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Logan Group

A male great-tailed grackle drinking out of a fountain at the Santa Barbara Zoo in Santa Barbara, California USA. (Photo credit: Corina Logan)

We investigate what behavioural flexibility is and whether it is a mechanism for surviving in new environments. Behavioural flexibility, the ability to adapt behaviour to new environments and problems, is thought to play an important role in a species' ability to successfully invade. However, behavioural flexibility is rarely directly tested in species in a way that would allow us to determine how it works and how we can make predictions about a species' ability to adapt their behaviour to changing circumstances. 

Current research topics include:

  • Is behavioural flexibility manipulatable and, if so, does it improve flexibility and problem-solving in a new context?

  • Does manipulating behavioural flexibility affect exploration and neophilia?

  • Do the more flexible individuals rely more on causal cognition?

  • Are the more flexible individuals also better at inhibition?

  • Does behavioural flexibility positively correlate with the number of food types eaten and foraging techniques used in a rapidly expanding species?

  • Does flexibility trade-off with immune function, stress, and parasite loads?

Key Publications

Mikhalevich I, Powell R, Logan CJ. 2017. Is behavioural flexibility evidence of cognitive complexity? How evolution can inform comparative cognitionInterface Focus 7:20160121

Logan CJ, Kruuk L, Stanley R, Thompson A, Clutton-Brock TH. 2016. Endocranial volume is heritable and is associated with longevity and fitness in a wild mammalRoyal Society Open Science 3:160622.

Logan CJ. 2016. Behavioral flexibility and problem-solving in an invasive birdPeerJ 4:e1975. doi:10.7717/peerj.1975.

Logan CJ. 2016. How far will a behaviourally flexible invasive bird go to innovate? Royal Society Open Science 3:160247. doi:10.1098/rsos.160247.

Logan CJ. 2016. Behavioral flexibility in an invasive bird is independent of other behaviorsPeerJ 4:e2215. doi:10.7717/peerj.2215.

Full list of publications


Contact Details

Group Leader

Dr Corina Logan

Now based at

Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology