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Christmas 2020 Lab Party on Zoom, playing our version of "Two Truths, One Lie" game. From left to right: Ming Ye, Jamie DuBois, Izzy Crampton, Daniel Pini, James Davies, Ning Ding, Dr Alizee Vernouillet, Dr Maria Cabrera, Dr Nishant Kumar, Dr Gabrielle Davidson, Francesca Cornero, Prof Nicky Clayton, Dr Rachael Miller (Harrison), Maria Loconsole, Dr Tom Liu, Elias Garcia-Pelegrin, Ben Farrar (missing Emily Danby, Dr Alex Schnell, Dr Luigi Baciadonna)

Current CCL Members:

Prof. Nicky Clayton: Professor of Comparative Cognition, FRS

I am interested in the development and evolution of cognition, in both humans and non-human animals, particularly corvids and cephalopods. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. I am also a Fellow of the Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and an Honorary Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, and an Honorary/Advisory Fellow of the United Sigma Intelligence Association (USIA). Together with Professor Clive Wilkins, who is Artist in Residence in the department (see Clive’s entry below), I am co-founder of The Captured Thought, and also the Founding Director of the Cambridge Centre for the Integration of Science, Technology, and Culture, and an Honorary Director of Studies and Advisor for China-UK Development Centre. Clive Wilkins and I have Visiting Professorships at Nanjing University, Institute of Technology, China, Beijing Language and Culture University, China  and Honorary Professorships at Hangzhou Diangi University, China. I am also a dancer, collaborating with Mark Baldwin, former Artistic Director at Rambert and a world-renowned choreographer. I am Scientist in Residence and Associate Artist at Rambert, the UK's flagship touring dance company (originally called Ballet Rambert).

Dr Rachael Miller (Harrison): Research Associate (2015-2019); Research Associate/ Lab Manager (2019-2021); Visiting Researcher (2021-2022)

I am a Visiting Researcher and Temporary Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. I am broadly interested in the evolution of cognition. My Visiting Researcher and Postdoc research focuses on comparative, ecological and developmental approaches to testing cognition in humans - both children and adults - and birds - including corvids and other species, with a particular focus on self-control, behavioural flexibility, responses to novelty, social learning and reasoning about cause and effect. As part of one of my independent projects as Principal Investigator, I am exploring applications of cognition research for applied conservation purposes in threatened bird species. I am responsible for teaching (lectures, practicals, exams) on Psychology and Zoology Department Undergraduate courses,supervising/ co-supervising students, and lab/ grant administration. Previously in the Lab Manager role, I also assisted Prof Clayton is managing the CCL. My website: www.drrachaelmiller.com

Dr Alex SchnellRoyal Society Newton International Fellow (March 2019-present); Research Fellow of Darwin College (Oct 2018-present)

Alex is a comparative psychologist and a behavioural ecologist with a background in marine biology. Her research interests centre on complex learning and memory mechanisms in animals and how these abilities have evolved across diverse taxa. Her primary model species include cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish, and squid) and corvids (members of the crow family) but she also has work experience working with elephants, freshwater fish, and juvenile crocodiles. In addition to her interest in cognitive evolution, she also has an interest in sensory ecology, neuro-ethology, sentience, and welfare. She has previously held several post-doctoral positions, which were based at two leading cephalopod research facilities including the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, USA and the Centre de Recherches en Environnement Cotier in Normandy, France.

​Dr Gabrielle Davidson: Leverhulme-Newton Trust Early Career Research Fellow

Gabrielle is a comparative psychologist and a behavioural ecologist with a keen interest in the development, function and evolution of cognition through the study of individual differences within species. She is currently investigating the interplay between the microbial community in the gut (microbiome) and host behaviour and cognition and has used both great tits (Parus major) and pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis) as study systems. As the foundations of her research depend on good measures of cognitive traits, she has focused on developing rigorous cognitive tasks to investigate the causes and consequences of variation in intelligence in wild populations. Other interests include predator-prey interactions and her doctoral work investigated how wild birds (rooks, jackdaws, crows and great tits) responded to where others are looking (i.e. gaze sensitivity), and how this influences decision-making when foraging, finding nesting locations, guarding chicks and escaping predators.

