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Lindsay R. Mehrkam, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Assistant Professor

Principal Investigator of the Human-Animal Wellness Collaboratory (HAWC) and Aquatic Animal Learning Lab

Program Coordinator for the MU-Six Flags Affiliation

Vice-Chair of Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC)

Scholarship Week Committee Member


Department
Psychology
Office
Howard Hall 142
Phone
732-263-5144
Email
lmehrkam@monmouth.edu
View Lab Site

Lindsay R. Mehrkam, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Lindsay R. Mehrkam, Ph.D., is an applied animal behaviorist, animal welfare scientist, and doctoral-level board-certified behavior analyst (certificate number: 1-15-17919, certified February 2015). Her primary research interests focus on the benefits of human-animal interaction, enrichment, and training for improving the welfare of both animals and people in society. As the director of the Human & Animal Welfare Collaboratory (HAWC) and the faculty representative for the Six Flags Field Experience Program, her teaching and research programs in applied animal behavior, learning, and well-being have led to grants, publications, workshops, internships, and service learning opportunities in animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries, among others.

Mehrkam’s research has published widely in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at national and international conferences. She has been recognized through popular media outlets, grants, and scholarly and industry awards, including the Association for Professional Dog Trainers, Maddie’s Fund, and the Animal Behavior Management Alliance. In addition to teaching and research, Mehrkam serves as the vice president for the Applied Animal Behavior Special Interest Group for the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and as an advisory board member for Big Oak Wolf Sanctuary.

Education

Ph.D., University of Florida

M.S., University of Florida

B.A., Franklin & Marshall College

Research Interests

Primary areas of interest include animal behavior, applied behavior analysis, and human-animal interactions with an emphasis on how the environment influences play, aggression, and stereotypic behavior in companion and exotic animals, how to promote behavioral choices and welfare of captive animals, and how to best conduct formal evaluations of training and enrichment practices in a variety of animal settings, as well as the assessment of human-animal interactions in therapeutic applications and in broader society.

Publications

Scholarly Articles

Mehrkam, L.R., *Perez, B., *Self, T.N., Dorey N.R., & Vollmer, T.R (2020). Functional analysis and operant treatment of multiply controlled resource guarding in a domestic dog. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Advance online publication. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/jaba.720

Wunderlich, K.L., Vollmer, T.R., Mehrkam, L.R., Feuerbacher, E.N., Slocum, S.K., Kronfli, F.R., & Pizarro, E. (2020).The stability of function of automatically reinforced vocal stereotypy over time. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 53, 678-689. doi:10.1002/jaba.620

Mehrkam, L.R. & Fad, O. (2020). Animal welfare science and “a life worth living” for wild and captive elephantsAnimal Sentience, 28(10).

Mehrkam, L.R. (2020).  “An overview of the learning abilities of exotic animals: What can they learn in the wild, and what have we been able to demonstrate experimentally?”Zoo Animal Learning by Wiley Publishers.

Mehrkam, L.R. (2019). A behavior analytic approach to understanding the octopus “mind”.  [Peer commentary on “What is in an octopus’s mind?” by J. Mather]. Animal Sentience, 26, 258.

Mehrkam, L.R. (2019). A behaviorist approach to sheep cognition, intelligence, and welfare.  [Peer commentary on “Intelligence, complexity, and individuality in sheep.” by L. Marino and D. Merskin]. Animal Sentience, 25, 260.

