I conducted my PhD thesis on teaching behaviour in primates and birds.
Although social learning is common, teaching behaviour in animals is much more rare. There are some species that fit some but not all of the criteria for teaching, and in most of those cases it is not known whether the pupil learns. For my PhD I focused on the social learning aspect in three potential teaching contexts: food transfers and food-offering calls in wild golden lion tamarins and maternal display in domestic fowls. In two of these contexts I also attempted to replicate previous findings that (allo)parents modify their behaviour to promote learning in their offspring.
Through this project, I have also started learning Bayesian modelling in order to create dynamic models investigating the mechanisms underlying the learning in the pupil and facilitate the detection of teaching in the wild.
Zebra finches use social information when deciding what food patch to forage on. I designed an experiment to investigate the decision of zebra finches when given two different social information, and I looked at their social learning strategies.
I have also worked on a project led by Teresa Romero and Leanne Proops, looking at social behaviour of pet rats.
I have worked on several project involving cognition, mainly looking at how socio-environmental factors, and individual differences affect learning and cognitive performance, in mammals and birds.
I have just started a postdoc looking at the causes and consequences of individual variation in great tit cognition, at University College Cork, Ireland. More to follow soon...