Areas of Expertise: Animal and environmental biology
Rachael is a comparative psychologist and behavioural ecologist, with expertise in animal cognition, behaviour, welfare and conservation, and child development. She is broadly interested in the evolution of cognition, using comparative, ecological and developmental approaches primarily in birds and children, with a highly productive academic output and teaching record.
Rachael joined ARU in December 2021. Rachael has had three Research Associate roles at Cambridge University in Prof Nicky Clayton’s Lab & Dr Lucy Cheke’s Lab, with a PhD at Vienna University with Prof Thomas Bugnyar & Dr Christine Schwab, MSc at St Andrews University with Prof Andy Whiten & MA at Glasgow University. Additionally, Rachael was a Animal Keeper & Avian Research Coordinator at Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
Rachael’s current PI research is: Cognition in Animal Conservation (applying cognition research to avian conservation initiatives) & the ManyBirds Project (a big-team Open Science project on avian cognition & behaviour).
Rachael welcomes enquiries from prospective research students in the areas of her research interests. She has previously supervised BSc, MSc and PhD students, as well as Junior Researchers and Research Assistants, in all of the above research areas.
Consultancy: Independent Contractor (Researcher, Animal Welfare Project), Rethink Priorities, 2021
Miller, R., Schiestl, M., Clayton, N.S. (Accepted) Book Chapter: Welfare in Corvids. 9th Ed of Universities Federation for Animal Welfare Handbook on Care and Management of Laboratory and Other Research Animals. Wiley (12,060 words)
Garcia-Pelegrin, E., Clark, F.,Miller, R.. (2022). Increasing the animal cognition research in zoos. Zoo Biology DOI: 10.1002/zoo.21674
Lambert, M., Reber, S., Garcia-Pelegrin, E., Farrar, B.,Miller, R.. (2022). ManyBirds: A multi-site collaborative approach to avian cognition and behaviour research. Animal Behavior & Cognition, 9(1), pp. 133-152
Miller, R., Lambert, M., Frohnweiser, A., Brecht, K., Bugnyar, T., Crampton, I., Garcia-Pelegrin, E., Gould, K., Greggor, A., Izawa, E., Kelly, D., Li, Z., Luo, Y., Luong, L., Massen, J., Nieder, A., Reber, S., Schiestl, M., Sepehri, P., Stevens, J., Taylor, A.H., Wang, L., Wolff, L.M., Zhang, Y., Clayton, N.S. (2021). Socio-ecological correlates of neophobia in corvids. Current Biology, 32(1), pp. 74-85, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.10.045
Ding, N., Frohnwieser, A., *Miller, R., *Clayton, N.S. (* = joint senior authorship) (2021). Waiting for a better reward: comparison of delay of gratification in young children across two cultures. PLoS ONE, 16(9), e0256966
Boeckle, M., Schiestl, M., Frohnwieser, A., Gruber, R., Miller, R., Suddendorf, T., Gray, R.D., Taylor, A.H., Clayton, N.S. (2021) New Caledonian crows' planning behaviour: a reply to de Mahy, Don et al. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 202111271
Boeckle, M., Schiestl, M., Frohnwieser, A., Gruber, R., Miller, R., Suddendorf, T., Gray, R.D., Taylor, A.H., Clayton, N.S. (2020) New Caledonian crows flexibly plan for specific future tool use. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287, 20201490
Miller, R. & Gruber, R., Frohnwieser, A., Schiestl, M., Jelbert, S.A., Gray, R.D., Boeckle, M., Taylor, A.H., Clayton, N.S. (2020) Decision-making flexibility in New Caledonian crows, young children and adult humans in a multi-dimensional tool-use task. PLoS ONE, 15, e0219874
Miller, R., Frohnwieser, A., Ding, N., Troisi, C., Schiestl, M., Gruber, R., Taylor, A.H., Gray, R.D., Jelbert, S.A., Boeckle, M., Clayton, N.S. (2020) A novel test of flexible planning in relating to executive function and language in young children. Royal Society Open Science, 7, pp. 71-85
Kövér, L. & Lengyel, S., Takenaka, M., Kirchmeir, A., Uhl, F., Miller, R., Schwab, C. (2019) Why do zoos attract crows? A comparative study from Europe and Asia. Ecology & Evolution, 9, pp. 14465-14475
Miller, R., Frohnwieser, A., Schiestl, M., McCoy, D.E., Gray, R.D., Taylor, A.H., Clayton, N.S. (2019) Delayed gratification in New Caledonian crows and young children: influence of reward type and visibility. Animal Cognition, 1-15, doi: 10.1007/s10071-019-01317-7
Miller, R., Boeckle, M., Frohnwieser, A., Jelbert, S.A., Wascher, C.A.F., Clayton, N.S. (2019) Self-control in crows, parrots and non-human primates. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 10, e1504
Gruber, R., Schiestl, M., Boeckle, M., Frohnwieser, A., Miller, R., Gray, R.D., Clayton, N.S., Taylor, A.H. (2019) New Caledonian crows use mental representations to solve metatool problems. Current Biology, 29, pp. 686-692
Jelbert, S.A., Miller, R., Schiestl, M., Boeckle, M., Cheke, L.G., Gray, R.D., Taylor, A.H., Clayton, N.S. (2019) New Caledonian crows infer the weight of objects from their movements in a breeze. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 20182332
