Ryan Lacy


Ph.D., M.A. University of South Carolina
B.A. Kenyon College


I joined the Davidson Psychology department in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow working under the mentorship of Prof. Mark Smith. I received my B.A. in psychology from Kenyon College (2007) and my Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of the South Carolina (2012). As an undergraduate, I received the psychology department prize for outstanding senior thesis. Additionally, I was awarded the Ralph H. Tindall fellowship from the University of South Carolina to support the completion of his doctoral dissertation research. 

My primary area of research focuses on the effects of illicit drugs on learning, memory and motivated behavior. My dissertation research focused on developing an animal model of prenatal nicotine exposure. Specifically, these experiments assessed differences in motivated behavior and neurochemistry that indicate increased drug abuse liability in those animals exposed to nicotine during gestation. While at Davidson, I will continue to conduct drug abuse research with Dr. Smith and his students by examining social influences on drug-taking behavior. 

View my research publications.

In addition to research, I will teach during my time at the college. I have previously taught courses in Learning and Memory, Drug Use and Effects, and Research Methods in Psychology. 


  • PSY 101 General Psychology

Professional Affiliations

  • The College on Problems of Drug Dependence
  • The International Study Group Investigating Drugs as Reinforcers
  • American Psychological Association: Division 28 (Psychopharmacology)