Peter Cook

Associate Professor of Psychology


Phone Number

Email Address



Bon Seigneur Residence 012


Social Science 102


Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Emory University
Ph.D., University of California Santa Cruz
B.A. Pomona College

Professor Cook studies animal cognition and comparative neuroscience in a wide range of species. He’s particularly interested in finding novel, ecologically valid approaches to studying brain and behavior outside of the traditional laboratory setting. He’s done work examining the effects of toxic algae on memory and brain networks in wild sea lions; trained dogs to voluntarily participate in fMRI studies in order to probe canine preference and individual differences; and uses high-resolution imaging of opportunistically obtained dead brains to examine neural connections in animals ranging from dolphins to manatees and extinct marsupials. He’s also interested in functional connectivity (brain rhythms and neural oscillations), and toward that end, has trained the only non-human mammal capable of keeping a beat ( His interests include Animal Cognition, Comparative Neuroscience, Ecologically Valid Experimental Design, Memory, and Structural and Functional Brain Connectivity.

Recent/Upcoming Courses

Perception and Action
Cognitive Neuroscience

Selected Publications

Ecotoxicology and Behavioral Neuroscience

Cook, P. F., Reichmuth, C., Rouse, A. A., Libby, L. A., Dennison, S. E., Carmichael, O. T., … & Ranganath, C. (2015). Algal toxin impairs sea lion memory and hippocampal connectivity, with implications for strandings. Science, 350(6267), 1545-1547.

Cook, P. F., Reichmuth, C., Rouse, A., Dennison, S., Van Bonn, B., & Gulland, F. (2016). Natural exposure to domoic acid causes behavioral perseveration in Wild Sea lions: Neural underpinnings and diagnostic application. Neurotoxicology and Teratology.

Dog fMRI

Cook, P. F., Prichard, A., Spivak, M., & Berns, G. S. (2016). Awake Canine fMRI Predicts Dogs’ Preference for Praise Versus Food. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, nsw102.

Cook, P. F., Spivak, M., & Berns, G. (2016). Neurobehavioral evidence for individual differences in canine cognitive control: an awake fMRI study. Animal cognition, 1-12.

Post-Mortem DTI

Berns, G. S., Cook, P. F., Foxley, S., Jbabdi, S., Miller, K. L., & Marino, L. (2015, July). Diffusion tensor imaging of dolphin brains reveals direct auditory pathway to temporal lobe. In Proc. R. Soc. B (Vol. 282, No. 1811, p. 20151203). The Royal Society.

Comparative Beat keeping

Ravignani, A. & Cook, P.F. The evolutionary biology of dance, without frills. In Press, Current Biology.

Wilson, M., & Cook, P. F. (2016). Rhythmic entrainment: Why humans want to, fireflies can’t help it, pet birds try, and sea lions have to be bribed. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1-13.

Cook, P.F., Rouse, A., Wilson, M., & Reichmuth, C. (2013). A California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) can keep the beat: motor entrainment to rhythmic auditory stimuli in a non vocal mimic. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 127(4), 412.