Uhl, F., Ringler, M., Miller, R., Deventer, S., Bugnyar, T., Schwab, C. (2018) Counting crows: population structure and group size variation in an urban population of crows. Behavioural Ecology, ary 157
Miller, R., Jelbert, S.A., Loissel, E., Taylor, A.H., Clayton, N.S. (2017) Young children do not require perceptual-motor feedback to solve Aesop’s Fable tasks. Peer J, 5, e3483
Davidson, G., Miller, R., Loissel, E., Cheke, L.G., Clayton, N.S. (2017) The development of support intuitions and object causality in juvenile Eurasian jays. Scientific Reports, 7, 40062
Miller, R., Jelbert, S.A., Taylor, A.H., Cheke, L.G., Gray, R.D., Loissel, E., Clayton, N.S. (2016) Performance in object-choice Aesop’s Fable tasks are influenced by object biases in New Caledonian crows but not in human children. PLoS ONE,11, e0168056
Miller, R., Logan, C.J., Lister, K., Clayton, N.S. (2016). Eurasian jays do not copy the choices of conspecifics, but they do show evidence of stimulus enhancement. Peer J, 4, e2746
Deventer, S.A., Uhl, F., Bugnyar, T., Miller, R., Fitch, W.T., Schiestl, M., Ringler, M., Schwab, C. (2016) Behavioural type affects space use in a wild population of crows. Ethology, 122, pp. 881-891
Miller, R., Schwab, C., Bugnyar, T. (2016) Explorative innovators and flexible use of social information in common ravens and carrion crows. Journal of Comparative Psychology, doi:10.1037/com0000039
Miller, R., Laskowski, K.L., Schiestl, M., Bugnyar, T., Schwab, C. (2016) Socially driven consistent behavioural differences during development in common ravens and carrion crows. PLoS ONE, 11, e0148822
Miller, R., Bugnyar, T., Pölzl, K., Schwab, C. (2015) Differences in exploration behaviour in common ravens and carrion crows during development and across social context. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69, pp. 1209-20
Taylor, A.H., Cheke, L.G., Waismeyer, A., Meltzoff, A., Miller, R., Gopnik, A., Clayton, N.S., Gray, R.D. (2015) No conclusive evidence that corvids can create novel causal interventions. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 282, 20150796
Knaebe, B., Taylor, A.H., Miller, R., Gray, R.D. (2015) New Caledonian crows attend to barb presence during Pandanus tool manufacture and use. Behaviour, doi:10.1163/1568539X-00003316
Miller, R., Schiestl, M., Whiten, A., Schwab, C., Bugnyar, T. (2014) Tolerance and social facilitation in the foraging behaviour of free-ranging crows. Ethology, 120, pp. 1248-1255
Taylor, A.H., Cheke, L.G., Waismeyer, A., Meltzoff, A., Miller, R., Gopnik, A., Clayton, N.S., Gray, R.D. (2014) Of babies and birds: complex tool behaviours are not sufficient for the evolution of the ability to create a causal intervention. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281. 20140837
Taylor, A.H., Miller, R., Gray, R.D. (2013) Clear evidence of habituation counters counterbalancing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, e337
Taylor, A.H., Miller, R., Gray, R.D. (2013) The devil is unlikely to be association or distraction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, e274
Miller, R., King, C.E. (2013) Husbandry training, using positive reinforcement techniques, for Marabou stork at Edinburgh Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook, 47, pp. 171-180
Taylor, A.H., Miller, R., Gray, R.D. (2012) New Caledonian crows reason about hidden causal agents. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, pp. 16389-16391
Dufour, V., Wascher, C., Braun, A., Miller, R., Bugnyar, T. (2011) Time is money: Corvids can decide if a future transaction is worth waiting for. Biology Letters, 23, pp. 201-204
Anglia Ruskin University, Biology Seminar Series (2022 - invited talk), Employability Seminar (2022 - invited talk), Conservation Behaviour Teaching Outline (2021 - invited talk); University of Cambridge, Research Staff Symposium (2021 - talk); University of Cambridge, Comparative Cognition Lab Meeting (2021, 2016 - talks); Animal Behaviour Society twitter conference (2021 - virtual attendance); Association for Study of Animal Behaviour (2020 - virtual attendance; 2015 - attendance), British Psychological Society (2018, 2019 - talks), European Conference for Behavioural Biology (2018 - poster; 2014 - talk), International Ethological Conference (2017; 2013 - posters), International Society for Behavioural Ecology (2014 - talk), Evolutionary Significance of Consistent Behavioural Variation (2014 - talk), Comparative Cognition (2013 - talk), Corvid symposium (2012 - poster)
Rachael is active in scientific outreach. She has been interviewed by the media and/or had her research featured on several occasions, including Le Monde, New Scientist, National Geographic, Psychology Today, Science Alert, Cell, Inverse and Ethologische.