In our lab, we take a comparative approach to the study of cognition and biology. We use behavioural, neurophysiological, and naturalistic techniques to study important cognitive processes like spatial navigation and sociality. By studying a wide-variety of species, we aim to better understand the brain, behaviour, and evolution.

Spatial Cognition

Spatial cognition refers to how an individual encodes the properties of its environment in order to orient and navigate. This is an essential ability for ambulatory animals (including humans) to locate food, mates, and home. Our lab studies what stimuli are important for re-orientation and navigation and how the preferential use of these stimuli change across species, age, and sex. We explore the biological and cognitive mechanisms underlying this ability, and what they mean for theories of navigation. Some examples of the kinds of research questions related to spatial cognition that we ask in our lab are:

Social Cognition

Living in large social groups has traditionally been thought to be the primary evolutionary precursor to complex cognitive abilities. This assumption was based on the impressive cognitive abilities of social living species. However, rarely have non-social species been studied. Our lab investigates how the sociality of a species influences the behaviour and cognitive abilities of our study species. Work conducted on this topic in our lab has included:

Canine Cognition

Dogs are an integral aspect of many people’s lives. Indeed, dogs have evolved side-by-side with humans for tens of thousands of years. Therefore, our understanding of canine cognition is applicable to all who interact daily with dogs. In particular our laboratory is interested in: