Robert Dooling studies comparative aspects of hearing and acoustic communication and has published over 250 articles, chapters, and books on this topic. He received his Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology from Saint Louis University and was an postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor at the Rockefeller University in New York before coming to the University of Maryland. He has received numerous awards over the years for his research including several Career development awards from NIH and an Alexander V. Humboldt Senior Scientist Award.


  • PhD
    Saint Louis University, Physiological Psychology
  • MS
    Saint Louis University, Biology
  • BS
    Creighton University, Biology/Chemistry

Research in my laboratory of comparative psychoacoustics is aimed at understanding how animals communicate with one another using sound and whether there are parallels with how humans communicate with one another using speech and language. Birds such as songbirds and parrots, like humans, rely on hearing and learning to develop a normal vocal repertoire. We often study budgerigars, canaries, zebra finches, and other small birds because they learn their species-specific vocalizations that bears some similarity to how humans learn speech and language. We have specific projects on vocal learning and vocal development in budgerigars, how hearing loss affects vocal behavior, whether newly regenerated auditory sensory hair cells result in a recovery of hearing and vocal behavior, how noise affects hearing, and whether there are syntactical features birdsong.

Research Interests

Campus, IACUC (Chair)

Campus, Intellectual Property Committee (Chair)

Campus, Conflict of Interest Committee (Member)

Campus, President's Medals Committee (Chair)

Campus, Honors and Prizes Committee

Campus, APT Appeals Committee

Campus, Facilities Advisory Council

Current Students

Former Students

  • Student Name
    Beth Goldman
  • Student Name
    Adam Fishbein
Dr. Robert Dooling
2123D Biology-Psychology Building
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
rdooling [at]
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