Brianna L Artz

Brianna L Artz

Brianna L Artz

Graduate Lecturer

Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience: Animal cognition, evolution of social cognition

Brianna is a PhD candidate in the Animal Behavior & Cognition lab in the department of Psychology. Broadly, her interests include better understanding how evolution has influenced social cognition. Brianna is interested in studying domestic dogs and other animals to understand how domestication interacts with life experience to produce certain social behaviors or abilities. Her current research focuses on understanding how domestication and life experience influences the tendency to seek help from humans when confronted with an unsolvable problem. Her research utilizes both operant and classical conditioning techniques, as well as behavioral observations during novel experimental tasks that do not require learning. Brianna is also interested in human-animal interaction, and how it effects the well-being of humans. In addition to research, she has taught undergraduates in psychology since the start of her Ph.D studies at GMU. Brianna was recognized as an Outstanding Teaching Assistant at George Mason University in 2018 and is a true lover of psychology and sharing it with her undergraduates. 

Selected Publications

Artz, B. L., & Davis, D. B. (2017) Green Care: A review of the benefits and potential of animal-assisted care farming globally and in rural America. Animals, 7(4), 31.

Artz, B. L., & Davis, D. B. (in preparation) The Unsolvable Task in Llamas: a Pilot Study

Courses Taught

Principles of Learning (PSYC 304)

Principles of Learning Lab (PSYC 304L)

Research Methods in Psychology (PSYC 301)

Cognitive Psychology (PSYC 317)

Psychology of Communication (PSYC 406) 

Biopsychology (PSYC 372)

Biopsychology Lab (PSYC 373)

Mystery, Madness & Murder (PSYC 405)

Brain and Behavior (PSYC 376)

Science of Well-Being (PSYC 417)

Behavior Modification (PSYC 322)

Adolescent Development (PSYC 314)


B.S Psychology, Developmental Concentration, Honors; George Mason University 

M.A. Psychology, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, George Mason University 

Recent Presentations

Artz, B. L. & Davis, D. B. (2020, Mar) Object-word learning in dogs: breed-based differences? To be presented at the Eastern Psychological Association conference, Boston, Massachusetts.

Artz, B. L. & Davis, D. B. (2018, Apr) Do dogs respond to genuine rather than masked or simulated human emotions? Poster presented at the annual Neuroscience Symposium, Krasnow Institute, Fairfax, Virginia.

Artz, B. L., & Davis, D. B. (2017, Apr) “Man’s Best Friend” really is your best friend: Canine response to owner and stranger emotions compared. Poster presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Memphis, Tennessee.

Artz, B. L., & Davis, D. B. (2016, Aug.) Human-Canine Interactions: A Comparison of Canine Response to the Emotions of their Owners and Strangers. Poster presented at the annual Oscar Summer Celebration of Scholarship, Fairfax, Virginia.

For a full list, please see my CV.