Andrew Gallup Wins Siegfried Faculty Prize


Andrew studying two parakeets

Dr. Andrew Gallup, assistant professor of psychology at SUNY Oneonta, will deliver the annual Richard Siegfried Lecture titled “Towards an Understanding of Why We Yawn” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, in the Craven Lounge of the college’s Morris Conference Center.

Gallup has done extensive research on both why we yawn—his theory is that yawning is a thermoregulatory mechanism that cools the brain when it gets overheated—and how humans and some animal species “catch” yawns. His research on yawning has been published in a variety of scientific journals, and he has been interviewed on the topic in numerous mainstream media outlets, including NBC News, the Huffington Post and U.S. News & World Report. Most recently, his research on contagious yawning in parakeets was published in the May 2015 Animal Cognition journal. Three SUNY Oneonta students assisted with the research, which was the first experimental evidence of contagious yawning in a non-mammalian species.

Gallup earned a B.A. with honors in psychology and a minor in anthropology from the University at Albany and a Ph.D. in biological sciences with a graduate certificate in evolutionary studies from Binghamton University. Following this, he performed postdoctoral research in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, worked as a visiting researcher in the Center for Insect Science at the University of Arizona and was a visiting assistant professor of psychology at Bard College. Gallup joined the SUNY Oneonta faculty in fall 2013.

As a biopsychologist, Gallup applies the principles of evolutionary theory to understand and predict various aspects of behavior. In addition to the yawning studies, recent research projects include naturalistic observations of gaze-following and information transfer in crowds; experiments identifying the correlates of stone-throwing accuracy; and surveys exploring geographic variation in preferences for wood smoke. At SUNY Oneonta, Gallup teaches a variety of psychology courses and works on research projects with small groups of students.

Gallup is the 21st recipient of the Richard Siegfried Junior Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence. Created to recognize a non-tenured faculty member for outstanding academic achievement outside the classroom, the award is made possible by gifts from alumni to the College at Oneonta Foundation in memory of theater Professor Richard K. Siegfried, who taught at the college from 1958 to 1995. 

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