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Department of Psychology


My research concerns the mechanism by which the brain creates, maintains and manipulates representations of events that are not currently available to perception. These representations can take many forms: they can be memories of veridical past events (“episodic memory”), conceptualisations of potential future events (“episodic foresight”), or simulations of unobservable physical or psychological mechanisms (“causal reasoning”/ “state-attribution”).

 My current research focusses on the hypothesised bidirectional relationship between memory and obesity. There is accumulating evidence that obesity is associated with damage to areas within the brain’s “core recollection network” that is known to be crucial for memory, and for event representation more generally. These findings are concerning in their own right, but rendered more so by evidence that memory may play a key role in the regulation of consumption, and that memory deficits may interfere with this process.


Key publications: 

Cheke LG, Bonnici HM, Clayton NS & Simons JS (2017) Obesity and insulin resistance are associated with reduced activity in core memory regions of the brain Neuropsychologia, 96, 137-149.

Davidson G, Miller R, Loissel E, Cheke LG, Clayton NS (2017) The development of support intuitions and object causality in juvenile Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) Scientific Reports, 7.

Miller R, Jelbert SA, Taylor AH, Cheke LG, Gray RD, Loissel E, Clayton NS (2016) Performance in Object-Choice Aesop’s Fable Tasks Are Influenced by Object Biases in New Caledonian Crows but not in Human Children PloS one 11 (12), e0168056

Hoffman M, Cheke LG & Clayton NS (2016) Western Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma californica) solve multiple-string problems by the spatial relation of string and reward. Anim Cogn (2016). doi:10.1007/s10071-016-1018-x

Cheke LG, Simons JS & Clayton NS (2015) Higher BMI is associated with episodic memory deficits in young adults. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 1-24 

Cheke, LG (2016) What-Where-When memory and encoding strategies in healthy aging, Learning & Memory, 23: 121-126

Taylor AH, Cheke LG, Waismeyer A, Meltzoff A, Miller R, Gopnik A, Clayton NS & Gray RD (2015) No conclusive evidence that corvids can create novel causal Interventions Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282 (1813), 20150796

Cheke LG & Clayton NS (2015) The six blind-men and the elephant: Are episodic memory tasks tests of different things, or different tests of the same thing? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2015.03.006

Ostojic Lj, Legg EW, Shaw RC, Cheke LG, Mendl MT & Clayton NS (2014) Can male Eurasian jays disengage from their own current desire to feed the female what she wants? Biology Letters, 10(3), 20140042.

Jelbert SA, Taylor AH, Cheke LG, Clayton NS & Gray RD (2014) Using the Aesop's fable paradigm to investigate causal understanding of water displacement by New Caledonian crows. PLoS ONE 9.3: e92895.

Taylor AH, Cheke LG, Waismeyer A, Meltzoff A, Miller R, Gopnik A, Clayton NS & Gray RD (2014) Of babies and birds: Complex tool behaviours are not sufficient for the evolution of the ability to create a novel causal intervention. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281 (1787): 20140837.

MacLean EL, Hare B, Nunn CL, Addessi E, Amici F, Anderson RC, Aureli F, Baker JM, Bania AE, Barnard AM, Boogert NJ, Brannon EM, Bray EE, Bray J, Brent LJN, Burkart JM, Call J, Cantlon JF, Cheke LG, Clayton NS, Delgado MM, DiVincenti LJ, Fujita K, Herrmann E, Hiramatsu C, Jacobs LF, Jordan KE, Laude JR, Leimgruber KL, Messer EJE, de A.Moura AC, Ostojic Lj, Picard A, Platt ML, Plotnik JM, Range FR, Reader SM, Reddy RB, Sandel AA, Santos LR, Schumann K, Seed AM, Sewall KB, Shaw RC, Slocombe KE, Su Y, Takimoto A, Tan J, Tao R, van Schaik CP, Virányi Z, Visalberghi E, Wade JC, Watanabe A, Widness J, Young J, Zentall TR & Zhao Y (2014) The evolution of self-control. PNAS 111 (20), E2140-E2148.

Ostojic Lj, Shaw RC, Cheke LG & Clayton NS (2013) Evidence suggesting that desire-state attribution may govern food sharing in Eurasian jays . PNAS, 110 (10), 4123-4128.

Cheke, LG & Clayton, NS. (2013) Do different tests of episodic memory produce consistent results in human adults? Learning & Memory, 20(9), 491-498.

Cheke LG, Loissel E & Clayton NS (2012) How do children learn Aesop’s fable? PLoS ONE e40574

Cheke LG & Clayton NS (2012) Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) overcome their current desires to anticipate two distinct future needs and plan for them appropriately. Biology Letters. 8(2),  171-175.

Ziauddeen H, Chamberlain SR, Nathan PJ, Koch A, Napolitano A, Bush M, Cheke LG, Clayton NS, Tao WX, Miller S, Dodds CM, Maltby K, Skeggs AL, Brooke AC, Richards DB, Fletcher P, Bullmore ET (2012) Effects of the mu opioid receptor antagonist GSK1521498 on hedonic and consummatory behaviour: A proof of mechanism study in binge eating obese subjects. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(12), 1287-1293

Cheke LG, Bird CD & Clayton NS (2011) Tool use and instrumental learning in the Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius), Animal Cognition, 14(3):441-55

Russell J, Cheke LG, Meltzoff AN & Clayton NS (2011) What can What-Where-When (WWW) binding tasks tell us about young children's episodic future thinking? Theory and two experiments. Cognitive Development,  26(4): 356-370

Cheke LG, Thom JM & Clayton NS (2011) Prospective decision making in animals: A potential role for intertemporal choice in the study of prospective cognition in Bar M (Ed.) Predictions in the Brain; Using our part to Generate a Future. OUP

Cheke LG & Clayton NS (2010) Mental time travel in animals, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews, Cognitive Science, 1(6):  915–930

University Lecturer
Director of Studies for Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, Sidney Sussex College

Contact Details

Department of Psychology
Downing Street
+44 (0)1223 (3)39549 (Department)
Person keywords: 
cognitive development
associative learning
cognitive neuroscience
episodic memory and episodic foresight
healthy cognitive ageing
Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy