Dr Amanda Seed:
Senior Lecturer

Research Overview:
Dr Amanda Seed

Dr Amanda Seed
Psychology, St Mary's College
University of St Andrews
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JP


Related Content:

Centre for Social Learning & Cognitive Evolution
School of Psychology and Neuroscience
Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences
IBANS Animal Cognition

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I am interested in the evolution of flexible behaviour and abstract thought.  In particular I study the extent to which non-human primates and human children solve problems using object concepts and causal reasoning.  I am also interested in how other cognitive processes (such as inhibition, working memory and attention) affect individual differences in performance on problem-solving tasks.  The underlying question motivating my research is to uncover the evolutionary changes in representational and executive processes that marked the origins of uniquely human thinking.  To answer this I think we also need to find out what selective pressures caused those changes to occur.  To this end I am interested in convergent evolution of intelligence in other large-brained animals such as corvids and parrots, and comparing species to uncover common principles for the evolution of intelligence.

Current Research Projects 

Physical reasoning in primates and children 

Can primates use physical principles such as solidity or connectedness to solve problems, or are they limited to perceptual features such as spatial relationships between objects?  How does physical reasoning develop in ontogeny?  
Correlation is not causation: do primates know the difference? 

Children have been described as little scientists because of their ability to infer patterns of causation from observed events, and plan interventions to investigate and test causal relationships.  Do primates infer an underlying causal structure when they observe events (such as X caused Y which caused Z or Y was the common cause of X and Z) or are they limited to learning patterns of association without encoding causal directionality? Can they use action to explore the physical properties of objects and explain the cause of events? How do their abilities compare with those of children?


5 (of 37 /dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/status/published available) for ams18 (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

Better all by myself Sarah Gerson, Amanda Madeleine Seed
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 2020 vol. 194
Inferring unseen causes Josep Call, Amanda Madeleine Seed
Frontiers in Psychology 2020 vol. 11
Why preen others? Predictors of allopreening in parrots and corvids and comparisons to grooming in great apes Alejandra Morales Picard, Roger Mundry, Alice M. Auersperg, Emily R. Boeving, Palmyre H. Boucherie, Thomas Bugnyar, Valérie Dufour, Nathan J. Emery, Ira G. Federspiel, Gyula K. Gajdon, Jean-Pascal Guéry, Matjaž Hegedič, Lisa Horn, Eithne Kavanagh, Megan L. Lambert, Jorg J. M. Massen, Michelle A. Rodrigues, Martina Schiestl, Raoul Schwing, Birgit Szabo, Alex H. Taylor, Jayden O. van Horik, Auguste M. P. von Bayern, Amanda Madeleine Seed, Katie E. Slocombe
Ethology 2020 vol. 126 pp. 207-228
Chimpanzees flexibly update working memory contents and show susceptibility to distraction in the self-ordered search task Christoph Johannes Voelter, Roger Mundry, Josep Call, Amanda Madeleine Seed
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 2019 vol. 286
Cooperation in children Katie Slocombe, Amanda Madeleine Seed
Current Biology 2019 vol. 29 pp. R470-R473