Matthew Lewon

Assistant Professor


Matthew received a B.A. in History from the University of Arizona in 2001. While obtaining this degree, he discovered and was inspired by behavior analysis and began working with children and adults with disabilities. He spent several years teaching at public elementary and junior high schools in Kumamoto, Japan via the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology under Dr. Linda Hayes at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). During this time, he worked in the UNR Early Childhood Autism Program under Dr. Patrick Ghezzi and as a didactic course and practicum instructor for the UNR Satellite Programs in Behavior Analysis. He held postdoctoral positions conducting scent detection research with the non-profit organization APOPO in Tanzania and in UNR’s Animal Behavior Laboratory (ABL) under Dr. Linda Hayes.

Matthew’s primary interests in the basic and conceptual domains are related to studying the role of motivation and emotion in learning and how individuals’ physiological characteristics interact with their environments to determine their psychological characteristics. Basic research along these lines is conducted in the ABL, for which he is a co-principal investigator and faculty advisor. Some of this research includes interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers outside of behavior science.

In addition to his basic/conceptual interests, Matthew is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and serves as the faculty advisor for service contracts with Washoe County School District, NV Rural Regional Center, and NV Sierra Regional Center. His research interests in the clinical domain include treatment integrity, observing as a repertoire of behavior, and the maintenance and generalization of skills following behavioral treatment.

Research interests

  • Motivation and emotion 
  • Interactions between physiological and psychological variables
  • Learning and memory in animal models of disease and relapse 
  • Epigenetics and learning and memory 
  • Treatment integrity 
  • Observational behavior 
  • Maintenance and generalization of behavioral treatment

Professional certifications

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Licensed Behavior Analyst (NV)


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno, 2017 
  • M.A., Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno, 2013 
  • B.A., History, University of Arizona, 2001

Selected publications

  • Lewon, M., Thomas, J., Peters, C. M., & Hayes, L. J. (2020). Interactions between the motivational and discriminative functions of motivating operations in the renewal of operant responding in mice. The Psychological Record, 70, 21-31.
  • Hayes, L. J., Jacobs, K. W., & Lewon, M. (2020). Basic concepts. In M. J. Fryling, R. A. Rehfeldt, J. Tarbox, & L. J. Hayes (Eds.). Applied behavior analysis of language and cognition. Oakland, CA: Context Press.
  • Lewon, M., Houmanfar, R. A., & Hayes, L. J. (2019). The will to fight: Aversion-induced aggression and the role of motivation in intergroup conflict. Perspectives on Behavior Science, 42, 889-910.
  • Lewon, M., Spurlock, E. D., Peters, C. M., & Hayes, L. J. (2019). Interactions between the effects of food and water motivating operations on food- and water-reinforced responding in mice. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 111, 493-507.
  • Lewon, M., Webb, E. K., Brotheridge, S. M., Cox, C., & Fast, C. D. (2019). Behavioral skills training in scent detection research: Interactions between trainer and animal behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 52, 682-700.
  • Lewon, M., Peters, C. M., Van Ry, P. M., Burkin, D. J., Hunter, K. W., & Hayes, L. J. (2017). Evaluation of the behavioral characteristics of the MDX mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy through operant conditioning procedures. Behavioural Processes, 142, 8-20.
  • Lewon, M., & Hayes, L. J. (2015). The effect of the magnitude of the food deprivation motivating operation on free operant preference in mice. Behavioural Processes, 115, 135-142.
  • Lewon, M., & Hayes, L. J. (2014). Toward an analysis of emotions as products of motivating operations. The Psychological Record, 64, 813-825.
  • Lewon, M., Munoz Blanco, M. I., & Hayes, L. J. (2011/2012). Descriptive versus functional accounts of psychological events: CyberRat as a case in point. Behavior and Philosophy, 39/40, 315-319.

Dr. Matthew Lewon's Google Scholar