Professor Alex Kacelnik, FRS

Research Interests

I am interested in decision-making from the joint perspectives of evolutionary biology, ecology, comparative cognition, and economic theory. My colleagues and I are currently working on three main streams, namely information seeking in rats, problem solving by parrots and semi-autonomous robots, and behavioural strategies by brood parasitic cowbirds.


Selected Publications

Weir, A. A. S., Chappell, J. and Kacelnik, A. (2002) Shaping of hooks in New Caledonian crows. Science, 297, 981.

Kenward, B., Weir, A.A.S. Rutz, C. & Kacelnik, A., (2005) Tool manufacture by naive juvenile crows. Nature 433: 121

Marsh, B. and Kacelnik, A. (2002). Framing effects and risky decisions in starlings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.99, 3352-3355

Pompilio, L., Kacelnik, A., & Behmer. S.T. (2006) State-Dependent Learned Valuation Drives Choice in an Invertebrate. Science. 311: 1613-1615

Rutz, C., Bluff, L.A., Weir, A.A.S., & Kacelnik, A. (2007) Video Cameras on Wild Birds. Science. 318: 765203.            

Antone Martinho III* and Alex Kacelnik. Ducklings imprint on the relational concept of “same or different”. Science 353, 286 (2016). Doi: 10.1126/science.aaf4247.

Scardamaglia, R. C., Fiorini V.D. A. Kacelnik, and J. C. Reboreda (2017). Planning host exploitation through prospecting visits by parasitic cowbirds.  Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2017) 71:23 DOI 10.1007/s00265-016-2250-8 

von Bayern A, Danel S, Auersperg A, Mioduszewska B, and Kacelnik A Compound tool construction by New Caledonian crows, Nature Scientific Reports. (2018) 8:15676 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-33458-

Ojeda, A. Murphy R., and Kacelnik A. (2018). Paradoxical choice in rats: subjective valuation and mechanism of choice. Behavioural Processes (2018) 152:73-80. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2018.03.024. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

Sasaki T, Pratt S and Kacelnik A (2018) Parallel vs. comparative evaluation of alternative options by colonies and individuals of the ant Temnothorax rugatulus.

Versace E, Martinho-Truswell A, Kacelnik A, and  Vallortigara G (2018) Priors in Animal and Artificial Intelligence: Where does learning begin? Trends in Cognitive Sciences (

List of site pages