Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Newcastle

My research interests fall broadly into the areas of learning and cognition. I am particularly interested in understanding how animals solve ecologically relevant problems they encounter in the wild. In my comparative cognition lab, we use the Indian mynah, a highly invasive and urbanized social songbird, to explore the mechanisms of social learning.

Mynahs are also remarkably innovative in the foraging context, so they provide the opportunity to explore relationships between foraging innovation, ecological success and urbanization using both captive and field experimental approaches. We are also comparing the performance of mynahs to a variety of other native and non native Australian bird species. Our findings provide important information into the cognitive and ecological attributes of a highly invasive avian species.

As such, they allow us to test theoretical models of animal cognition, but also to inform the development of wildlife management strategies for avian pests. Finally, my work in comparative cognition extends to humans, since together social psychologist, Dr Stefania Paolini (School of Psychology, University of Newcastle), I am exploring the role of individual and social learning in the development of intergroup anxiety. For more details, go to

Publications In International Peer-Reviewed Journals
1. Griffin, A.S. & Guez, D. (In press). Unravelling the key to innovative problem solving: A test of learning versus persistence. Behavioral Ecology.
2. Griffin, A. S. (In press). Innovativeness as an emergent property: A new alignment of comparative and experimental research on animal innovation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
3. Tebbich, S., Griffin, A. S., Peschl, M., & Sterelny, K. (In press). From mechanisms to function: an integrated framework of animal innovation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
4. Griffin, A. S., & Guez, D. (In press). Bridging the gap between cross-taxon and within-species analyses of behavioural innovations in birds: Making sense of discrepant cognition-innovation relationships and the role of motor diversity. Advances in the Study of Behavior.
5. Griffin, A. S., Healy, S. D., & Guillette, L. M. (2015). Cognition and personality: An analysis of an emerging field. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 30, 207–214.
6. Diquelou, M., Sol, D., & Griffin, A. S. (2015). The role of motor diversity in foraging innovations: a cross-species comparison in urban birds. Behavioral Ecology. doi:10.1093/beheco/arv190.
7. Paolini, S., Harris, N. C. & Griffin, A. S. (2015). Learning anxiety in interactions with the outgroup: Towards a learning model of anxiety and stress in intergroup contact. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. doi: 10.1177/1368430215572265.
8. Griffin, A.S. & Diquelou, M. C. (2015). Innovative problem solving in birds: A cross-species comparison on two highly successful Passerines. Animal Behaviour, 100, 84-94.
9. Griffin, A. S. & Guez, D. (2014). Innovation and problem solving: a review of common mechanisms. Behavioural Processes. Special issue on Animal cognition in the Wild. Eds S. Healy & C Rowe.
10. Griffin, A. S., Diquelou, M. & Perea, M. (2014). Innovative problem solving in birds: A key role of motor diversity. Animal Behaviour,
11. Griffin, A. S., Guez, D., Lermite, F. & Patience, M. 2013. Tracking Changing Environments: Innovators Are Fast, but Not Flexible Learners. PLOS One, 8, e84907.
12. Griffin, A. S., Lermite, F. Perea, M. Guez, D. (2013). To innovate or not: contrasting effects of social groupings on safe and risky foraging in mynahs. Animal Behaviour, 86: 1291-1300. Journal impact factor: 3.068.
13. Sol, D., Bartomeus, I., Griffin, A. S. (2012). The paradox of invasion in birds: Competitive superiority or ecological opportunisim? Oecologia, 169: 553-564. Journal impact factor:
14. Sol, D., Griffin, A. S., Bartomeus, I. Boyce, H. M. (2012). Consumer and motor innovation in the invasive common myna: the role of motivation and emotional responses. Animal Behaviour, 83: 179-188. Journal impact factor: 3.101.
15. Overington, S. E. Griffin, A. S., Sol, D. & Lefebvre, L. (2011) Are innovative species ecological generalists? A test in North American birds. Behavioral Ecology, 22: 1286-1293. Journal impact factor: 2.926. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arr130.
16. Sol, D., Griffin, A. S., Bartomeus, I. (2011). Exploring or avoiding novel food resources? The novelty conflict in an invasive bird. PLOS ONE, 6, e19535. Journal impact factor: 4.411.
17. Griffin, A. S. & Haythorpe, K. (2011). Learning from watching demonstrators in alarm: Does the cause of alarm matter? Animal Behaviour, 81, 1162-1169. Journal impact factor: 3.101.
18. Griffin, A. S., Boyce, H. M. & MacFarlane, G. R. (2010). Social learning about places: observers may need to detect both social alarm and its cause in order to learn. Animal Behaviour, 79, 459-465. Journal impact factor: 2.7.
19. Griffin, A. S. & Boyce, H. M. (2009). Indian mynahs, Acridotheres tristis, learn about dangerous places by observing the fate of others. Animal Behaviour. 78, 79-84. Journal impact factor: 2.7.
20. Griffin, A. S. (2009). Temporal limitations on social learning of novel predators by Indian mynahs, Acridotheres tristis. Ethology, 115, 287-295. Journal impact factor: 2.25.
21. Griffin, A. S. (2008) Social learning about predators: is it just Pavlovian conditioning? Brain Research Bulletin, 78, 264-271. Journal impact factor: 1.7.
22. Griffin, A. S. (2008). Social learning in Indian mynahs, Acridotheres tristis: the role of distress calls. Animal Behaviour, 75, 79-89. Journal impact factor: 2.7
23. Griffin, A. S., Savani, R. S., Hausmanis, K., & Lefebvre, L. (2005). Mixed species aggregations in birds: zenaida doves (Zenaida auritus) respond to the alarm calls of carib grackles (Quiscalus lugubris). Animal Behaviour, 70 507-515. Journal impact factor: 2.7.
24. Griffin, A. S., & Galef, B. G., Jr (2005). Social learning about predators: does timing matter? Animal Behaviour, 69, 669-678. Journal impact factor: 2.7.
25. Griffin, A. S. (2004). Social learning about predators: a review and prospectus. Learning and Behavior, 32. 131-140. Journal impact factor: 1.9.
26. Griffin, A. S. (2003). Training tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) to respond to predators: A review linking experimental Psychology to Conservation. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 16, 111-129.
27. Griffin, A. S., & Evans, C. S. (2003a). Social learning of antipredator behaviour in a marsupial. Animal Behaviour, 66, 485-492. Journal impact factor: 2.7.
28. Griffin, A. S., & Evans C. S. (2003b). The role of differential reinforcement in predator avoidance learning. Behavioural Processes, 61, 87-94. Journal impact factor: 1.5.
29. Griffin, A. S., Evans C. S., & Blumstein, D. T. (2002). Selective learning in a marsupial. Ethology, 108, 1103-1114. Journal impact factor: 2.25.
30. Blumstein, D. T., Mari, M., Daniel, J. C., Ardron, J. C. Griffin, A. S., & Evans, C. S. (2002). Olfactory predator recognition: wallabies may have to learn to be wary. Animal Conservation, 5, 87-93. Journal impact factor: 1.9.
31. Griffin, A. S., Evans C.S., & Blumstein, D. T. (2001). Learning specificity in acquired predator recognition. Animal Behaviour, 62, 577-589. Journal impact factor: 2.7.
32. Blumstein, D. T., Daniel, J. C., Griffin, A. S., & Evans, C. S. (2000). Insular tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) respond to visual but not acoustic cues from predators. Behavioral Ecology, 11, 528-535. Journal impact factor: 3.1.
33. Griffin, A. S., Blumstein, D. T. & Evans C. S. (2000). Training captive-bred or translocated animals about predators. Conservation Biology, 14, 1317-1326. Journal impact factor: 3.8.
34. Griffin, A. S., & Etienne, A. S. (1998). Updating the path integrator through a visual fix. Psychobiology, 26, 240-248.
35. Etienne, A. S., Maurer, R., Berlie, J., Derivaz, V., Georgakopoulos, J., Griffin, A. S., & Rowe, T. (1998). Cooperation between dead reckoning (path integration) and external position cues. Journal of Navigation, 51, 23-34. Journal impact factor: 0.5.

