Eric Legge

Assistant Professor, Psychology

PhD (Alberta)

6-323E, City Centre Campus
10700 – 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB


Dr. Legge joined the Department of Psychology at MacEwan University in 2016, having completed his PhD and MSc at the University of Alberta, and BA (Honours) at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Dr. Legge’s main area of research can be broadly defined as the comparative study of learning, behaviour and memory. Specifically, Dr. Legge’s research focuses on the study of spatial cognition, navigation and goal localization. To this end, Dr. Legge has investigated a wide range of topics such as: how adult humans hide and search for objects in real and virtual environments, the methods by which desert ants locate their nest after travelling thousands of times their own body length in search of food, how imagined navigation facilitates enhanced memory in the Method of Loci mnemonic strategy and how both human and non-human animals cope with situations where spatial cues like landmarks indicate contradictory locations for a goal.

A secondary research interest is the study of companion animal behaviour, training, therapy and welfare. More specifically, Dr. Legge is interested in studying topics such as: the development and treatment of learned abnormal or problem behaviour in companion animals, investigating and improving the techniques commonly used to train companion animals, the ethical use of companion animals for service and therapeutic use, as well as how our bond with animals may improve both animal and human well being.

Available to supervise senior students' independent study.

Spatial memory, spatial cognition, animal behaviour, animal cognition, comparative cognition, mnemonics, learning and behaviour

Teaching and Research Interests


  • PSYC 104 Introductory Psychology I

  • PSYC 258 Cognitive Psychology

  • PSYC 281 Principles of Behaviour

  • PSYC 358 Comparative Cognition

  • PSYC 405 Special Topics: Companion Animal Behaviour and Therapy

Research Focus

  • Animal behaviour and cognition

  • Spatial cognition, including navigation, orientation, and goal localization

  • Mnemonics

  • Companion animal behaviour, training, and welfare

  • The human-animal bond

  • Animal-assisted interventions and well-being

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

Legge, E. L., Madan, C. R., Spetch, M. L., & Ludvig, E. A. (2016). Multiple cue use and integration in pigeons (columba livia). Animal Cognition, 19(3), 581-591. doi: 10.1007/s10071-016-0963-8

Legge, E. L., Wystrach, A., Spetch, M. L., & Cheng, K. (2014). Combining sky and earth: Desert ants (melophorus bagoti) show weighted integration of celestial and terrestrial cues. Journal of Experimental Biology, 217(23), 4159-4166. doi: 10.1242/​jeb.107862

Legge, E. L., Madan, C. R., Ng, E. T., & Caplan, J. B. (2012). Building a memory palace in minutes: Equivalent memory performance using virtual versus conventional environments with the Method of Loci. Acta Psychologica, 141(3), 380-390. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2012.09.002

Legge, E. L., Spetch, M. L., Cenkner, A., Bulitko, V., Anderson, C., Brown, M., & Heth, D. (2012). Not all locations are created equal: Exploring how adults hide and search for objects. PloS One, 7(5), e36993. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036993

Legge, E. L., & Spetch, M. L. (2009). The differential outcomes effect (DOE) in spatial localization: An investigation with adults. Learning and Motivation, 40(3), 313-328. doi: 10.1016/j.lmot.2009.03.002