*Perez, B., Mehrkam, L.R., Foltz, A., & Dorey, N.R. (2018). Assessment of environmental enrichment on the behavioral welfare of a Pantropical spotted dolphin. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 21(2), 130-140. http://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2017.1383161

Mehrkam, L.R., *Haitz, C., Hall, N.J., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2017). The influences of environmental and genetic factors on motivation to engage in play in domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris). Learning & Behavior, 45(4), 367-377. http://doi.org/10.3758/s13420-017-0283-0

Slocum, S.K., Mehrkam, L.R., Peters, K., & Vollmer, T.R. (2017). Differential reinforcement of a discard response to treat pica. Behavioral Interventions , 32 (3), 234-241. doi: http://doi.org/10.1002/bin.1483

Alligood, C., Dorey, N.R., Mehrkam, L.R., & Leighty, K. (2017). Applying behavior-analytic methodology to the science and practice of environmental enrichment in zoos and aquariums. Zoo Biology, 36 (3), 175-185. doi: http://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21368

Vitale-Shreve, K., Mehrkam, L.R., & Udell, M.A.R. (2017). Social interaction, food, scent or toys? (2017). A formal assessment of domestic pet and shelter cat ( Felis silvestris catus )

Cooke, R.F., Mehrkam, L.R., Marques, R.S., Lippolis, K.D., & Bohnert, D.W. (2017). Effects of a simulated wolf encounter on brain and blood biomarkers of stress-related psychological disorders in beef cows with or without previous exposure to wolves. Journal of Animal Science95 (3), 1154-1163.

Mehrkam, L.R., & Dorey, N. R. (2015). Preference assessments in the zoo: Keeper and staff predictions of enrichment preferences across species. Zoo Biology , 34 (5), 418-430. doi: http://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21227

Dorey, N. R., Mehrkam, L. R., & Tacey, J. (2015). A method to assess relative preference for training and environmental enrichment in captive wolves ( Canis lupus  and Canis lupus arctos ). Zoo Biology , 34 (6), 513-517. doi: http://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21239

Protopopova A., Mehrkam L.R., Boggess M.M., & Wynne C.D.L. (2014). In-kennel behavior predicts length of stay in shelter dogs. PLoS ONE,   9 (12): e114319. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114319

Mehrkam, L.R., Dorey, N.R. (2014). Is preference a predictor of enrichment efficacy in Galapagos tortoises ( Chelonoidis nigra )? Zoo Biology , 33 : 275-284. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21151

Mehrkam, L.R., & Thompson K.R. (2014). Seasonal trends in intrapack aggression of captive wolves ( Canis lupus ) and wolf-dog crosses: Implications for management in mixed-subspecies exhibits. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science , 18 :1-16. doi: 10.1080/10888705.2014.923773

Mehrkam L.R., & Wynne C.D.L. (2014). Behavioral differences among breeds of domestic dog: Current status of the science. Applied Animal Behaviour Science155 : 12-27. doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.03.005

Popular Articles

Presentations/Invited Talks

2020 “Using Applied Behavior Analysis in Dog Behavior Modification”. Two-day seminar for the Swiss Veterinary Behavioral Medicine Group (STVV) (Zurich, Switzerland, but virtual presentation due to COVID-19).

2020 “Animal Emergency Preparedness.” Invited Webinar for FEMA. 

2019 “A Multidimensional Analysis of Dog-Dog Playgroups: Implications for Canine and Human Welfare” National Council on Pet Population Research Symposium, Fall Conference of the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (Houston, TX).

2019 “Dog Play Groups”, Invited panelist and paper presentation at the California Animal Welfare Association Animal Care Conference (Silicon Valley, CA).

2019 “What is a Marginal Dog?” Invited panelist at the California Animal Welfare Association Animal Care Conference (Silicon Valley, CA).

2019 “Functional Analysis of Canine Problem Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement”. Invited paper presentation at the Swiss Veterinary Days Conference of the Swiss Veterinary Congress (Fribourg, Switzerland)

2019 “Functional Analysis of Canine Problem Behavior Maintained by Negative Reinforcement”. Invited paper presentation at the Swiss Veterinary Days Conference of the Swiss Veterinary Congress (Fribourg, Switzerland)

2019 “Functional Analysis of Canine Problem Behavior Maintained by Positive Reinforcement”. Invited paper presentation at the Swiss Veterinary Days Conference of the Swiss Veterinary Congress (Fribourg, Switzerland)

