Jeffrey Stevens

Associate Professor Psychology

Lab site: Adaptive Decision Making Lab

Curriculum vita (PDF)

Dr. Stevens joined the UNL Psychology faculty in Fall 2011. He received his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota in 2002. He then received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. From 2006-2011, he was a research scientist in the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. In addition to being a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, he is also a core faculty member of the Center for Brain, Biology & Behavior. Dr. Stevens' research integrates cognitive and evolutionary perspectives to study decision making in humans and other animals. He uses theoretical, experimental, and comparative methods to model and empirically investigate the cognitive processes organisms use when making decisions. He is currently editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Comparative Psychology.

Dr. Stevens is always on the look out for motivated undergraduate students to join the Adaptive Decision Making Lab. Please contact him for more information. 

Representative Publications (PDFs are available on the ADML site)
Select Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Stevens, J.R. (2017). Replicability and reproducibility in comparative psychology. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 862.
  • Duque, J.F. and Stevens, J.R. (2016). Voluntary food sharing in pinyon jays: The role of reciprocity and dominance. Animal Behaviour, 122, 135-144.
  • Mendelson, T.C., Fitzpatrick, C.L., Hauber, M.E., Pence, C.H., Rodriguez, R.L., Safran, R.J., Stern, C.A., Stevens, J.R. (2016). Cognitive phenotypes and the evolution of animal decisions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 31, 850–859.
  • Stevens, J.R. (2016). Intertemporal similarity: Discounting as a last resort. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 29, 12-24.
  • Stevens, J.R., Kennedy, B.A., Morale, D., and Burks, M. (2016). The domain specificity of intertemporal choice in pinyon jays. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 915–921.
  • Stevens, J.R., Marewski, J.N., Schooler, L.J., & Gilby, I.C. (2016). Reflections of the social environment in chimpanzee memory: Applying rational analysis beyond humans. Royal Society Open Science, 3, 160293.
  • Barron, A.B., Hebets, E.A., Cleland, T.A., Fitzpatrick, C.L., Hauber, M.E., Stevens, J.R. (2015). Embracing multiple definitions of learning. Trends in Neurosciences, 38, 405–407.
  • Stevens, J.R. (2014). Evolutionary pressures on primate intertemporal choice. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 281, 20140499.
  • Pachur, T., Schooler, L.J., & Stevens, J.R. (2014). We’ll meet again: Revealing distributional and temporal patterns of social contact. PLoS ONE, 9, e86081.
  • Kaighobadi, F. & Stevens, J.R. (2013). Does fertility status influence impulsivity and risk taking in human females? Adaptive influences on intertemporal choice and risky decision making. Evolutionary Psychology, 11, 700-717.
  • Stevens, J.R. & Mühlhoff, N. (2012). Intertemporal choice in lemurs. Behavioural Processes, 89, 121-127.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stevens, J.R., Volstorf, J., Schooler, L.J., & Rieskamp, J. (2011). Forgetting constrains the emergence of cooperative decision strategies. Frontiers in Psychology, 1, 235.
  • 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.
  • Stevens, J.R. (2010). The challenges of understanding animal minds. Frontiers in Psychology, 1, 203.
  • Stevens, J.R. (2010). Donor payoffs and other-regarding preferences in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). Animal Cognition, 13, 663-670.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stephens, D.W., McLinn, C.M., & Stevens, J.R. (2002). Discounting and reciprocity in an Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. Science, 298, 2216-2218.
Books Or Chapters Published
  • Stevens, J.R. (2017). Impulsivity: How risk and time influence decision making. New York: Springer.
  • Stevens, J.R. and Duque, J.F. (2016). Psychology of reciprocal altruism. In T.K. Shackelford & V.A. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of evolutionary psychological science. New York: Springer.
  • Stevens, J.R. & King, A.J. (2013). The lives of others: Social rationality in animals. In R. Hertwig, U. Hoffrage, & the ABC Research Group (Eds.), Simple heuristics in a social world. (pp. 409-431). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hammerstein, P. & Stevens, J.R. (2012). Evolution and mechanisms of decision making. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  • Stevens, J.R. (2011). Mechanisms for decisions about the future. In R. Menzel & J. Fischer (Eds.), Animal thinking: Contemporary issues in comparative cognition. Ernst Strüngmann Forum Report (vol. 8, pp. 93-104). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Stevens, J.R. (2010). Intertemporal choice. In M. Breed, & J. Moore (Eds.), Encyclopedia of animal behavior, vol. 2 (pp. 203-208). Oxford: Academic Press.
  • Stevens, J.R. (2010). Rational decision making in primates: The bounded and the ecological. In M.L. Platt & A.A. Ghazanfar (Eds.), Primate neuroethology. (pp. 96-116). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Rosati, A.G. &
  • Stevens, J.R. (2009). Rational decisions: The adaptive nature of context-dependence choice. In S. Watanabe, A.P. Blaisdell, L. Huber, & A. Young (Eds.), Rational animals, irrational humans. (pp. 101-117). Tokyo: Keio University Press.
  • Stevens, J.R. & Stephens, D.W. (2009). The adaptive nature of impulsivity. In G.J. Madden & W.K. Bickel (Eds.), Impulsivity: The behavioral and neurological science of discounting (pp. 361-387). Washington, D.C.: APA Press.
  • Stevens, J.R. (2008). The evolutionary biology of decision making. In C. Engel & W. Singer (Eds.), Better than conscious? Decision making, the human mind, and implications for institutions. Ernst Strüngmann Forum Report 1 (pp. 285-304). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Research Funding Sources
  • National Science Foundation Grant, "Similarity as a process model of intertemporal choice", PI with Leen-Kiat Soh 2017-2021 (NSF-1658837)
  • University of Nebraska Food for Health Collaboration Initiative Seed Grant, "Understanding the effect of exercise on future food intake: The role of behavioral, physiological, and neural mechanisms", Co-PI with Karsten Koehler (PI) and others 2017-2019
  • Nebraska EPSCoR First Award, "Hormonal mechanisms of cooperation" 2014-2016
  • National Science Foundation Grant, "A quantitative analysis of heuristics and discounting models of intertemporal choice", Co-PI with Michel Regenwetter (PI) 2011-2016 (NSF-1062045)
  • TransCoop Grant from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, "A quantitative analysis of heuristics and discounting models of intertemporal choice", PI with Michel Regenwetter 2011-2014
  • Science of Virtue Grant, "The heuristics of virtue: integrating virtue ethics and the science of heuristics" with E.T. Cokely, A. Feltz, J.N. Marewski, F. Artinger, N. Fleischhut, M. Keller, and G. Gigerenzer 2010-2011
  • Evolution, Behavior, and Society (Psyc 270)
  • Perspectives in Psychology (aka Controversial Issues in Psychology; Psyc 440/840)
  • Learning Processes (aka Animal Learning and Cognition; Psyc 461/861)
  • Psychology of Decision Making (Psyc 961)