Wednesday 27 April 2016

Episode 18 - Emma Tecwyn

Emma Tecwyn is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Daphna Buchsbaum’s Computational Cognitive Development Lab in the department of psychology at the University of Toronto (which is the school I went to, thus making Emma the coolest guest so far on the show). She does research in the overlapping areas of comparative cognition and cognitive development to answer questions about the evolution and development of cognitive abilities. 

Emma and a friend
Emma has a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Birmingham, UK. During her undergraduate degree she spent a year studying at the Freie Universitat in Berlin, Germany, where she took classes in animal behaviour and primatology, which sparked her interest in animal cognition. She subsequently obtained an MSc in Animal Behaviour from Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, where she did research on grazing interactions between wild and domestic herbivores on a Kenyan game reserve. She later returned to Birmingham to complete her PhD on great ape physical cognition under the supervision of Jackie Chappell and Susannah Thorpe, where she focussed on whether orangutans, bonobos and children can plan sequences of actions to solve physical problems. She then spent a year in Amanda Seed’s lab at the University of St Andrews in Scotland working on causal sequence imitation and probabilistic inference in capuchin monkeys, before moving to Toronto in November 2014.

Emma’s current lines of research include physical reasoning in dogs, causal sequence imitation in dogs and toddlers, and how different species and children of different ages weight and integrate their physical knowledge and social information. 

We talked about Emma's research, about the recent Conference on Comparative Cognition, and about the GTA Animal Cognition Group, which she coordinates.  Oh and how philosophy of animal mind is a thing.

Thanks again to Red Arms for letting me mash up their music with the ending theme, buy their music now.

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