Menu

The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Research menu

Biological and Experimental Psychology

Research in this area focuses on the ultimate (evolutionary) and proximate (genetic, developmental and neurobiological) mechanisms responsible for cognition and behaviour. A central consideration for this group concerns cognitive evolution and the biological basis of human cognition and social behaviour. We also place a strong emphasis on the experimental approach to research problems in these fields of psychology.

Innovative and interdisciplinary research explores how environmental factors and biological mechanism underlie perception, cognition and behaviour. We study these questions from multiple perspectives using both animal models and humans.

Our recent research using animal models has explored:

  • How foraging bees solve the traveling salesman problem;
  • How brain gene expression influences memory formation in songbirds;
  • How fallow deer use vocal displays to convey social status;
  • Whether zebrafish are a viable model for studying impulse control, attention and addiction.

Research with humans has:

  • Elucidated how the sense of control modulates our assessment of threats and responses to complex dynamic environments;
  • Which factors underlie creative thought;
  • How social relations and gene-environment interactions can influence health, well-being and developmental trajectories.  

Members

 

 

NamePositionInterests
  
  •  

 

Selected publications in this research area

Jetten J, Haslam C, Haslam SA et al. (2014) . How Groups Affect Our Health and Well-Being: The Path from Theory to Policy. SOCIAL ISSUES AND POLICY REVIEW vol. 8, (1) 103-130.
10.1111/sipr.12003

Jones JM, Williams WH, Jetten J et al. (2012) . The role of psychological symptoms and social group memberships in the development of post-traumatic stress after traumatic injury. Br J Health Psychol vol. 17, (4) 798-811.
10.1111/j.2044-8287.2012.02074.x

Jones JM, Jetten J (2011) . Recovering from strain and enduring pain: Multiple group memberships promote resilience in the face of novel physical challenges. Social Psychological and Personality Science vol. 3, 239-243.

Baciadonna L, McElligott AG, Briefer EF (2013) . Goats favour personal over social information in an experimental foraging task. PeerJ vol. 1,
10.7717/peerj.172

Briefer EF, McElligott AG (2013) . Rescued goats at a sanctuary display positive mood after former neglect. Applied Animal Behaviour Science vol. 146, (1-4) 45-55.
10.1016/j.applanim.2013.03.007

Chittka L, Peng F (2013) . Neuroscience. Caffeine boosts bees' memories. Science vol. 339, (6124) 1157-1159.
10.1126/science.1234411

Collett M, Chittka L, Collett TS (2013) . Spatial memory in insect navigation. Curr Biol vol. 23, (17) R789-R800.
10.1016/j.cub.2013.07.020

Dawson EH, Avarguès-Weber A, Chittka L et al. (2013) . Learning by observation emerges from simple associations in an insect model. Curr Biol vol. 23, (8) 727-730.
10.1016/j.cub.2013.03.035

Faruq S, McOwan PW, Chittka L (2013) . The biological significance of color constancy: an agent-based model with bees foraging from flowers under varied illumination. J Vis vol. 13, (10)
10.1167/13.10.10

Mareschal I, Calder AJ, Clifford CW Humans have an expectation that gaze is directed toward them. Curr Biol 23(8):717-721 22 Apr 2013
10.1016/j.cub.2013.03.030

Mareschal I, Calder AJ, Dadds MR et al. (2013) . Gaze categorization under uncertainty: psychophysics and modeling. J Visvol. 13, (5)
10.1167/13.5.18

Pitcher BJ, Mesoudi A, McElligott AG (2013) . Sex-biased sound symbolism in english-language first names. PLoS One vol. 8, (6)
10.1371/journal.pone.0064825

Pluess M, Belsky J (2013) . Vantage sensitivity: individual differences in response to positive experiences. Psychol Bullvol. 139, (4) 901-916.
10.1037/a0030196

Briefer EF, Padilla de la Torre M, McElligott AG (2012) . Mother goats do not forget their kids' calls. Proc Biol Sci vol. 279, (1743) 3749-3755.
10.1098/rspb.2012.0986

Chittka L, Dyer A (2012) . Cognition: Your face looks familiar. Nature vol. 481, (7380) 154-155.
10.1038/481154a

Drnevich J, Replogle KL, Lovell P et al. (2012) . Impact of experience-dependent and independent factors on gene expression in songbird brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A vol. 109 Suppl 2, 17245-17252.
10.1073/pnas.1200655109

Lihoreau M, Chittka L, Le Comber SC et al. (2012) . Bees do not use nearest-neighbour rules for optimization of multi-location routes. Biol Lett vol. 8, (1) 13-16.
10.1098/rsbl.2011.0661

Osman M (2012) . The role of reward in dynamic decision making. Front Neurosci vol. 6,
10.3389/fnins.2012.00035

Osman M, Speekenbrink M (2012) . Prediction and control in a dynamic environment. Front Psychol vol. 3,
10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00068

Parker M, Brennan CH (2012) . Low and Moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy: effects on social behaviour and propensity to develop substance abuse in later life. BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (13) 1671-1672.
10.1111/1471-0528.12006

