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The Comparative Cognition & Perception Lab (CCP Lab) conducts research in animal cognition and perception. 

We conduct our research in a number of facilities. Our lab at RIT is located in the Eastman building and houses fish tanks (we currently have goldfish). We also work with the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester NY to study a variety of species (e.g., Bornean orangutans, North American river otters, olive baboons, African black-footed penguins). In addition, we collaborate with research partners in Florida, California, and Hawaii to study bottlenose dolphins. We test human subjects in comparative studies designed to gain insight into cues and strategies used by animals in cognitive tasks and to discover similarities in cognitive and perception between humans and non-human animals. We study a variety of topics including visual and auditory object perception, biosonar, tool use, and number perception.

Using behavioral methods, we have observed many parallels in perception and cognition between humans and non-human animals. For example, goldfish in our lab with extensive training compare favorably to other well-trained birds, humans, or non-human primates on a visual numerical judgment task (DeLong et al., 2017). Humans listening to pre-recorded echoes can perform as well or better than echolocating bottlenose dolphin subjects on a test of object discrimination, which reveals echo auditory features and processing mechanisms potentially used by dolphins (e.g., DeLong, 2017). We also found that North American river otters are capable of categorizing 2D visual stimuli like humans (project in progress). In addition, our results show that there are parallels in performance between Bornean orangutans and human children in their success on different problem solving tasks requiring tools (e.g., Keller & DeLong, 2016). 


  • April 30, 2023

    Dr. Caroline Delong presents to school grade kids

    QUEST REACH students program matching games for baboons 

    Intermediate REACH students at Hilton’s QUEST are coding games for baboons at the Seneca Park Zoo. They recently worked with Dr. Caroline DeLong, professor and undergraduate director of psychology at RIT, who is running the study to increase young students’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by engaging them with something that is interesting and familiar – animals at the zoo. She is working with a team of researchers at both RIT and Carnegie Mellon University.

  • January 3, 2023

    A student taking notes with a Baboon in an enclosure

    Human-centered, tech-infused: Liberal Arts for a digital age

    RIT’s College of Liberal Arts brings the humanities, social sciences, and performing arts into the digital age. Innovate, imagine, and grow in our uniquely human-centered, tech-infused environment, supported by a community of creators who are inspired and equipped to turn “What If?” into “I Will."

  • October 1, 2022

    Caroline Delong standing at the zoo smiling

    Teaching STEM by Playing with Primates

    When kids are presented with the choice of learning to code or going to the zoo, most would choose the latter. An RIT professor wonders why they can’t do both.

  • March 31, 2022

    student posing with research poster.

    RIT’s Graduate Showcase celebrates scholarship April 7

    From robot waiters to river otters, RIT’s Graduate Showcase will cover a wide variety of topics representing graduate scholarship from the university’s Henrietta and global campuses. The symposium, held April 7, will feature oral presentations in the morning and poster presentations, demonstrations, and visual exhibitions in the afternoon.