Cognition and culture in the wild
Most research on animal cognition and culture has been conducted in captivity and so tells us little about the selective pressures operating in natural populations. We take our research out of the lab and into the field to investigate the evolution and development of cognition and culture in the wild. Using experimental, observational and statistical techniques we aim to understand the cognitive challenges faced by animals in their natural environment and examine how the ability to learn from others affects the behaviour of individuals and groups.
The Wild Cognition Research Group is run by Dr Alex Thornton at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus. We are interested in addressing questions in comparative psychology and evolutionary biology using a variety of study species. Our current work focuses on jackdaws in the UK and meerkats in the Kalahari Desert, South Africa.
If you are interested in collaborating with us or joining the group, please go to the Opportunties page.