My research interests concern the mechanisms and consequences of social living and social organisation in animals. I work with two very different study systems, examining group decision-making and social learning in the context of navigation by homing pigeons, and the emergence and maintenance of culture among wild chimpanzees. The aim of this work is to understand, through a combination of empirical and mathematical modelling approaches, how social collectives are shaped by the individuals of which they are composed.
My particular interests focus on how individuals with conflicting knowledge or preferences resolve their differences, and what information is exchanged between group members during socially-mediated learning – these are fundamental questions of group living. In addition, I also continue to undertake research on the role of vision in avian navigation (with collaborators in the departments of Zoology and Engineering Science at Oxford), developmental aspects of tool-using skills in wild chimpanzees, and symbolic and numerical cognition in captive chimpanzees (in collaboration with colleagues at the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University, Japan).