Ben Farrar: PhD Student (2017-2021)

I am a PhD student supervised by Professor Nicky Clayton and Dr Ljerka Ostojic. My research focuses on bias, statistical inference and replication in animal behaviour and cognition, using a mixed-methods approach. I am further interested in research and publication practices across science, and give talks on the academic incentive structure, publication decisions, and open science. I participate in the Cambridge Data Champions programme, helping to guide the proper and FAIR use of research data, and have organised the Cambridge ReproducibiliTea journal club.

Ning Ding: PhD Student (2018-present)

I am a PhD student supervised by Prof. Nicky Clayton. I earned my bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of St Andrews and completed Masters course at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge. I am broadly interested in children's cognitive development, especially their ability to think and plan for the future. As a native Chinese, my research also investigates the influence of culture on children's cognitive development and parenting practices.

Elias Garcia-Pelegrin: PhD Student (2019-present)

Before starting my PhD, I used to be a research assistant at Nicky Clayton's Comparative Cognition Lab. I am a researcher in Comparative Cognition and Evolutionary Psychology. My current research focuses on the use of sleight of hand to investigate attention and perception in corvids, cetaceans and primates, as well as the evolution of human artistic practices in the Upper Palaeolithic.

Emily Danby: PhD Student (2019-present)

I am currently working towards my PhD in avian cognition having previously been in neuroscience research and science publication. Recent experiments have been in parental call recognition in wild Great tits, and kin recognition in Eurasian jays. I am interested in perception, sociality, how behaviour differs in captive vs. wild environments and also in how cognition may be affected by circadian rhythms.

Jamie DuBois: PhD Student (2019-present)

I am a PhD student working under the supervision of Professor Nicky Clayton at the Comparative Cognition Lab. My love for comparative cognition started during my undergraduate studies when I worked as a neuroscience research assistant in Dr Brent Cooper’s lab at TCU where I conducted my honours thesis for the John V. Roach Honors College on vocal learning in Bengalese finches. I then went on to earn my MSc in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. There, I conducted research with Professor Josep Call on face-name recognition in chimpanzees at the Budongo Research Unit in the Edinburgh Zoo. Currently, my research interests include vocal learning and imitation as well as auditory perception, especially in the avian family. I also have interests in domestication and the effects this can have on animal cognition.

Francesca Cornero: PhD Student (2020-present)

I'm conducting comparative cognition research with African Grey parrots and rooks under a Herchel Smith Postgraduate Fellowship from Harvard University. I am interested in social learning, theory of mind, and metacognition, among other concepts. I was previously a research assistant at the Pepperberg Avian Cognition Lab at Harvard University, where I conducted research on disjunctive syllogism, visual working memory, Piagetian liquid "overconservation", referential communication, and more, and received my MPhil in Psychology from the University of Cambridge, conducting mirror self-recognition research with Eurasian jays also at the Comparative Cognition Lab.

James Davies: PhD Student (2020-present)

I am a PhD student supervised by Professor Nicky Clayton. I am broadly interested in the evolution of the mind and consciousness, both in humans and non-human animals. My current research focuses on mental time travel, specifically elements of episodic(-like) memory, in Eurasian jays and wild great tits and blue tits.

Ming Ye: MPhil Student (2020-present)

I am a PhD student supervised by Professor Nicky Clayton. I finished my bachelor’s study in Experimental Medicine at Peking University Health Science Centre and earned my first Master degree in Psychology at Peking University.This year, I gained my MPhil degree in Biological Science (Psychology) at University of Cambridge.  My research interests include perspective taking, mind reading, executive function and human visual perception. As a native Chinese, my current research intends to discuss the cross-cultural influence on people’s visual perspective taking ability.

Nathaniel Wright: MPhil Student (2021-present)

Clive Wilkins: Artist in Residence

I am a fine-art painter and a writer, and a Member of the Magician's Circle (MMC). I have exhibited  at the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy and in private galleries in Cork Street, London – including a one-man show in 2007. Wilkins has produced portraits of Sir Howard Hodgkin and Sir Peter Blake among others and has been presented publicly to HRH Princess Royal. Wilkins' writing and paintings have been in print on numerous occasions, most notably in his published work 'The Creatures in the Night', a story written and lavishly illustrated by Wilkins in 2008. 'The Moustachio Quartet', a series of four novels~ 'Caruso Maelstrom', 'Count Zapik', 'Xavier Mannikin' and 'Eissenstrom' explore mental time travel and question consciousness. As a performer and magician I am particularly interested in the nature of cognitive illusion and the psychology of perception. Together with Nicky Clayton, I am co-founder of The Captured Thought, and an Honourary Director of Studies and Advisor for China-UK Development Centre.  

