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Dr Neeltje Boogert

Dr Neeltje Boogert

Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge

Rubicon Research Fellow at the University of St. Andrews


I am an Independent Research Fellow funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of St. Andrews. I did my B.Sc. (2000-2003) and M.Sc. degrees (2003-2005) at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, my Ph.D. (2005-2010) at McGill University in Canada, and my first post-doc (2010-2012) at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. I am now a visiting Research Fellow in this Department, hosted by Nick Davies.

Research Interests

I am generally interested in the evolution of cognition and the developmental determinants of cognitive performance. Thus far I have studied quite a diverse array of topics, ranging from insect communication to bird song learning and mate choice for cognitive traits, the existence of a "general cognitive ability", to social learning and the spread of information through animal groups. I am currently focussing on how developmental factors affect (social) information use, social network positions and proxies of fitness. I greatly enjoy collaborating with researchers in the UK and abroad. I also enjoy teaching and mentoring students, and have taught courses at McGill University, Cambridge University and the University of St. Andrews.

Key Publications

Boogert, N.J., Zimmer, C. & Spencer, K.A. (2013) Pre-natal and post-natal stress affect social learning strategies, but in opposite directions. Biology Letters 9: 20121088. 

Zimmer, C., Boogert, N.J. & Spencer, K.A. (2013) Developmental programming: cumulative effects of increased pre-hatching corticosterone levels and post-hatching unpredictable food availability on physiology and behaviour in adulthood. Hormones and Behavior 64: 494-500.

Boogert, N.J., Anderson, R.C., Peters, S., Searcy, W.A. & Nowicki, S. (2011) Song repertoire size in male song sparrows correlates with detour reaching, but not with other cognitive measures. Animal Behaviour 81: 1209-1216.

Boogert, N.J., Fawcett, T.W. & Lefebvre, L. (2011) Mate choice for cognitive traits: a review of the evidence in non-human vertebrates. Behavioral Ecology 22: 447-459.

Boogert, N.J., Giraldeau, L.-A. & Lefebvre, L. (2008) Song complexity correlates with learning ability in zebra finch males. Animal Behaviour 76: 1735-1741.

Boogert, N. J., Reader, S. M., Hoppitt, W. & Laland, K. N. (2008) The origin and spread of innovations in starlings. Animal Behaviour 75: 1509-1518.

Boogert, N. J., Reader, S. M. & Laland, K. N. (2006) The relation between social rank, neophobia and individual learning in starlings. Animal Behaviour 72: 1229-1239.

Boogert, N. J., Patterson, D. M. & Laland, K. N. (2006) The implications of niche construction and ecosystem engineering for conservation biology. BioScience 56: 570-578.

Other Publications

Templeton, C.N., Laland, K.N. & Boogert, N.J. (2014) Does song complexity correlate with problem-solving performance in flocks of zebra finches? Animal Behaviour, in press.

Cauchard, L., Boogert, N.J., Lefebvre, L., Dubois, F. & Doligez, B. (2013) Problem-solving performance is correlated with reproductive success in a wild bird population. Animal Behaviour 85: 19-26.

Corfield, J.R., Birkhead, T.R., Spottiswoode, C.N., Iwaniuk, A.N., Boogert, N.J., Gutiérrez-Ibáñez, C., Overington, S.E., Wylie, D.R. & Lefebvre, L. (2013) Brain size and morphology of the brood-parasitic and cerophagous honeyguides (Aves: Piciformes). Brain, behavior and evolution 81: 170-186.

Boogert, N.J., Bui, C., Howarth, K., Giraldeau, L.-A. & Lefebvre, L. (2010) Does foraging behaviour affect female mate preferences and pair formation in captive zebra finches? PLoS ONE 5(12): e14340. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014340.

Boogert, N.J., Monceau, K. & Lefebvre, L. (2010) A field test of behavioural flexibility in Zenaida doves (Zenaida aurita). Behavioural Processes 85: 135-141.

Laland, K.N. & Boogert, N.J. (2010) Niche construction, co-evolution and biodiversity. Ecological Economics 69: 731-736.

Hoppitt W., Boogert, N.J. & Laland, K.N. (2010) Detecting social transmission in networks. Journal of Theoretical Biology 263: 544-555.

Botero, C.A., Boogert, N.J., Vehrencamp, S.L. & Lovette, I.J. (2009) Climatic patterns predict the elaboration of song displays in mockingbirds. Current Biology 19: 1-5.

Overington, S.E., Morand-Ferron J., Boogert, N.J. & Lefebvre, L. (2009) Technical innovations drive the relationship between innovativeness and residual brain size in birds. Animal Behaviour 78: 1001-1010.

Boogert, N. J., Patterson, D. M. & Laland, K. N. (2006) The implications of niche construction and ecosystem engineering for conservation biology. BioScience 56: 570-578.

Boogert, N. J., Hofstede, F. E. & Aguilar Monge, I. (2006) The use of food source scent marks by the stingless bee Trigona corvina (Hymenoptera: Apidae): the importance of the depositor's identity. Apidologie 37: 366-375.