LECTURE CANCELLATION (Page updated 5 December 2016)
Please note that due to a personal emergency for the speaker, she is unable to deliver the lecture this week. It will be rescheduled sometime in 2017 and details will be added to this page. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
The 2016 3rd Annual Plymouth Animal Behaviour Lecture (the event alternates each year between Behaviour and Welfare themes) has guest speaker Professor Nicola Clayton of the University of Cambridge, where she is Professor of Comparative Cognition in Psychology and a Fellow of the Royal Society. Her scientific background is in behavioural ecology and comparative and developmental psychology, and current research focuses on the development and evolution of cognition in corvids, and comparisons between corvids and young children.
Nicky is also a dancer and Scientist-in-Residence at Rambert, one of the UK's most renowned touring dance companies. Together with her tango partner, Clive Wilkins, who is Artist-in-Residence in Psychology at Cambridge, she created The Captured Thought, which explores the subjective experience of thinking, with and without words.
Professor Clayton's lecture will cover some of the recent work on the remarkable cognitive capacities of food-caching corvids. The focus will be on their ability to think about other minds and other times, and tool-using tests of physical problem solving. Research on developmental cognition suggests that young children do not pass similar tests until they are at least four years of age in the case of the social cognition experiments, and 8 years of age in the case of the tasks that tap into physical cognition. This developmental trajectory seems surprising. Future research will hope to identify these cognitive milestones by starting to develop tasks that might go some way towards understanding the mechanisms underlying these abilities in both children and corvids, to explore similarities and differences in their ways of thinking.