Dr Lara Wood

Lecturer

School School of Social and Health Sciences

Department Division of Psychology

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8583

Biography

I’m a Lecturer in the Division of Psychology, specialising in Developmental, Evolutionary, Comparative and Social Psychology.

Before joining the University of Abertay in 2016, I held a three-year Senior Research Fellowship at the University of St Andrews, based at Edinburgh Zoo, which involved working with capuchin and squirrel monkeys.

I completed my undergraduate Psychology degree at the University of Sussex and my masters and PhD at Durham University which focused on social learning mechanisms and strategies in children and chimpanzees.

My research is focused on social cognition in primate species - including humans. I take a developmental and comparative approach to try and understand the evolution of social cognition, and uniquely human forms of social cognition.

I peer review manuscripts for international and national journals including the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology and the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. I am a member of the Scottish Primate Research Group and the Primate Society of Great Britain.

I am the University's Lead Voice for the protected characterisitc of pregnancy. Please feel free to conact me regarding this. 

Personal Website: https://larawood.wordpress.com/

 

I teach on the following modules:

PSY310: Cultural Evolution of human Behaviour (Module Leader)
PSY507: Developmental and Social Psychology (MSc, Module leader)

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

My research is focused on social cogntion in a number of primate species, including humans. I take a developmental and comparative approach to try and understand the evolution of social cognition, and uniquely human forms of social cognition. 

Particular areas of interest include:

  • Investigating social traditions in primate species
  • Understanding the mechanisms of social learning and species' differences
  • Social learning strategies, their development and their flexibility 
  • Pro-social behaviour, altruism and cooperation in primates
  • Primate captive welfare

2018

Watson, S.K., Vale, G.L., Hopper, L.M., Dean, L.G., Kendal, R.L., Price, E.E., Wood, L.A., Davis, S.J., Schapiro, S.J., Lambeth, S.P. and Whiten, A., 2018. Chimpanzees demonstrate individual differences in social information use. Animal Cognition, pp.1-12.

2017

Wood, L. A., & Whiten, A. (2017). Visible spatial contiguity of social information and reward affects social learning in brown capuchins (Sapajus apella) and children (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 131(4), 304.

Wood, L. A., & Whiten, A. (2017). Social Traditions. In International Encyclopedia of Primatology, Wiley.

Lucas, A. J., Burdett, E. R. R., Burgess, V., Wood. L.A., McGuigan, N., Harris, P. L. & Whiten, A. (2017). The development of selective copying: children’s learning from an expert versus their mother. Child Development.

Polgár, Z, Wood, L. A., & Haskell, M. J. (2017). Individual Differences in Zoo-housed Squirrel Monkeys’ (Saimiri sciureus) Reactions to Visitors, Research Participation, and Personality Ratings. American Journal of Primatology.  

2016

Wood, L. A., Harrison, R. A., Lucas, A. J., Mcguigan, N., Burdett, E. R. R., & Whiten, A. (2016). “Model age-based” and “copy when uncertain” biases in children’s social learning of a novel task. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 150 272- 284. 

Burdett, E. R. R, Lucas, A. J., Buchsbaum, D., McGuigan, N., Wood, L. A., & Whiten, A. (2016). Do children copy an expert or a majority? Examining selective learning in instrumental and normative contexts. PLOS ONE. 

Price, E. E, Wood, L. A., & Whiten, A. (2016). Adaptive cultural transmission biases in children and nonhuman primates. Infant Behavior & Development. 

2015
Wood, L. A., Kendal, R. L., & Flynn, E. G. (2015). Does a peer model’s task proficiency influence children’s solution choice and innovation? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 139, 190-202. 

2013
Wood, L. A., Kendal, R. L., & Flynn, E. G. (2013). Whom do children copy? Model-based biases in social learning. Developmental Review, 33(4), 341-356. 

Wood, L. A., Kendal, R. L., & Flynn, E. G. (2013). Copy me or copy you? The effect of prior experience on social learning. Cognition, 127(2), 203-213. 

2012
Wood, L. A., Kendal, R. L., & Flynn, E. G. (2012). Context-dependent model-based biases in cultural transmission: Children’s imitation is affected by model age over model knowledge state. Evolution and Human Behavior,33(4), 387-394. 

2010
Hopper, L. M., Flynn, E. G., Wood, L. A., & Whiten, A. (2010). Observational learning of tool use in children: Investigating cultural spread through diffusion chains and learning mechanisms through ghost displays. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 106(1), 82-97. 

More Information

Funding

2018 Abertay Teaching & Learning Enhancement Fund: "Who's holding the baby/ An exploration of support for students who (or whose partner) are pregnant or on maternity" 

Esteem

I peer review manuscripts for international and national journals including Journal of Experimental Child Pscyhology, PLOS ONE and the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 

I am a member of the Scottish Primate Research Group and the Primate Society of Great Britain. 

Invited Speaker: Behaviour & Evolution Research Group (Stirling University); Rotary Club Dundee; Cafe Scientifique Dundee. 

Winner: Best Student Talk Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference (Durham, 2012)

Meet the rest of the team

Dr Janet McLean

Dr Janet McLean

Division of Psychology | Lecturer

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Dr Lynn Wright

Dr Lynn Wright

Division of Psychology | Senior Lecturer

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