Research themes

Value perception

Prospect theory curve overlaying ants

Humans value things depending on their expectations. Ants have a similar value judgement system. They can save a series of values in their memory, and compare their experiences to them, in order to evaluate an experience

 

Consumer behaviour

Expectation disconfirmation in ants

Humans like things such as consumer goods more or less depending on whether they fulfil their expectations. The same holds true for ants. This could have implications for how colonies exploit their environment

Comparative psychology

Lasius niger T maze

It is natural to assume that small-brained insects are not capable of complex cognition, but this assumption may be wrong. Can insects learn concepts like 'the same' and 'different'? Can they evaluate their own memories? Do they use heuristics?

Information use

Lasius niger ants and beads experiment

We have many sources of information available to us, such as personal information, friends' opinions, and advertisements. Social insects often have access to multiple information sources. We ask how these are used adaptivly.

Agent-based modelling

Once we have learned the rules individual ants follow, we want to know how this affects the colony as a whole. Using agent-based models, we explore how individual ant complexity results in adaptive colony-level behaviours.

Other projects

ant toilet

New projects are always catching our interest, from web-building location choice in spiders to where ants choose to defecate. If it's interesting behavioural ecology, we'll study it!

last updated:  02.07.2019

A small ant nest with a toilet. The ants were fed blue-coloured food.