Psychology Professor Ed Wasserman’s study, showing pigeons can detect breast cancer, receives international attention

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Professor Ed Wasserman
Ed Wasserman

A new study by University of Iowa Professor Ed Wasserman shows pigeons can tell the difference between cancerous and normal breast tissue. Using selective food reinforcement, researchers successfully trained pigeons to categorize digitized slides and mammograms showing benign and malignant breast tissue.

Wasserman is the Stuit Professor of Experimental Psychology in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, part of the UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

The study, published Nov. 18 in the journal PLOS One, has received international attention. Read coverage of Wasserman's study from the following news outlets:

Read the Iowa Now story about the study, and watch a video about the research below.

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.