About us

The Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution (SLaCE) brings together a unique group of researchers in the School of Biology and School of Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of St Andrews, UK, who share a distinctive set of common interests in the study of social learning, cultural evolution and cognitive evolution. Core activities include collaborative research projects, shared postgraduate training, and the organisation of workshops and conferences. Informal academic interactions take place through the regular Behaviour Discussion Group and Cognitive Journal Club meetings.

Our members conduct research on a broad range of species, including fish, birds, cetaceans, non-human primates and human beings. Fieldwork is conducted at a range of international sites and includes the studies of chimpanzee behaviour at the Budongo Forest in Uganda, hummingbirds in Canada, and whales and dolphins in oceans across the globe. Observational studies are carried out on well-maintained captive populations, for example at the Living Links to Human Evolution and Budongo Trail centres at Edinburgh Zoo. Our researchers study human behaviour in the University’s Jeeves Laboratories and child development in the University’s Baby and Child Lab, plus at a range of public science venues.

All research is conducted in accordance with the ethical guidelines laid down by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour and the British Psychological Society. Our research has been supported by a broad range of organisations, including UK research councils (e.g., BBSRC, NERC, ESRC), European funders (e.g., ERC, Fyssen Foundation, Swiss National Science Foundation), charities (e.g., John Templeton Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Wellcome Trust), academic organisations (e.g., Royal Society, Wenner-Gren Foundation) and other funders (e.g., Chief Scientist’s Office, PPP Childcare Trust, Australian Research Council).

Download SLaCE poster