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Dr Tiago Monteiro

Dr. Tiago Monteiro
Tel: +44 1865 271245

I am a Research Associate in the Behavioural Ecology Research Group. I completed my DPhil in March 2013, supervised by Prof. Alex Kacelnik (co-supervised by Dr. Marco Vasconcelos).

Before coming to Oxford in 2008, I received my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology at the University of Minho, Portugal. On my final undergraduate project and during my Master's research project in Experimental Psychology at the Animal Learning and Behavior Lab, I studied interval timing in pigeons (C. livia), specifically the effects of training in temporally structured environments in extinction behaviour.

During my DPhil, I studied decision-making in wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Although common in the laboratory, it is unlikely that animals would regularly encounter two simultaneously presented options. Instead, the more common choices are likely to occur between sequentially encountered options, with choices being whether to pursue a given option or continue to search the environment for alternatives. The Sequential Choice Model (SCM) predicted simultaneous choice behaviour using behaviour from sequential encounters with different options. Specifically, I tested and developed the SCM to multiple-choice environments while manipulating different environmental contingencies (e.g., number of options available, reward probabilities, delays to reinforcement, etc.). Importantly, I found sound evidence for the use of response times as an index of value within environments composed of different options.

In 2012 I joined Joe Paton's Learning Lab at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme (CNP) as Postdoctoral Research Fellow, where I study time perception and decision making in rodents using a combination of a rigorous behavioural framework with electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques.



Vasconcelos M and Monteiro T. (2014). European starlings unriddle the ambiguous-cue problem. Front. Psychol. 5:944. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00944.

Gouvea , T.S., Monteiro, T., Soares, S., Atallah, B.V., Paton, J.J. (2014). Ongoing behavior predicts perceptual report of interval duration. Front. Neurorobot. 8:10. doi:10.3389/fnbot.2014.00010.

Vasconcelos, M., Monteiro, T., Kacelnik, A. (2013). Context-dependent preferences in starlings: linking ecology, foraging and choice. PLoS ONE 8(5): e64934. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064934.

Monteiro, T., Vasconcelos, M., Kacelnik, A. (2013). Starlings uphold principles of economic rationality for delay and probability of reward. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280(1756). doi:10.1098/rspb.2012.2386.

Aw, J., Monteiro, T., Vasconcelos, M., Kacelnik. A. (2012). Cognitive mechanisms of risky choice: Is there an evaluation cost? Behavioural Processes. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2011.09.007.

Vasconcelos, M., Monteiro, T., Kacelnik. A. (2011). On the flexibility of lizards’ cognition: a comment on Leal and Powell (2011). Biology Letters. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0848

Kacelnik, A., Vasconcelos, M., Monteiro, T., Aw, J. (2011). Darwin’s ‘Tug-of-War’ vs. Starlings’ Horse-Racing: how adaptations for sequential encounters drive simultaneous choice. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 65, 547-558. doi:10.1007/s00265-010-1101-2.

Vasconcelos, M.*, Monteiro*, T., Aw, J., & Kacelnik, A. (2010). Choice in multi-alternative environments: A trial-by-trial implementation of the Sequential Choice Model. Behavioural Processes, 84, 435-439. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2009.11.010.

Monteiro, T., Machado, A. (2009). Oscillations following periodic reinforcement. Behavioural Processes, 81, 170-188. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2008.10.003.


Other places where I have studied and/or worked

Laboratory Animal Science, IBMC, Porto, Portugal (link)

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona, Spain (link)

Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology-MPIEVA, Leipzig, Germany (link)

Wolfgang Kohler Primate Research Center, Leipzig, Germany (link)


Funding (past & present)

Simons Foundation (link)

Champalimaud Foundation (CF) (link)

Bial Foundation (link)

Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (link)

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) (link)

Pembroke College, Oxford University (link)

Evolution of Social Cognition (CompCog) - ESF Research Networking Programme (link)

Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) (link)

Spanish Society for Comparative Psychology (SEPC) (link)