Psychology


Shannon Digweed

Assistant Professor, Psychology and Biological Sciences

PhD (Lethbridge), Evolution and Behaviour; MA (Calgary) Anthropology/Primatology; B.Sc. (Alberta), Biological Science

6-329E, City Centre Campus
10700 - 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
780-633-3301

Biography

Dr. Digweed is a joint faculty member in the departments of Psychology and Biological Sciences. She received her PhD in Evolution and Behaviour from the University of Lethbridge, her Master of Arts from the University of Calgary and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta. She teaches a variety of courses including, Animal Behaviour, Principles of Behaviour and Comparative Cognition. She has supervised a number of both honours and independent study students on projects related to acoustics and behaviour in red squirrels, wood frogs and domestic cattle.

In addition to teaching, she is also actively involved in research, specifically in the areas of animal communication and behaviour. Dr. Digweed’s research explores how the acoustic or physical structure of animal sounds are shaped in important ways by their function. Early research focused on the production of predator specific vocalizations calls in white-faced capuchin and current research explores vocalizations in the North American red squirrel as well as mating calls of the common wood frog. A new field location is being established to explore vocalizations in American pika, a small member of the rabbit family that lives in high altitude habitat. Future research will continue to explore how the acoustic structure is shaped by function because currently there is only a rudimentary understanding of these structure-function relationships that are central to the organization of animal vocal signaling systems.

Available to supervise honours or individual study students.

Expertise
Animal behaviour, animal cognition, animal communication, learning and behaviour

Teaching and Research Interests

Teaching:

  • PSYC 104 Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYC 281 Principles of Behaviour
  • PSYC 358 Comparative Cognition
  • PSYC 406 Evolution of Language
  • BIOL 371 Animal Behaviour

Research focus:

  • animal behaviour in red squirrels, corvids/songbirds, pika and wood frogs
  • animal communication in red squirrels, pika and wood frogs
  • animal cognition in red squirrels and corvids

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

  • Digweed, S.M., Rendall, D., & Imbeau, T. (2012) Who’s your neighbour? Acoustic cues to individual identity in red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) ‘rattle’ calls. Current Zoology, 58(5), 744-750. 
  • Digweed, S.M., & Rendall, D. (2010). Predator-associated vocalizations in North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus husdsonicus): To whom are calls addressed and how do they function? Ethology, 115(12), 1190-1199.
  • Digweed, S.M., & Rendall, D. (2009). Predator-associated vocalizations in North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus husdsonicus): Are alarm calls predator-specific? Animal Behaviour, 78, 1135-1144.
  • Rehberg-Besler, N., & Digweed, S.M. (2012). Does size matter? Acoustic correlates to body size and female choice in the wood frog (Rana sylvatica). BASICS (Banff Annual Seminar in Cognitive Science), May 4-5, 2012, Banff, AB. Poster.
  • Digweed, S.M. (2011). Predator-associated vocalizations in red squirrels: To whom are calls addressed and how do they function? Behaviour 2011 – Joint Meeting of the Animal Behaviour Society and International Ethological Conference, July 25-30, 2011, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Oral.

Awards / Grants / Fellowships

  • MacEwan University, Faculty Research, Scholarly Activity and Creative Achievements Fund, Research Based (2012).
  • MacEwan University, Faculty Research, Scholarly Activity and Creative Achievements Fund, Dissemination Based (2011).
  • MacEwan University, Faculty Research, Scholarly Activity and Creative Achievements Fund, Research Based (2010).
  • NSERC Alexander Graham Bell, Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (CGS-D), Held at University of Lethbridge (2007).
  • University of Lethbridge, Doctoral Program Scholarship (2006).

Professional Associations / Memberships

  • Society of Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Cognition
  • Acoustical Society of America

Boards / Committees

  • MacEwan University Board of Governors - faculty member
  • Department of Psychology Science Advisor
  • Animal Research and Ethics Board - faculty member
  • Department of Biological Science Speaker Series - joint coordinator