- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager
Lancaster – Can you imagine seeing chickens walking tightropes, dispensing souvenirs to customers, dancing to music, and playing baseball? Believe it or not, you could find that at the IQ Zoo in Hot Springs, Arkansas
. Rabbits kissed their girlfriends, rode fire trucks, and sounded sirens. Raccoons played basketball, while ducks played drums and pianos.
Ohio University Lancaster Associate Professor of Psychology Patrick Drumm will present his research into the phenomenon of the IQ Zoo on Wednesday, April 16 at 7 p.m. in Brasee Hall Room 211. The presentation is called “Applying Psychology in the Roadside Attraction Business: The IQ Zoo of Hot Springs, Arkansas.
“During World War II, Keller and Marian Breland worked with eminent psychologist B.F. Skinner on technology that included training animals,” said Drumm. “The Brelands later applied what they learned to business ventures including a roadside attraction called the IQ Zoo.”
The Brelands started Animal Behavior Enterprises in the 1940s. ABE was based on the conditioning of animal behavior through positive reinforcement. In 1955, they opened the IQ Zoo. It attracted motorists from across the United States. While conducting research associated with the business, the Brelands discovered the phenomenon of instinctive drift, which significantly advanced subsequent theoretical accounts of the biological factors that influence learning. Instinctive drift is the tendency of an organism to revert to instinctive behaviors that can interfere with the conditioned response.
Dr. Drumm’s research has focused on the gestural communication of chimpanzees. Recently his interests have centered on the history of psychological research involving non-humans.