- Faculty & Staff
Dr. Nancy R. Gee
My recent research explores the emerging area of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI), with specific emphasis on the effectiveness of dogs in educational settings and their impact on cognition. Although I initially focused primarily on preschool and middle school settings, recently I have begun to extend this work to university students and older adults.
In this research, my students and I examine the circumstances under which the presence of a dog has an influence on the performance of a variety of cognitive and physiological outcome measures. The research conducted in my lab has demonstrated that the presence of a real dog (when compared with a stuffed dog or a human) can improve memory performance, increase adherence to instructions in both motor skills and cognitive tasks, increase speed and accuracy and reduce errors made in a categorization task, and serve as a model for appropriate motor skill execution.
I work with students and faculty as a research collaborator and faculty mentor for projects currently underway across the USA and in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and Australia. Human-animal interaction is a rapidly growing field that has moved into mainstream Psychological Science as is demonstrated by the APA’s recent publication of our book on the topic of Social-Neuroscience of Human-Animal Interaction.
I generally teach Statistics (PSY 200), a course I love and which is vital to the evaluation and understanding of psychological research. I also enjoy teaching Cognitive Neuroscience (PSY 361), which investigates the biological basis of cognition, a fascinating and ever-changing area, and Theories of Memory (PSY 454) which presents the various theories that attempt to explain our experiences with memory successes and failures. One of my new favorite courses to teach is Introduction to Psychology (PSY 129). Related to my research area, I also teach a class in Human Animal Interaction. I have also taught Computer Applications in Psychology (PSY 390), Research Methods (PSY 210), Cognitive Psychology (PSY 244), a graduate level Research Design class (CDS 606) and a number of courses for the Honors program.
In addition to my teaching at Fredonia, I am also an Honorary Recognised Teacher in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Liverpool in England.
I have been involved in a variety of campus service activities over the years including serving as Chair of the College Senate, initiating the Paws to Relax portion of De-Stress for Success Week, and serving on the Information Security, Institutional Animal Care and Use committees, as well as the selection committee for the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. I have also served on the Psychology Department Curriculum, Awards, Search, Technology, Alumni Relations, and Program Review committees, among others.
In addition to my campus related service, I also serve on the Editorial Advisory Board for two journals (Applied Developmental Science and Anthrozoös), the Pet Partners Human-Animal Bond Advisory Board and the Board for the International Society for Anthrozoology.
Selected Faculty-Student Collaborations
The research I conduct with students, both on the SUNY Fredonia campus and elsewhere, has the joint aims of improving students’ skills and understanding of the research process, and of expanding our knowledge of the human animal bond. Listed below are a selection of the publications and presentations that have resulted from these student-involved efforts in recent years.
If you are interested in learning more about HAI or getting involved in HAI research please contact me via email for more information.
Hall, S. S., Gee, N.R. & Mills, D. S, (2016). Children reading with dogs: A systematic review of the literature. PLoS one, 11(2), e0149759.
Szabo, D., Gee, N. R., & Miklosi, A. (2016). Natural or pathologic? Discrepancies in the study of cognitive signs of aging in family dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 11, 86-98.
Lowden, P., Wallis, C., Gee, N. & Hilton, A. (2015). Investigating the prevalence of salmonella in dogs within the Midlands region of the United Kingdom. BMC Veterinary Research, 11:239. doi:10.1186/s12917-015-0553-z
Gee, N. R., Friedmann, E., Cogliatore, V., Fisk, A., Stendahl., M. (2015). Does physical contact with a dog or a person affect performance of a working memory task? Anthrozoös, 28, 483-500.
Gee, N. R., Friedmann, E., Stendahl, M., Fisk, A., & Cogliatore, V. (2014). Heart rate variability during a working memory task: Does touching a dog or person affect the response? Anthrozoös, 27, 513-528.
Gee, N. R., Gould, J. K., Swanson, C.C., & Wagner, A. K. (2012). Preschoolers categorize animate objects better in the presence of a dog. Anthrozoös, 25, 187-198.
Gee, N. R., Belcher, J., DeJesus, M., & Riley, W. (2012). The presence of a therapy dog results in improved object recognition performance in preschool children. Anthrozoös, 25, 289-30.
Gee, N. R., Church, M. T., & Altobelli, C. L. (2010). Preschoolers make fewer errors on an object categorization task in the presence of a dog. Anthrozoös, 23, 223-230.
Gee, N. R., Crist, E. N., & Carr, D. N. (2010). Preschool children require fewer instructional prompts to perform a memory task in the presence of a dog. Anthrozoös, 23, 178-184.
Gee, N. R., & Harris, S. L. (2010). Homographs: An alternative approach to determining meaning dominance. Behavior Research Methods, 42, 976-986.
Recent Conference Podium Presentations
Friedmann, E., Galik, E., Thomas, S. A., Hall, S., Cheon, J., Han, N. R., Kim, H. J., & Gee, N. R. (July, 2016). The relationship of health-related outcomes to behaviors with a dog during the Pet Assisted Living (PAL) study intervention for assisted living residents with cognitive impairment. Paper presented at the triennial meeting of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations in Paris, France.
Couchman, J. J., Gee, N. R. & Weidner, A., (July 2015). Using Therapy Dog Attachment to Test Perspective-Taking in Children. Paper presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Saratoga Springs, NY.
Gee, N. R., Friedmann, Coglitore, V., E., Stendahl, M., & Fisk, A., (July, 2014). Does Physical Contact or Dog Breed Affect the Memory Performance? Paper presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Vienna, Austria.
Gee, N. R., Friedmann, E., Stendahl, M., Fisk, A., & Coglitore, V. (July, 2013). Heart rate variability during a working memory task: Does touching a dog or a person affect the response? Paper presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Chicago, IL.
Recent Conference Poster Presentations
Friedmann, E., Galik, E., Thomas, S. A., Hall, P. S., Cheon, J., Han, N. R., Kim, H. J., & Gee, N. R. (2016, July). The relationship of health-related outcomes to behaviors with a dog during the Pet Assisted Living (PAL) Study intervention for assisted living residents with cognitive impairment. Poster presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Barcelona, Spain.
Ozgunay, S., Murray, J. K., Rowe, E., Gee, N. R. and Casey, R. A. (2015, July). Cognitive and Behavioural Welfare Assessment of Cats Living in Single and Multi-cat Households. Poster presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Saratoga Springs, NY.
Couchman, J. J., Gee, N. R., Wiley, R. M., Zmuda, S. J., Manning, H., S., & Perez, A. A. (2013, July). The effect of therapy dogs on metacognition and prefrontal activity.Poster presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Chicago, IL.
Stendahl, M., Fisk, A., Cogliatore, V., Manning, H., Perez, A., Gee, N. R., & Friedmann, E. (2013, May). Touching a dog reduces heart rate in children during the execution of a working memory task. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Conference, Washington, DC.
Perez, A. A., Wiley, R. M., Zmuda, S. J., Manning, H. S., Gee, N. R., & Couchman, J. J. (2013, May). The effect of therapy dogs on metacognition and prefrontal activity.Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Conference, Washington, DC.
Gee, N. R., Belcher, J., Riley, W., DeJesus, M., & Grabski, J. (2011, August). The presence of a therapy dog improves performance in preschool children. Poster presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology, Indianapolis, IN. Selected for inclusion in a special moderated poster session.
Riley, W., White, B., Tyktor, H., Kerns, L., Greenberg, L., DeJesus, M., & Gee, N. R. (2011, August). Therapy dogs elicit more words in story telling of preschoolers. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C. Poster was also selected for presentation at the Discovery Showcase of Undergraduate Research, Albany, NY.