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Darlene Skinner

B.Sc.(Hons.) Memorial, Ph.D. Toronto


Office: SN1053
Phone: (709) 864-2027
Affiliations: Behavioural Neuroscience

Research Interests

Darlene Skinner

The main goal of my research is to relate brain function to behavior. One major focus of my research is spatial learning. Current studies in spatial learning are addressing the issue of what animals really learn about their spatial environment. Do they use proximal cues, distal cues, geometry, or path integration (or some combination) to locate a hidden goal. Another area of interest is conditional discrimination learning. The same stimulus can have a very different meaning depending on the context in which it is presented. I am interested in identifying the neuroanatomical substrates that might be important in these types of learning. Current studies are examining the role of the hippocampus and related cortical structures in both spatial and conditional learning.


Whyte, J.T., Martin, G.M., & Skinner, D.M. (in press). An assessment of response, direction and place learning by rats in a water T-maze. Learning and Motivation.

Skinner, D.M., Horne, M.R., Murphy, K.E.A., & Martin, G.M. (in press). Rats’ orientation is more important than start point location for successful place learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes.

Wright, S.L., Williams, D., Evans, J.H., Skinner, D.M., & Martin, G.M. (2009). The contribution of spatial cues to memory: Direction, but not cue, changes support response reversal learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35, 177-185.

Walsh, S.J., Harley, C.W., Corbett, D., Skinner, D.M., & Martin, G.M. (2008). CA1 ischemic injury does not affect the ability of Mongolian gerbils to solve response, direction, or place problems. Brain Research, 1187, 194-200.

Horne, M.R., Martin, G.M., Harley, C.W., & Skinner, D.M. (2007). Where am I? Distal cue use requires sensitivity to start location change in the rat. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 33, 92-99.

Walsh, S.J., Skinner, D.M., & Martin, G.M. (2007). Location serves as a conditional cue when harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) solve object discrimination reversal problems. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 44-53.

Stringer, K.G., Martin, G.M., & Skinner, D.M. (2005). The effects of hippocampal lesions on response, direction and place learning in rats. Behavioral Neuroscience.

Martin, G.M., Evans, J.H., Harley, C.W., & Skinner, D.M. (2005). Lost in time: Rats are unable to return to a start location that varies. Connection Science.

Murphy, M. & Skinner, D.M. (2005). Contextual control of fluid consumption: The effects of context extinction. Learning and Motivation.

Skinner, D.M., Thornton, J.A., & Holland, P.C. (2003). The effects of feature type in operant serial feature-positive discriminations. Learning and Motivation, 34, 389-409.

Howse, D.J., Squires, A.S., Martin, G.M., & Skinner, D.M. (2003). Perirhinal cortex lesions impair context aversion learning. Learning & Memory, 10, 161-167.

Skinner, D.M., Etchegary, C.M., Ekert-Maret, E.C., Baker, C.J., Harley, C.W., Evans, J.H., & Martin, G.M. (2003). An analysis of response, direction, and place learning in an open field and T maze. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 29(1), 3-13.

Martin, G.M., Walker, K.M., & Skinner, D.M. (2003). A single unstable visual cue impairs learning in the water maze. Learning and Motivation, 34(1), 87-103.

Clarke, H.A., Skinner, D.M., & van der Kooy, D. (2001). Combined hippocampal and amygdala lesions block learning of a response independent form of occasion setting. Behavioral Neuroscience, 115, 341 357.

Harley, C.W., Martin, G.M., Skinner, D.M., & Squires, A. (2001). The moving fire hydrant experiment: Movement of objects to a new location reelicits marking in rats. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 75, 303 309.

Skinner, D.M., Martin, G.M., Scanlon, C.J., Thorpe, C.M., Barry, J., Evans, J.H., & Harley, C.W. (2001). A two platform task reveals a deficit in the ability of rats to return to the start location in the water maze. Behavioral Neuroscience, 115, 220 228.

Skinner, D.M. (2000). Modulation of taste aversions by a pentobarbital drug state: An assessment of its transfer properties. Learning & Motivation, 31, 381 401.

Skinner, D.M., Clarke, H.A., & van der Kooy, D. (2000). Amygdala lesions impair context aversions but not the ability of contexts to serve as occasion setters. Psychobiology, 28, 67 80.

Skinner, D.M. & van der Kooy, D. (1997). Acquisition and retention of negative patterning in hippocampal lesioned rats. Psychobiology, 25, 10-17.