Alison Fleming, Ph.D.
Professor Alison Fleming, Ph.D.
I was born in Great Britain, grew up in New York City, got educated in New Jersey (Ph.D., Institute of Animal Behavior) and Berkeley, California (post-doc at UC, Psychology), reached maturity (?) in Toronto, Canada and will retire in Mexico.
I have 3 glorious children, all girls, born in 1989, 1985 and 1975. I spend most of my time outside of work negotiating how to be an adequate mother and friend. When not at work I like to go to movies and plays, eat out, schmooze, read novels, argue politics, and walk and talk. SPSS and I also spend a lot of time coming to terms with one another. When at work I teach 3 undergraduate courses and a graduate course (in alternate years) and love to go down to the lab, talk science, design studies, and kibbitz with my students
My research interests are numerous and varied and are described on our introductory ‘statement’ page. I am primarily interested in understanding why mothers want to mother. For 30 years I have studied this question in rats, in humans, and now in monkeys. We are interested in the factors that induce the ‘motivation’ to mother in terms of hormonal factors, sensory factors, the role of different brain mechanisms, the influences of early experiences, etc. And today, 30 years later, we have many more answers to this question but also many more questions.
Our recent work on the development of maternal behavior and the role of experiences being mothered in the development of mothering is inevitably leading us to ask questions about individual differences in mothering motivation and style and the contribution of genetic and early experience differences.
In keeping with these interests, my ‘administrative’ political energies at present are to help in the formation of a new research cluster in Behavioral Genetics and Developmental Neurobiology which is a combined initiative by the Departments of Biology and Psychology; this is occurring as part of a general expansion at UTM and involves adding some 3 to 4 new faculty to an already strong group of scientists working on the genetic, molecular, and environmental regulation of species-characteristic behaviors.
And so I have come full circle from my days in graduate school and the inevitable influences of Jay S. Rosenblatt, Daniel Lehrman, and T.C. Schneirla (not to mention Zing Yang Kuo)!