Centre for Behaviour and Evolution

Staff Profile

Dr Bess Price



I received my PhD in Psychology from the University of St. Andrews, where I explored the cultural learning mechanisms underlying tool use and problem-solving in chimpanzees, children, and ravens. Upon completion, I undertook a National Science Foundation funded post-doctoral position at Smithsonian's National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with The George Washington University Ape Mind Initiative. There, I continued to explore my interest in cultural transmission and tool use, working with orangutans, gorillas, and children. As a lecturer at Newcastle University, I am further pursuing these themes, while also delving more deeply into the developmental and comparative study of social dynamics.



My research explores cultural transmission processes and the interplay between these processes and innovation, social dynamics, and tool use. Using an interdisciplinary approach, I explore related questions from a comparative and developmental perspective in humans, nonhuman primates, and corvids. I’m also interested in human-animal interaction and conservation education, and how public engagement with research in zoos can aid conservation efforts. I am the director of the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution’s Corvid Cognition Centre and a PI in the Institute of Neuroscience's Cognitive Development Lab.

Current PhD students:

Ms. Jennifer Machin

Ms. Victoria West

Mr. Mr Ivan Garcia-Nisa (lead supervisor, Dr. Rachel Kendal, Durham University)




I am the module leader for PSY2001: Developmental Psychology and a lecturer on MMB8043: Comparative Cognition - Information Processing in Humans and Other Animals. I supervise undergraduate projects in the School of Psychology and MRes projects in the Institute of Neuroscience.

I also offer year-long professional placements for the School of Psychology in collaboration with Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens. These placements can focus on applied animal behaviour, public engagement with science, and/or conservation education.