Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow

Macmillan Building 170B
2357 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4


Columbia University, 2012, PhD, Psychology
New York University, 2002, BA, Physical Anthropology


Fish have sophisticated cognitive abilities, but are they driven to use their skills? Do they seek out cognitive challenges and how might cognitive stimulation affect their welfare? My research focuses on uncovering fundamental patterns of motivation and well-being across species.  In particular, I am currently interested in determining whether fish are motivated to engage in cognitively demanding activities—learning, exploring, discovering, remembering, and problem solving—and how such activities may impact their well-being and social behavior.

Selected Publications

Gaffney, LP, Franks, B, Weary, DM, & von Keyserlingk, MAG (2016).  Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) prefer and are less aggressive in darker coloured tanks. PLoS ONE.

Franks, B, Chen, C, Manley, K, Higgins, ET (2016). Effective challenge regulation coincides with promotion focus-related success and emotional well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies. March: 1:14

Strauman, TJ, Socolar, Y, Kwapil, L, Cornwell, JFM, Franks, B, Sehnert, S, Higgins, ET  (2015).  Microinterventions Targeting Regulatory Focus and Fit Selectively Reduce Dysphoric and Anxious Mood. Behaviour Research and Therapy.

Franks, B, Champagne, FA, Curley, JP (2015). Postnatal maternal care predicts divergent weaning strategies and the development of social behavior. Developmental Psychobiology. 57(7): 809-817

Higgins, ET*, Cornwell, JFM*, & Franks, B* (2014). “Happiness” and “the good life” as motivations working together effectively. In Elliot, A. (Ed.), Advances in Motivation Science. Volume 1, pp 135 – 179. New York, NY: Academic Press. *Equal contributors

Cornwell, JFM, Franks, B, Higgins, ET (2014). Truth, Control, and Value Motivations: The What, How, and Why of Approach and Avoidance. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 8: 194.

Franks, B, Higgins, ET, Champagne, FA (2014).  A theoretically based model of rat personality with implications for welfare. PLoS ONE. 9(4): e95135. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095135

Webb, CE, Franks, B, Romero, T, Higgins, ET, de Waal, FBM (2014). Individual differences in chimpanzee reconciliation relate to social switching behaviour. Animal Behaviour. 90: 57–63.

Franks, B, Champagne, FA, Higgins, ET (2013).  How enrichment affects exploration trade-offs in rats: Implications for welfare and well-being.  PLoS ONE 8(12): e83578. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083578

Franks, B, Reiss, D, Cole, P, Friedrich, V, Thompson, N, Higgins, ET (2013).  Predicting how individuals approach enrichment: Regulatory focus in cotton-top tamarins (Sanguinus oedipus).  Zoo Biology. 32: 427-435.

Franks, B, Higgins, ET, Champagne, FA (2012) Evidence for individual differences in regulatory focus in rats, Rattus norvegicus. Journal of Comparative Psychology. 126(4), 347-354.

Franks, B & Higgins ET (2012) Effectiveness in Human and Other Animals.  In Olson, K. M. & Zanna, M. P. (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. Vol. 45, pp 285-346. New York, NY: Academic Press.

Franks, B, Lyn, H, Klein, L, Reiss, D  (2010).  Behavior patterns of the Pacific Walrus in response to environmental and temporal changes. Zoo Biology. Vol. 29 Issue 3: 397-404.