2015: Benjamin Libman

University of North Texas

Benjamin Libman earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Florida, where he was first introduced to behavior analysis by Dr. Marc Branch. Inspired by the pragmatic approach and parsimonious explanations, Benjamin sought out hands-on experience applying behavior analysis to socially important issues, which ultimately led to work with Dr. Tim Vollmer addressing problems of special needs children. This was an invaluable experience for Benjamin because it provided him with experiences that would lead him to consider graduate work. 


Benjamin is currently pursuing his master’s degree at the University of North Texas (UNT). To date, he has participated in five research projects across three laboratories. Benjamin continues his academic journey with one foot in basic research and the other in application. He is the president of the Communities and Sustainable Societies Lab (CaSSL), a student organization focused on the improvement and development of sustainable communities. Through CaSSL, Benjamin has worked with Dr. Richard Smith developing volunteer opportunities for UNT’s behavior analysis students and conducting community-based applied research. Benjamin is also a member of UNT’s behavioral pharmacology laboratory and conducts research in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Pinkston.


Over the course of his work at UNT, Benjamin has become increasingly interested in the relationship between response effort, reinforcer value, and motivation. In his master’s thesis, conducted in the behavioral pharmacology laboratory, Benjamin will evaluate the behavioral effects of caffeine from the perspective of behavioral economics. Several lines of research suggest that caffeine may have stimulating effects because it functionally reduces the work required to earn reinforcement, and this may be construed as reducing the cost-benefit ratio between responding and reinforcement. Benjamin will examine functional changes in rats’ demand for food under various cost-benefit ratios. If caffeine reduces the functional price to obtain food, rats should become less sensitive to changes in price.


Back to Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Grants