Psychonomic Society Awards Grant to Kuczaj

Psychonomic Society Awards Grant to Kuczaj

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Stan Kuczaj, professor of psychology and director of the Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory at The University of Southern Mississippi, has received a $50,000 grant from the Psychonomic Society to fund a Leading Edge Workshop on "The Evolutionary and Psychological Significance of Play."

The workshop, developed by Dr. Kuczaj in collaboration with Lance Miller of the Chicago Zoological Society and Alex de Voogt of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, will be held in Chicago in June and bring together 16 international experts on play in order to discuss what is known about play, questions remaining to be answered, and future research directions. Kuczaj's proposal was selected from approximately 30 proposals received for the 2016 Leading Edge Workshop.

"Workshop participants will come from a variety of disciplines as well as a variety of countries," Kuczaj said. "It's my hope that the diversity represented in the workshop will result in a coherent framework to study play that integrates research on individual differences with that on species differences, the goal of the workshop being to determine the general evolutionary significance of play as well as its unique benefits for individual species."

Kuczaj and his graduate students have conducted international research concerning comparative cognition, marine mammal behavior, communication and play for more than 20 years on marine mammals and other animals both in the field and in captive facilities His work has been featured on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and Japanese Public Television. USM Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory projects have received grant support from the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Department of Commerce, among others.

Founded in 1959, the Psychonomic Society's mission is the promotion of communication of scientific research in psychology and allied sciences. Included among the strategic goals of the Society's Leading Edge Workshop initiative is advancement of scientific knowledge and understanding of major, broad and contemporary topics within the remit of the Psychonomic Society (PS) and its journals.

The Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory is housed in the USM College of Education and Psychology's Department of Psychology. For more information on Kuczaj's research, visit or for the laboratory, visit