School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice


Research staff and students

 

Students

Felipe Medina (PhD)
Primary Supervisor: Prof Russell Gray
FMHS 502-292
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 85136
Email: fmed002@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: Cognition and neuroanatomy of New Caledonian crows
My PhD research combines both behavioural and neurobiological approaches to understanding the evolution of New Caledonian crows' tool manufacturing and using skills. The behavioural work involved conducting cognitive experiments with captive crows on the island of Maré. I am currently studying the neuroanatomical underpinnings of New Caledonian crows' tool skills and trying to identify specific regions involved in this remarkable behaviour.


Kieron Mottley (PhD)

Primary Supervisor: Prof Russell Gray
Room HSB 325
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 85969
Email: kmot007@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: Outcomes of meta-level behaviour and awareness in animals and humans
I am investigating the role of meta-level processes in the differentiation of self and other in the New Caledonian crow and human infants. I am also interested in the interactions between self and other when represented as agents in collaboration and competition. In crows, my projects include measuring the effect of auditory cues in mirror self-recognition and performance in games using complexity and economic theory. In infants, I am looking at the degree to which contingency cues affect mirror self-recognition and the development of understanding of collaboration as seen through the sharing of intentions and goals.


Puja Singh (MA)

Primary Supervisor: Prof Russell Gray
Room HSB 325
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 85969
Email: psin076@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: Can New Caledonian crows solve a cooperative task?
Varying degrees of social complexity is thought to be positively correlated with the development of socio-cognitive abilities in humans and primates. I am extending this idea to birds. My research focuses on the evolution of social cognition in New Caledonian crows. I am investigating cooperation and how it is manifested in this species from an adaptive perspective. For example, if individuals cooperate they should keep track of their payoffs in relation to those of the crows that they cooperate with. Therefore we might expect to see inequity aversion, which is considered to be one of the key characteristics of cooperation.


Brenna Knaebe (PhD)
Primary Supervisor: Prof Russell Gray
Room HSB 648
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 87871
Email: bkna124@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: Physical cognition, delay of gratification, and future planning in the New Caledonian crow.
Given that New Caledonian crows are proficient tool users and manufacturers, the question arises as to what exactly they understand about the physical world. Is their success at dealing with objects and object interactions specific to their behavioral repertoire or do they possess a more general understanding of the physical world? I am also interested in whether their interaction with tools (either evolutionarily speaking or through the result of an individual’s life history) has altered their delay of gratification or future planning abilities.

Alumni

Dr Jennifer Holzhaider
Email: jenny.holzhaider@gmail.com