Chapters In Edited Books

1. Griffin, A.S. & Guez, D. (In press). Solving innovative foraging problems: What top-down and down-up research can and can’t tell us about the role of cognition. In: Avian Cognition (Eds C. ten Cate & S. D. Healy), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Griffin, A. S. & Guez, D. (In press). The innovative bird: Contextual determinants and underpinning mechanisms of innovative foraging. In: Animal Cognition (Ed M. Olmstead). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
3. Griffin, A. S., Guez, D., Federspiel, I., Diquelou, M. & Lermite, F. (In press). Invading new environments: A mechanistic framework linking motor diversity and cognitive processes to invasion success. In: Biological Invasions and Behaviour (Eds D. Sol & J. S. Weis). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
4. Griffin, A. S. (2010). Learning and Conservation. (Ed. M. Breed & J. Moore). In: Encyclopedia of Animal Behaviour. Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 259-264
5. Etienne, A. S., Maurer, R., Georgakopoulos, J., & Griffin, A. S. (1999). Dead reckoning (Path integration), landmarks, and representation of space in a comparative perspective. In: Wayfinding behavior. Cognitive mapping and other spatial processes (Ed. R. G. Golledge). Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. pp. 197-228.

Other publications

1. Peneaux, C., & Griffin, A. S. (2015). Opportunistic observations of travel distances in common mynas (Acridotheres tristis). Canberra Bird Notes, 40, 228-234.


  • 2009–present
    Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Newcastle
  • 2006–2010
    Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Newcastle
  • 2002–2004
    Swiss National Foundation for Scientific Research Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University
  • 2001–2002
    Researcher, Cooperative Research Centre for the Conservation and Management of Marsupials, Macquarie University


  • 2002 
    Macquarie University, PhD/Psychology
  • 1996 
    University of Geneva, MSc/Psychology
  • 1994 
    University of Lausanne, BSc/Biology