Welcome to Wild Cognition Research

The Evolution of Cognition and Culture

The Wild Cognition Research Group is run by Dr Alex Thornton at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus in Cornwall. We seek to understand how the challenges faced by animals (including humans) in their natural environments shape their mental processes, how the ability to learn from others affects the behaviour of individuals and groups, and how culture itself evolves.

Our current work focuses on cognition and behaviour in wild jackdaws and the cognitive requirements of cumulative culture in humans.

kauwtjeshome Welcome to Wild Cognition Research

Opportunities

If you are interested in collaborating with us or joining the group, please go to the Opportunties page.

Research internships

Volunteer student interns wanted from March to July. Click here for details.

News
  • Cooperative breeding doesn’t make you smarter. New paper open access in Journal of Zoology

     

    New TREE paper: The evolution of individual and cultural variation in social learning


    New paper on human cumulative culture in Scientific Reports

     

    Jackdaws recognise human faces! Gabrielle’s new paper is out. See coverage on ITV and BBC

     

    New ESRC grant! Cognitive Requirements of Cumulative Culture: Expts with Typically Developing and Autistic People. Collaborating with Christine Caldwell & Francesca Happé
     

    New paper with Oxford collaborators in Nature: cultural conformity in great tits 

     

    Enormous congratulations to Gabrielle who passed her PhD viva. Well done Dr Davidson!  

     

    Comparative cognition can help conservation: read Alison’s new paper in TREE  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Coverage of Gabrielle’s Biology Letters paper in the press and on YouTube  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Gabrielle has a new paper accepted in Biology Letters! 

     

    Gabrielle’s gaze sensitivity review is out!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Took part in our survey about corvids in your garden? Click here to see preliminary results.

    New publications: 

    - Comparative cognition for conservationists. Trends Ecol. Evol.

    - Towards wild psychometrics. Behav. Ecol.

    - How and why are some animals so smart?. Behav. Ecol.

    - Jackdaw nestlings can discriminate between conspecific calls but do not beg specifically to their parents. Behav. Ecol.

    – Salient eyes deter conspecific nest intruders in wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula). Biol. Lett.

    – Gaze sensitivity: function and mechanisms from sensory and cognitive perspectives. Anim. Behav.

    – Heterogeneous structure in mixed-species corvid flocks in flight. Anim. Behav.

    Animal Minds: Phil. Trans. issueAnimal Minds e1345931827281 Welcome to Wild Cognition Research

    -Identification of learning mechanisms in a wild meerkat population. PloS ONE

    – Innovative problem-solving in wild meerkats. Anim. Behav.

    – How do banded mongooses locate and select anvils for cracking encased food items? Behav. Proc.

    – Teaching can teach us a lot. Anim. Behav.

    – Cooperation and punishment in nature. TREE

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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