PhD Scholarship in Sociality and Cognition in Carrion Crows, Valladolid University, Spain

A four-year funded PhD studentship is available at the University of Valladolid to investigate the relationship between sociality and cognition in carrion crows. Recent investigation on different corvid species has revealed surprisingly advanced cognitive abilities that sometimes rival those of non-human primates. In some species the individuals proved to possess the “theory of mind”, that is the ability of attribute mental states and intentions to other individuals, and to modify their own behaviour according to the intentions attributed to others.

Sociality is though to be a key factor promoting the evolution of intelligence, which appears to be more advanced in species that live in stable groups. However, the adaptive function of intelligence in these species is not yet clear, as it is not fully known how these cognitive abilities are used in nature, what kind of problems they contribute to solve, and how they influence individual decisions in a changing social environment. We intend to address questions about social environment, cognitive abilities, adaptive function of intelligence and cooperative solution of problems in carrion crows kept in captivity.

Supervisors: Dr Vittorio Baglione (University of Valladolid); Dr Daniela Canestrari (University of Granada).

Requisites for applicants
Bachelor degree in Biology, Natural Sciences, Psychology
Master degree or related title (e.g. obtained through a 2 years program of research or specialization)
Good knowledge of English (certified through an official examination like IELTS, TOEFL, or similar)
Aptitude of working in a group, and capability of developing an independent research line

How to Apply
Send us an email to info[ at ]cooperativecrows.com, explaining the reasons for applying as PhD student in our project, research interests, and previous experience.

Please include: A complete CV with indication of the requisites stated above; two presentation letters from former professors or employers; a research project of maximum 2 A4 sheets, written in English.

The deadline for applications is 30/10/2008

More information at www.cooperativecrows.com