontiers in Psychology 1: 203. PDF

Stevens, J.R. (2010) Donor payoffs and other-regarding preferences in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). Animal Cognition 13: 663-670. PDF

Heilbronner, S.R., Rosati, A.G., Stevens, J.R., Hare, B. & Hauser, M.D. (2008) A fruit in the hand or two in the bush? Ecological pressures select for divergent risk preferences in chimpanzees and bonobos. Biology Letters 4: 246-249. PDF

Stevens, J.R. & Stephens, D.W. (2008) Patience. Current Biology 18: R11-12. PDF

Rosati, A.G., Stevens, J.R., Hare, B. & Hauser, M.D. (2007) The evolutionary origins of human patience: Temporal preferences in chimpanzees, bonobos, and human adults. Current Biology 17: 1663-1668. PDF

Stevens, J.R., Wood, J.N., & Hauser, M.D. (2007) Quantity trumps number: Discrimination experiments in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) and common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Animal Cognition 10: 429-437. PDF

Stevens, J.R., Cushman, F.A., and Hauser, M.D. (2005) Evolving the psychological mechanisms for cooperation. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 36: 499-518. PDF

Stevens, J.R., Hallinan, E.V., and Hauser, M.D. (2005) The ecology and evolution of patience in two New World primates. Biology Letters 1: 223-226. PDF

Stevens, J.R., Rosati, A.G., Ross, K.R., and Hauser, M.D. (2005) Will travel for food: Spatial discounting and reward magnitude in two New World monkeys. Current Biology 15: 1855-1860. PDF

Stevens, J.R. (2004) The selfish nature of generosity: Harassment and food sharing in primates. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 271: 451-456. PDF

Stevens, J.R. and Hauser, M.D. (2004) Why be nice? Psychological constraints on the evolution of cooperation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8: 60-65. PDF

Stevens, J.R. and Stephens, D.W. (2004) The economic basis of cooperation: Trade-offs between selfishness and generosity. Behavioral Ecology 15: 255-261. PDF

Stephens, D.W., McLinn, C.M., & Stevens, J.R. (2002) Discounting and reciprocity in an Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. Science 298: 2216-2218. PDF