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 social behaviour. We also place a strong emphasis on the experimental approach to research problems in these fields of psychology.
Recent topics in which world-class work has been conducted include:
- decision-making, reasoning, problem-solving and high-level learning in risky/uncertain environments
- visual perception and gaze in humans and non-human animals
- colour perception in bumblebees
- social groups and resilience
- identity, identity change, health and well-being
- attentional control in bilinguals
- differential susceptibility
- vantage sensitivity
- life course studies
- positive development
- neurogenomic responses to social communication in songbirds
- the use of zebra fish as a model behavioural assay of addiction
- vocal communication in goats, deer, cattle, and automated analysis of vocalisations
- social and physical cognition, emotions and welfare in goats
- psychology of creativity and innovativeness
- knowledge effects on decision-making and problem-solving in children and adults
- sound symbolism and choice of human first names
- the role of Cannabinoid signalling in several neural processes
- positive psychology
- causal reasoning
- the role of causality in similarity and categorisation
- gene-brain interaction in mammalian reproductive behaviour
- face processing and imitation
- and the philosophy of mind.
Please see the group members' individual web pages for recent publications and research interests.
- David Clayton (Head of Division)
- Nilufa Ali
- Aimee Bright
- Lars Chittka
- Tiina Eilola
- Nathan Emery
- Sevasti Foka
- Emily Hannon
- Janelle Jones
- Isabelle Mareschal
- Alan McElligott
- Magda Osman
- Michael Pluess
QM also hosts a Research Centre in Psychology.
Selected publications in this research area
Baciadonna, L., McElligott, A.G. & Briefer, E.F. (2013) Goats favour personal over social information in an experimental foraging task. PEERJ 1: e172
Pitcher, B.J., Mesoudi, A. & McElligott, A.G. (2013) Sex-biased sound symbolism in English-language first names. PLOS ONE 8, e64825
Briefer, E.F. & McElligott, A.G. (2013) Rescued goats at a sanctuary display positive mood after former neglect. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 145, 45-55.
Mareschal, I., Calder, J.A. & Clifford, C.W.G. (2013). Humans have an expectation that gaze is directed toward them. Current Biology, 23, 1-5.
Mareschal, I., Calder, J.A., Dadds, M. & Clifford, C.W.G. (2013). Gaze categorization under uncertainty: Psychophysics and modeling. Journal of Vision, in press. 23, 1-5.
Chittka, L., Dyer, A. (2012). Cognition: Your face looks familiar. Nature, 481, 154-155.
Drnevich, J., Replogle, K, Lovell, P., Hahn, T.P., Johnson , F., Mast, T.G., Nordeen, E., Nordeen, K., Strand, C., London, S.E., Mukai, M., Wingfield, J.C., Arnold, A.P., Ball, G.F., Brenowitz, E., Wade, J., Mello, C., Clayton, D.F. (2012). The impact of experience-dependent and independent factors on gene expression in songbird brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 109,17245–17252.
Richards A, Hannon E.M., Vitkovitch M. (2012). Distracted by distractors: eye movements in a dynamic inattentional blindness task. Consciousness and Cognition vol. 21, (1) 170-176.
Osman, M., Speekenbrink, M. (2012). Prediction and control in a dynamic environment. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 68.
Briefer, E.F., Padilla de la Torre, M., McElligott, A.G. (2012). Mother goats do not forget their kids' calls. Proceeding of the Royal Society, B 279, 3749-3755.
Lihoreau, M., Chittka,L., Le Comber, S.C., et al. (2012). Bees do not use nearest-neighbour rules for optimization of multi-location routes. Biology Letters, 8, 13-16.
Parker, M.O., Brennan, C.H. (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.
Osman, M. (2012). The role of reward in dynamic decision making. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 6, 35.
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.
Chittka, L., Mesoudi, A. (2011). Insect swarm intelligence (book review of Seeley, 2010, Honeybee Democracy). Science, 331, 401-402.
Eilola, T. M., & 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, 15,353-369.
Bird, C.D., and Emery, N.J. (2010). Rooks perceive support relations similar to six month old babies. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B: Biological Sciences, 277, 147-151.
Osman, M. (2010). Controlling Uncertainty: A Review of Human Behavior in Complex Dynamic Environments. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 65-86.
Skorupski, P., and Chittka, L. (2010). Differences in Photoreceptor Processing Speed for Chromatic and Achromatic Vision in the Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 3896-3903.
Briefer, E., Vannoni, E., McElligott, A.G. (2010). Quality prevails over identity in the sexually selected vocalisations of an ageing mammal. BMC Biology, 8, 35.
Chittka, L., Skorupski, P., and Raine, N.E. (2009). Speed-accuracy tradeoffs in animal decision making. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24, 400-407.
Bird, C.D., and Emery, N.J. (2009). Insightful problem solving and creative tool modification by captive nontool-using rooks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 106, 10370-10375.
Emery, N.J., and Clayton, N.S. (2009). Comparative social cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 87-113.
Chittka, L., and Niven, J. (2009). Are bigger brains better? Current Biology, 19, 995-1008.
Ings, T.C., and Chittka, L. (2008). Speed accuracy tradeoffs and false alarms in bee responses to cryptic predators. Current Biology, 18, 1520-1524.
Muller, H., and Chittka, L. (2008). Animal personalities: the advantage of diversity. Current Biology, 20, 961-963.
Osman, M. (2008). Evidence for positive transfer and negative transfer/Anti-learning of problem solving skills. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137, 97-115.
Vannoni, E., and McElligott, A.G. (2008). Low frequency groans indicate larger and more dominant fallow deer (Dama dama) males. PLOS One, 3, e3113.
Chittka, L., and Osorio, D. (2007). Cognitive Dimensions of Predator Responses to Imperfect Mimicry. PLoS Biology, 5, 2754-2758.
Dyer, A.G., Whitney, H.M., Arnold, S.E.J., Glover, B.J., and Chittka, L. (2006). Bees associate warmth with flower colour. Nature, 442, 525-525.
Skorupski, P., and Chittka, L. (2006). Animal cognition: an insect’s sense of time? Current Biology, 16, 851-853.
Dally, J.M., Emery, N.J., and Clayton, N.S. (2006). Food-caching Western scrub jays keep track of who was watching them. Science, 312, 1662-1665.
Emery, N.J., and Clayton, N.S. (2004). The mentality of crows: the convergent evolution of intelligence in corvids and apes. Science, 306, 1903-1907.