Jan Tornick

Jan Tornick

Phone: (603) 862-1619
Office: Psychology, McConnell Hall Rm 450, Durham, NH 03824

Jan Tornick is a senior lecturer in the department of psychology. She is interested in the functions and mechanisms of cognition and behavior in animals. Working within an evolutionary and comparative framework, her research examines animals from varied taxonomic groups to understand how factors such as social structure, ecological niche, and neurobiology affect cognition and behavior. Jan earned a B.S. in biology from Ramapo College, and an M.S. in zoology, an M.S.T. in college teaching, and a Ph.D. in psychology (brain, behavior, and cognition) from UNH. In her master's work, she studied nest-guarding behavior in salamanders, and examined how hormones (specifically testosterone) affect maternal aggression. In her dissertation, she examined cognitive abilities like number cognition and inferential reasoning in the Clark's nutcracker, a corvid bird related to crows and jays. Jan also has expertise in in radioimmunoassay, endocrinology, behavioral and developmental studies, animal husbandry, operant conditioning, pitfall trap deployment, animal identification, animal tracking and collection, wildlife rehabilitation, animal rescue and museum specimen preparation. In addition to her current courses, Jan has also taught a wide variety of lab and lecture courses such as human biology, mammalogy, animal behavior, anatomy & physiology, behavioral ecology, and lifespan development. Jan received the COLSA's Excellence in Teaching Award, a Dissertation Year Fellowship, several Summer Teaching Assistantship Fellowships, an Agriculture Experiment Station-Hatch Research Assistantship, a Scholarship for Part-time Students, a COLSA Agriculture Graduate Fellowship and a Frizzell Fund Fellowship.

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 512: Psychology of Primates
  • PSYC 521: Behavior Analysis
  • PSYC 531: Psychobiology
  • PSYC 720: Animal Cognition


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of New Hampshire
  • M.A., Psychology, University of New Hampshire
  • M.S., Zoology/Animal Biology, University of New Hampshire
  • B.S., Biology, Ramapo College Nj
  • Certificate, College Teaching, University of New Hampshire

Research Interests

  • Animal Behavior/Ethology
  • Animal Communication
  • Animal Ecology
  • Animal Model
  • Animal Welfare
  • Behavioral Biology
  • Behavioral/Experimental Psychology
  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Biology
  • Comparative/Animal Psychology
  • Evolution
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Psychobiology
  • Psychology

Selected Publications

  • Tornick, J. K., Rushia, S. N., & Gibson, B. M. (2016). Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) are sensitive to distance, but not lighting when caching in the presence of a conspecific. BEHAVIOURAL PROCESSES, 123, 125-133. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2015.10.023

  • Tornick, J. K., Callahan, E. S., & Gibson, B. M. (2015). An Investigation of Quantity Discrimination in Clark's Nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana). JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY, 129(1), 17-25. doi:10.1037/a0037863

  • Tornick, J. K., & Berlinsky, D. L. (2014). Development and validation of a non-lethal method for monitoring steroid hormones in plethodontid salamanders. Herpetological Review, 45(2), 220-222.

  • Tornick, J. K., & Gibson, B. M. (2013). Tests of inferential reasoning by exclusion in Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana). ANIMAL COGNITION, 16(4), 583-597. doi:10.1007/s10071-013-0595-1

  • Tornick, J. K., Gibson, B. M., Kispert, D., & Wilkinson, M. (2011). Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) use gestures to identify the location of hidden food. ANIMAL COGNITION, 14(1), 117-125. doi:10.1007/s10071-010-0349-2


  • Tornick, J. K. (n.d.). Cache protection in the Clark's nutcracker.

  • Most Cited Publications