Dr Sarah Jelbert
PhD, MSc, BA (Oxon)
I am a comparative psychologist interested in the evolution of cognitive abilities in non-human animals. I am also interested in happiness and wellbeing. I teach courses on the Science of Happiness and Animal Cognition.
- Science of Happiness
- Developmental Psychology
- Evolutionary Psychology
- Animal Cognition
- Animal Behaviour
- Positive Psychology
LecturerSchool of Psychological Science
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In 2016 I returned to the UK as a postdoc at the University of Cambridge, working in Prof Nicky Clayton's Comparative Cognition Lab. From 2018-2019 I briefly left academia and spent a year as a director of a start-up in Bristol, providing training in science commercialisation for PhD students. However, ultimately, my heart lies in academic teaching and research. I joined the University of Bristol in 2019, where I now work on projects related to the science of happiness, in addition to conducting animal cognition research.
Animal Cognition: I am broadly interested in the evolution of cognitive abilities in humans and non-human animals. Over the past decade I have studied the cognitive abilities of a range of animals, including Eurasian jays, rufous hummingbirds, Goffin cockatoos, and both human children and adults. The majority of my work has focussed on the New Caledonian crow, a remarkable species of bird which manufactures complex tools in the wild and performs exceptionally well on cognitive tasks in captivity.
Science of Happiness: In addition, since joining the University of Bristol in 2019, I have transitioned towards applied psychological research. This is a move I made largely in response to the student mental health crisis and a desire to tackle well-being concerns among young adults. Here, I am investigating the effects of positive psychology interventions on student well-being, delivered as part of the teaching curriculum.
Projects and supervisions
BBSRC International Partnership: A collaboration with the University of Veterinary Medicine , Vienna
Managing organisational unitSchool of Psychological Science
01/11/2022 to 31/03/2023
Benefits of a psychoeducational happiness course on university student mental well-being both before and during a COVID-19 lockdown
Health Psychology Open
Investigating the Use of Electronic Well-being Diaries Completed Within a Psychoeducation Program for University Students: Longitudinal Text Analysis Study
A novel test of flexible learning in relation to executive function and language in young children
Royal Society Open Science
Decision-making flexibility in New Caledonian crows, young children and adult humans in a multi-dimensional tool-use task
How flexible is tool use in Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius)?
Animal Behavior and Cognition
PSYC10014: Science of Happiness (with Prof Bruce Hood)
PSYC30021: Animal Learning and Cognition (with Dr Katy Burgess)
And lecture on the following courses:
PSYCH10004: Foundations of Psychology (Developmental Psychology)
PSYCH30023: Current Topics in Psychological Science (Animal Intelligence)
I supervise undergraduate and masters research dissertations in Psychological Science.