Micaela Rivera ’21 third author on paper receiving national attention

Micaela Rivera ’21 of River Falls, Wisconsin, is the third author on research that came out in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B earlier this month. The article is titled “Cuttlefish exert self-control in a delay of gratification task.” The findings have since been getting national attention in numerous outlets, including National Public Radio, The Atlantic, Science Daily, Smithsonian Magazine and Live Science.

Cuttlefish are a cephalopod marine mollusc related to octopus, squid and nautiluses. The cognitive behavior research was conducted at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Rivera helped train the cuttlefish for the experiment and collected data.

The article states, “Here, for the first time, we provide evidence of a link between self-control and learning performance in a non-primate species.”

Rivera is majoring in psychobiology at Ripon. As a freshman, she was encouraged by Associate Professor of Psychology Julia Meyers-Manor to apply for REUs through the National Science Foundation. These fund research opportunities for undergraduate students at host institutions. Rivera secured a spot in the summer research program in Woods Hole between her freshman and sophomore years.

“This level of research is extremely exciting to me because I have received the opportunity to not only work with but also learn from creatures that many individuals don’t,” Rivera says.

Ripon professors work closely with students to build and intensify relationships with students and to participate in undergraduate research opportunities. “At Ripon College, I have had the chance to work with Dr. Julia Meyers-Manor as well as (Associate Professor of Biology) Dr. Memuna Khan closely,” Rivera says. “They have not only taught me about research but also have shaped me into a better scientist.”

Rivera currently is applying to several laboratories to gain more research experience. She also plans to earn a Ph.D., most likely in animal behavior.


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