Richards A, HANNON EM, Vitkovitch M (2012) . Distracted by distractors: eye movements in a dynamic inattentional blindness task. Consciousness and Cognition vol. 21, (1) 170-176.
10.1016/j.concog.2011.09.013

Ali N, Chater N, Oaksford M (2011) . The mental representation of causal conditional reasoning: mental models or causal models. Cognition vol. 119, (3) 403-418.
10.1016/j.cognition.2011.02.005

Eilola TM, Havelka, J (2011) . Behavioural and physiological responses to the emotional and taboo Stroop tasks in native and non-native speakers of English. International Journal of Bilingualism vol. 15, (3) 353-369.
10.1177/1367006910379263

Pluess M, Velders FP, Belsky J et al. (2011) . Serotonin transporter polymorphism moderates effects of prenatal maternal anxiety on infant negative emotionality. Biol Psychiatry vol. 69, (6) 520-525.
10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.10.006

Ali N, Green DW, Kherif F et al. (2010) . The Role of the Left Head of Caudate in Suppressing Irrelevant Words. JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE vol. 22, (10) 2369-2386.
10.1162/jocn.2009.21352

Bird CD, Emery NJ (2010) . Rooks perceive support relations similar to six-month-old babies. Proc Biol Sci vol. 277, (1678) 147-151.
10.1098/rspb.2009.1456

Briefer E, Vannoni E, McElligott AG (2010) . Quality prevails over identity in the sexually selected vocalisations of an ageing mammal. BMC Biol vol. 8,
10.1186/1741-7007-8-35

Osman M (2010) . Controlling Uncertainty: A Review of Human Behavior in Complex Dynamic Environments. Psychological Bulletin vol. 136, (1) 65-86.
10.1037/a0017815

Skorupski P, Chittka L (2010) . Differences in photoreceptor processing speed for chromatic and achromatic vision in the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris. J Neurosci vol. 30, (11) 3896-3903.
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5700-09.2010

Belsky J, Pluess M (2009) . Beyond diathesis stress: differential susceptibility to environmental influences. Psychol Bullvol. 135, (6) 885-908.
10.1037/a0017376

Bird CD, Emery NJ (2009) . Insightful problem solving and creative tool modification by captive nontool-using rooks. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A vol. 106, (25) 10370-10375.
10.1073/pnas.0901008106

Chittka L, Niven J (2009) . Are bigger brains better?. Curr Biol vol. 19, (21) R995-R1008.
10.1016/j.cub.2009.08.023

Chittka L, Skorupski P, Raine NE (2009) . Speed-accuracy tradeoffs in animal decision making. Trends Ecol Evol vol. 24, (7) 400-407.
10.1016/j.tree.2009.02.010

Crinion JT, Green DW, Chung R et al. (2009) . Neuroanatomical markers of speaking Chinese. Hum Brain Mapp vol. 30, (12) 4108-4115.
10.1002/hbm.20832

Emery NJ, Clayton NS (2009) . Comparative social cognition. Annu Rev Psychol vol. 60, 87-113.
10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163526

Grogan A, Green DW, Ali N et al. (2009) . Structural Correlates of Semantic and Phonemic Fluency Ability in First and Second Languages. CEREBRAL CORTEX vol. 19, (11) 2690-2698.
10.1093/cercor/bhp023

Pluess M, Belsky J (2009) . Differential susceptibility to rearing experience: the case of childcare. J Child Psychol Psychiatry vol. 50, (4) 396-404.
10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01992.x

Ings TC, Chittka L (2008) . Speed-Accuracy Tradeoffs and False Alarms in Bee Responses to Cryptic Predators. CURR BIOL vol. 18, (19) 1520-1524.
10.1016/j.cub.2008.07.074

Muller H, Chittka L (2008) . Animal personalities: the advantage of diversity. Curr Biol vol. 18, (20) R961-R963.
10.1016/j.cub.2008.09.001

Osman M (2008) . Positive transfer and negative transfer/anti-learning of problem-solving skills. J Exp Psychol Gen vol. 137, (1) 97-115.
10.1037/0096-3445.137.1.97

Vannoni E, McElligott AG (2008) . Low frequency groans indicate larger and more dominant fallow deer (Dama dama) males. PLoS One vol. 3, (9)
10.1371/journal.pone.0003113

Chittka L, Osorio D (2007) . Cognitive dimensions of predator responses to imperfect mimicry?. PLOS BIOL vol. 5, (12) Article e339, 2754-2758.
10.1371/journal.pbio.0050339

Dyer AG, Whitney HM, Arnold SEJ et al. (2006) . Bees associate warmth with floral colour. NATURE vol. 442, (7102) 525-525.
10.1038/442525a

Skorupski P, Chittka L (2006) . Animal cognition: An insect's sense of time?. CURR BIOL vol. 16, (19) R851-R853.
10.1016/j.cub.2006.08.069

Dally JM, Emery NJ, Clayton NS (2006) . Food-caching western scrub-jays keep track of who was watching when. SCIENCEvol. 312, (5780) 1662-1665.
10.1126/science.1126539

Emery NJ, Clayton NS (2004) . The mentality of crows: Convergent evolution of intelligence in corvids and apes. SCIENCE vol. 306, (5703) 1903-1907.
10.1126/science.1098410

Bookmark and Share
Return to top