2019 “To Play or Not to Play: Toward an Evidence-Based Analysis of Dog-Dog Play in Shelters and Dog Parks.” Invited paper presentation at the first annual meeting of the Shelter Playgroup Alliance (Sacramento, CA)

2019 “Enrichment in Zoos and Animal Shelters.” Invited paper presentation at the first annual meeting of the Shelter Playgroup Alliance (Sacramento, CA)

2019 “Component analysis of dog-dog playgroups in shelters: Impacts on human and canine welfare.” Invited paper presentation at the 6th Annual Canine Science Symposium. (San Francisco, CA)

2019 “The science of dog-dog play: Why understanding play matters for improving human-canine interactions.” Invited paper presentation at the 6th Annual Canine Science Symposium. (San Francisco, CA)

2018 “Applied Behaviour Analysis in Dog Behaviour Modification.” Invited half-day workshop presentation at the Interdisciplinary Companion Animal Behaviour Workshop at the University of Bern (Bern, Switzerland).

2018 “Extending Applied Behaviour Analysis to Canine Problem Behaviors.” Invited full-day public seminar at the University of Bern (Bern, Switzerland).

Mehrkam, L.R. & Miller, L.J. (2016) Extending Behavior Analysis in Zoos and Aquariums. 42nd  Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (Chicago, IL).

Mehrkam, L.R., Dorey, N.R., & Tacey, J. (2016). Translational Approaches to the Analysis of Animal Behavior in Zoological Settings (with C.A. Alligood). 42nd  Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (Chicago, IL).

Mehrkam, L.R., Vazquez, C., Whitley, T., Caragan, C., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2015).  Identifying behavioral precursors to play-induced aggression in domestic dogs. 41st Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (San Antonio, TX).

Mehrkam, L.R. & Dorey, N.R. (2015) Preference assessments in the zoo: enrichment efficacy, keeper validity, and species generality. 41st Annual Convention of the Association for   Behavior Analysis International (San Antonio, TX).

Traub, M., Mehrkam, L.R., & Vollmer, T.R. (2015) The effects of stimulus control transfer, prompting on the emergence of pure mands. 41st  Annual Convention of the Association  for Behavior Analysis International (San Antonio, TX).*

Perez, B.C., Mehrkam, L.R., Vollmer, T.R., & Dorey, N.R. (2015). Functional analysis and treatment of resource guarding in pet dogs. 41st  Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (San Antonio, TX).

Klinepeter, E., Mehrkam, L.R., Slocum, S.K., Peters, K.P., Vollmer, T.R. (2015). Using a differential reinforcement procedure to treat pica. 41st Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (San Antonio, TX).

Wunderlich, K.L., Vollmer, T.R., Mehrkam, L.R., Feuerbacher, E.N., Simms, C.B. (2015). Stability of function of automatically reinforced behavior over time. Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (San Antonio, TX).*

Self, T.N., Mehrkam, L.R., & Dorey, N.R. (2015). Functional analysis and treatment of visual fixation in border collies. Poster presentation. International Conference on Comparative Cognition (Melbourne, FL).*

McDougall, M., Mehrkam, L.R., & Dorey, N.R. (2015) Contrafreeloading in the domestic dog. Poster presentation. International Conference on Comparative Cognition (Melbourne, FL).

Professional Associations

  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
  • Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)
  • Animal Behavior Society (ABS)
  • Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies
  • Comparative Cognition Society (CCS)
  • Eastern Psychological Association (EPA)

Awards

  • 2020 Creativity Grant
  • 2017  Project Title: “Do Playgroups Increase Behavioral and Physiological Welfare in Shelter Dogs?” Sponsor: Maddie’s Fund/Duffield Family Foundation. Amount: $131,395 Role: PI

Additional Information

  • Doctoral-Level Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D)
  • The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®)
  • Certificate Number: 1-15-17919, Certified February 2015

Courses

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