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Nicky Clayton

Professor of Comparative Cognition

The Life Scientific

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More about Nicky Clayton

Professor of Comparative Cognition at the University of Cambridge and fellow of The Royal Society, Nicky Clayton says intelligence in birds like crows and jays developed quite separately from that of apes and humans. She says her work with birds can help illuminate young children's activities and how their brains develop. Nicky is also passionate about dance and is the scientist in residence at the Rambert Dance Company.

An obsession with birds

"You only have to look in the beedy eye, and see them watching you. It's really quite remarkable."

Defining animal intelligence

"What I have to do is make sure that we design carefully controlled experiments and that we decide beforehand what the particular things we're going to measure are."

Scientific method

"What the interesting questions would be and how you could go about testing those."

Intelligence and empathy

What conditions promote the development of intelligence in species, and are we the only species to be able to empathise with others?

The two cultures

"I think she mediates between the academic world of science and its public image of something being behind closed doors, in white coats, inaccessible. I think she brushes that aside." (Mark Baldwin, Artistic Director of Rambert Dance Company)


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