Dr Lara Wood


School School of Social and Health Sciences

Department Division of Psychology

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8583


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 teach on the following modules:

PSY201: Social psychology with Research methods 
PSY403: Social cognition across the lifespan 
PSY506: Social Psychology (MSc, Module leader)


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.  



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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Meet the rest of the team

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Dr Kenneth Scott-Brown

Division of Psychology | Senior Lecturer

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Dr George Lovell

Dr George Lovell

Division of Psychology | Lecturer

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