Songbird Neuroethology Laboratory

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, University of Alberta


Christopher B. Sturdy Research & Facilities Research Opportunities Publications
Lab Members & Collaborators Lab News Funding Sturdy Bio

Christopher B. Sturdy, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair

Department of Psychology


Chris Sturdy completed a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Windsor (Windsor, ON, Canada) in 1994 where he studied spatial memory in rats with Jerry Cohen. He then completed an M.A. in 1997 and a Ph.D. in 2000 in Psychology at Queen's University (Kingston, Black-capped chickadee - Mackenzie Sturdy, circa age 4ON, Canada) where he examined songbird bioacoustics, cognition and neuroscience with Ron Weisman. From 2000 to 2001, Sturdy worked at the Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC, USA) with Rich Mooney (Department of Neurobiology) and Duke University with Steve Nowicki (Department of Biology) where he examined the cellular basis of song production. In 2002 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB, Canada), promoted to Associate Professor of Psychology in 2008, and promoted to Professor in 2013. Sturdy studies songbird communication and cognition in an integrative fashion, combining several approaches to understand the biological and cognitive bases of underlying songbird acoustic communication.


Sturdy is a member of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute and studies  the neuroethology of songbird acoustic communication. Sturdy uses several empirical approaches, from bioacoustic analyses of vocalizations, operant discrimination paradigms and field playback experiments to electrophysiological and neuroanatomical techniques as well as artificial neural network approaches, with the long-term goal of understanding the behavioural, cognitive and neural substrates underlying songbird vocal production and perception, auditory perception and cognition.


Sturdy, along with Thomas Zentall, then Marcia Spetch, was co-editor of Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, for 6 years. CCBR is published by the Comparative Cognition Society and is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal that publishes reviews and critiques in the area of animal cognition spanning all aspects of research on cognition, perception, learning, memory, and behavior in animals.


Current Courses

PSYCO 299: Research Opportunity Program

PSYCO 496/498 (SCIENCE / ARTS): Individual Studies

Honours Thesis Research (2 year program)

Past Courses

PSYCO 381: Principles of Learning (Fall 2014)

PSYCO 403: Ancestral Health

PSYCO 403/505: Animal Communication

PSYCO 502: Professional and Ethical Issues (Fall 2014, 2015)

Contact Information

Christopher B. Sturdy
Department of Psychology
P-217 Biological Sciences Building
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2E9

office phone: (780) 492-7843
lab phone: (780) 492-0323
fax: (780) 492-1768

Google Scholar Page 
Departmental webpage

© Christopher B. Sturdy, 2002-2016, all rights reserved
Last updated - 10-07-2016