Former CCL PhD Students and Postdoctoral Researchers:

 

Name

Dates in Lab

Position in the lab

Current position

J Dally

2001-2009

PhD, PDR

City Strategic Partnerships Lead, British Petroleum, UK.

A Seed

2003-2008

PhD, PDR

Senior Lecturer, Uni of St Andrews, UK

A Helme

2004-2008

PhD

Senior Research Info Manager, Cancer Research, UK

C Teufel

2006-2009

PhD

Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Cardiff

C Raby

2005-2008

PDR

PDR, University of Vienna, Austria

S Tebbich

2005-2008

PDR

Lecturer, University of Vienna, Austria

S Stevens

2006-2009

PDR

Data Scientist, AutoScout24, Germany

C Logan

2008-2011;

2015-2018

PhD,

PDR

Group Leader, Max Planck Institute Leipzig, Germany

L Cheke

2008-2014

PhD, PDR

University Lecturer, Uni of Cambridge, UK

A Thornton

2009-2012

PDR

Associate Professor, Uni of Exeter, UK

A Taylor

2009-2012

PDR

Associate Professor, Uni of Auckland, New Zealand

U Grodzinski

2008-2012

PDR

VP of Product, YouGov Signal, Israel

A Watanabe

2009-2013

PhD

PDR, Uni of Tokyo, Japan

R Shaw

2009-2013

PhD

Royal Society New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellow and Lecturer, University of Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand

J Thom

2009-2013

PhD

PDR, Dept. Philosophy, Kings College London, UK

L Kelley

2012-2015

PDR

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow and Lecturer, Uni Exeter, UK

A Greggor

2012-2016

PhD

PDR, San Diego Zoo, USA

E Legg

2012-2018

PhD, PDR

Marie Curie Research Fellow, Uni of Trieste, Italy

K Brecht

2013-2017

PhD

PDR, Psychology Dept, Uni of Tubingen, Germany

K Davies

2013-2017

PhD

Clinical Development Manager GlaxoSmithKline, UK

S Jelbert

2016-2018

PDR

Teaching Associate, Bristol Uni, UK

J Plotnik

2011-2018

PDR

Assistant Professor at Hunter College, New York; Founder and Executive Director at Think Elephants International, Inc

S Samuels

2015-2018

PDR

Senior Research Officer, University of Essex

M Boeckle

2016-2018

PDR

Psychotherapist, Austria; Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, Karl Landsteiner Private University, Austria

L Ostojic

2008-2019

PhD, PDR

Researcher in Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education, Sweden

R Crosby

2015-2019

PhD

Analyst at Costello Medical, Cambridge, UK

A Frohnwieser

2018-2020

PDR

Research Administrator, Uni of Cambridge, UK

C Troisi

2018

PDR

PDR, Uni of Ghent, Belgium

L Baciadonna

2018-2020

PDR

PDR, Uni of Turin, Italy

A Vernouillet

2019-2020

PDR

PDR, Uni of Ghent, Belgium

M Cabrera

2019-2020

PDR

PDR, Fish Ethology and Welfare Group, Centro de Ciencias do Mar, Portugal

P Amodio

2016-2020

PhD

Leverhulme Trust SAS Fellow & PDR, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Italy

P Billard

2017-2020

PhD

Recently completed PhD

M Loconsole 2019-2020 PhD Visiting PhD student, Università degli Studi di Padova

    Collaborators

    Professor Ian Apperley, University of Birmingham
    Professor Cristina Atance, University of Ottawa
    Mr Mark Baldwin, Artistic Director, Rambert Dance Company

    Dr Lucy Cheke, University of Cambridge
    Dr Nathan Emery, Queen Mary University of London
    Professor Alison Gopnik, University of California at Berkeley
    Professor Russell Gray, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena
    Professor Paul Hatchett, Emerson College
    Dr Robert Lurz, Brooklyn College, CUNY
    Professor Andrew Meltzoff, University of Washington
    Dr Alex Taylor, University of Auckland Dr Nishant Kumar, Wildlife Institute of India and the Edward Grey Institute at Oxford University

     

    Comparative Cognition Lab.