Charles Locurto

Profile Image Name

Psychology Department

Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., Fordham University

Fields: Animal behavior, comparative intelligence, individual differences in animal problem solving, behavioral genetics


Contact Information



Education and Positions Held:

  • Colgate University, B.A., 1968
  • Fordham University, Ph.D., 1973
  • Columbia University, Research Scientist, 1976
  • Visiting Scientist, New England Regional Primate Research Center, 2005 – 2011.

College of the Holy Cross:

  • Assistant Professor, 1976 -1981
  • Associate Professor, 1981-1994
  • Full Professor, 1994
  • Director, Biological Psychology Concentration, 1990-1997

Recent Grants:

  • National Institute of Mental Health, AREA grant, April 2000, Individual differences and aspatial factor in mice. R15MH59997. (Principal Investigator)
  • National Science Foundation: Major Research Instrumentation, August, 2001, Acquisition of an Integrated Mouse Test System. NSF: 0116089. (Principal Investigator)
  • National Science Foundation:  Research at Undergraduate Institutions, April, 2003, Individual Differences in Mouse Cognition NSF: IBN-0344514 (Principal Investigator)
  • National Institutes of Health:  AREA grant, December, 2011, Implicit learning in Cotton-top tamarins, (Saguinus Oedipus), 1 R15RR031220-01A1, December 2010 - December, 2013, (Principal Investigator)


  • History and Theory of Psychology
  • Learning
  • Evolution of Behavior


Our laboratory has been involved in several types of work. In the first, we studied the nature of individual differences in mice across a number of learning and memory tasks. Our work in this area is represented by these articles:

  • Locurto, C. & Scanlon, C. (1998). Individual differences and a spatial learning factor in two strains of mice. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 112, 344-352. PDF
  • Locurto, C., Fortin, E., & Sullivan, R. (2003).The structure of individual differences in heterogeneous strain mice across problem types and motivational conditions. Genes, Brain, & Behavior, 2, 1-16. PDF
  • Locurto, Charles; Benoit, Andrea; Crowley, Caitlin; Miele, Andrea (2006).The Structure of Individual Differences in Batteries of Rapid Acquisition Tasks in Mice. Journal of Comparative Psychology. 120, 378-388. PDF
  • Locurto, C. (2007).Individual differences and animal personality. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 2, 67-78. PDF
  • Carere, C. & Locurto, C. (2011). Interaction between animal personality and animal cognition. Current Zoology, 57, 491-498.

As an outgrowth of our work with mice, we also came across an interesting phenomenon in which mice shift their preference for where they choose to escape from aversive stimulation on a trial by trial basis. Our work on this topic is given below:

  • Locurto, C. Emidy, C., & Hannan, S. (2002).Mice (Mus musculus) learn a win-shift but not a win-stay contingency underwater escape motivation. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 116, 308-312. PDF
  • Locurto, C. (2005). Further evidence that mice learn a win-shift but not a win-stay contingency underwater escape motivation. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 119, 387-393. PDF

Our current area of interest is implicit learning. In humans, this type of learning refers to learning that occurs in the absence of awareness. In a nonhuman, implicit learning may be defined as learning that occurs in the absence of explicit contingencies of reinforcement to learn. The following articles, using cotton-top tamarins (the monkey on the home page), illustrates this work:

  • Locurto, C., Gagne, M., & Levesque, K. (2009). Implicit chaining in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35, 116-122. PDF
  • Locurto, C., Gagne, M., & Nutile, L. (2010). Characteristics of implicit chaining in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). Animal Cognition, 13, 617-629.


Who am I?
I'm a monkey, but not the Old-World kind. My survival is highly endangered by human encroachments in my native homeland of northern Columbia. I like to play with the computer touchscreens that Pr. Locurto and his students give me every day.


Who am I?
I'm not a chimpanzee, although I may look like one. I haven't been around for nearly 3 million years, but I'm more like you than you might think. I'm a star in Evolution of Behavior.