I completed a BSc in Behavioural Science at Nottingham University in 1998, then went on to receive my PhD in Zoology from Cambridge University in 2003. Following a career break, I began a Royal Society Dorothy Hoddgkin Fellowship in 2006, based in the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution at St Andrews University. I continued this fellowship here in the Department of Anthropology before becoming a lecturer in 2012.
I am interested in social learning and behavioural innovation in a range of species from fish to apes to humans. My approach emphasises the importance of maintaining ecological validity, the integration of empirical and theoretical work and application to animal welfare and conservation.
My current research is concerned with (i) developing methods to identify traditions in the wild, (ii) investigating social learning strategies in animals (including humans), and (iii) understanding why non-human primates appear to lack cumulative culture; all with a view to understanding their implications for the evolution of human culture. I have worked with, or am currently working with, laboratory populations of fish (guppies, mollies and sticklebacks) , captive (callitrichids, capuchins, lemurs, chimpanzees, Barbary macaques), and wild (lemurs, capuchins) nonhuman primates, as well as children.