Nicky Clayton is the Professor of Comparative Cognition and a University Teaching Officer in the Department of Psychology at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Clare College. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2010.
Her expertise as a scientist lies in the contemporary study of how animals and children think. This work has led to a re-evaluation of the cognitive capacities of animals, particularly birds, and resulted in a theory that intelligence evolved independently in at least two distantly related groups, the apes and the crows. She has also pioneered new procedures for the experimental study of memory and imagination in animals, investigating its relationship to human memory and consciousness, and how and when these abilities develop in young children.
In addition to scientific research and teaching, she is a dancer, specializing in tango and salsa. She is also Scientist in Residence at the Rambert Dance Company, collaborating with Mark Baldwin, the Artitsitc Director, on new choreographic works inspired by science (Comedy of Change, 2009; Seven For A Secret Never To Be Told, 2011; What Wild Ecstasy, 2012).
Her most recent collaboration with artist Clive Wilkins arose out of their mutual interest in imagination, and its consequences for consciousness, identity and memory. They also regularly dance tango together.