Dr. Rowan studies comparative cognition. More specifically, he examines the cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms used when organisms (mice, rats, and humans) learn structured lists of information. He is interested in whether animals can learn and use “rules” and if their rules are similar to the ones that humans use to learn long lists of information.
As an undergraduate, Dr. Rowan studied biology and psychology at Malone College in Ohio. His M.A. and Ph.D. were completed at Kent State University in Experimental Psychology. He has taught for more than 15 years at Wesleyan College. In 1995, Dr. Rowan completed the Faculty Research Enhancement Support Program at the National Institutes of Health. In 1997 he co-founded the Wesleyan College Neuroscience Program.
Dr. Rowan has received numerous awards for teaching such as the Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award (Wesleyan College), the 1998 Honors Professor (Wesleyan College), the Certificate of Appreciation of Excellence in Teaching (Chowan College) and the Nonie A. and William F. Quillian Distinguished Teaching Award (Wesleyan College). He has also received awards for his research such as the Graduate Student Senate Thesis Award (Kent State), the David B. Smith Fellowship for Outstanding Scholarship and Research Potential (Kent State), and the American Psychological Association’s Dissertation Research Award.
Dr. Rowan has co-authored numerous articles on animal cognition and toxicology in psychological research journals such as the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavioral Processes, Animal Cognition, Psychobiology, Psychological Record, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, Learning and Motivation, Experimental Brain Research, The International Journal of Comparative Psychology, The International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, and Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. He has co-authored four book chapters in edited volumes, one on brain slice techniques for examining environmental toxins and three on rule learning in animals and humans. Dr. Rowan has given more than 80 presentations on his research at regional, national and international professional conferences. He has also given numerous presentations on the teaching of psychology and the use of research in teaching.
Dr. Rowan is active in a number of honor societies and professional organizations such as Comparative Cognition Society (Founding Member), Faculty for the 21st Century, Project Kaleidoscope, Pi Gamma Mu (Social Science National Honor Society), Psi Chi (Psychology National Honor Society), Psychonomic Society, Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society), Sigma Zeta (The Undergraduate Mathematical and Scientific Honor Society), Society for Neuroscience, and the Southeastern Psychological Association. Dr. Rowan has received grant funding for his research from the Jeffress Memorial Trust, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.