National Geographic dissertation research feature

by Lisa Barrett

I am so excited to share a huge personal accomplishment– a portion of my dissertation research was featured in the February 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine (and online here)!

You might recall that I study zebra finch personality and cognition as part of the Animal Behavior & Cognition Lab at the University of Wyoming. In September 2017, a photographer from National Geographic came to visit—and photograph—the zebra finches in my lab. I was thrilled, but at that time, it was not certain whether or not our research would make it into the article.

Well, we made it in!

In their article, “Bird Brainiacs,” which is more than 15 pages long, author Virginia Morell and photographer Charlie Hamilton James examine the superb brain power of birds (from pigeons to kea, chickens to crows). A caption mentions my lab’s work on pair coordination in monogamous zebra finches, and a large photo shows a pair bond navigating together through a maze test. I hope you enjoy the featured image of zebra finches, Cleopatra and Grant, and are able to check out the article to learn more! I look forward to sharing the results of this research with you soon.


Cleopatra and Grant navigate through a maze task as a test of pair bond coordination in zebra finches. Photo by: Charlie Hamilton James

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