Lizzie Speechley

Miss, Doctor of Philosophy Student

  • The University of Western Australia (M092), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Despite over a century of investigation and widespread interest, the evolution of cognition is still an intensely debated field of research. The social intelligence hypothesis suggests that cognitive evolution is driven by the demands of living in complex social groups. Previous research on the Western Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis) has revealed strong support for the social intelligence hypothesis, finding a robust association between group size and cognition, with individuals living in larger groups exhibiting increased cognitive performance compared to those in smaller groups. However, as a proxy for social complexity, group size does not capture the number, frequency and directionality of intragroup interactions. Therefore, the mechanisms underpinning this group size-cognition relationship remain unclear. 

My research uses cognitive testing and social network analysis to investigate whether the group size-cognition relationship found in the Western Australian magpie is driven by the complexity of intragroup interactions.


Education/Academic qualification

Zoology, BSc (Honours), Female guppies (Poecilia reticulata) increase their propensity for polyandry as an inbreeding avoidance strategy, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 28 Jul 2018

Research expertise keywords

  • Animal Communication
  • Animal Cognition
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Cooperation


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