Latest Updates


14 October 2023.
Stirling Science Festival 2023

This year we had 3 events at the Stirling Science Festival! First we held a Café Philosophique which sparked an interesting discussion about the uniqueness of human rationality and human and animal intelligence. Second was an excellent public lecture by Prof Erica Fudge from the University of Strathclyde entitled “What were the animals thinking?”. Finally the Science Festival Family Day gave us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the power of interdisciplinary research. We spent the day offering families the chance to work together to build spaghetti towers and complete puzzles to show how we can bring together experts from different fields to tackle challenging questions.

Overall, it was a very busy and successful week!

25 September 2023.
Welcome to our new students

Last week we welcomed our new cohort of students who will work with the project at the University of Stirling.

Welcome to Sammy, Eilidh, Brina, Gaja and Josephine!

31 August 2023.
ARED at ESPP 2023

This week both Kirsten and Giacomo presented at the 30th meeting of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology in the beautiful Prague. This meeting offered the perfect setting for great discussions and the chance to meet other interdisciplinary researchers. Kirsten’s talk was titled ‘Reimagining metacognition: the transition from unreflective to reflective epistemic thinking’ and Giacomo’s was ‘Rational belief-formation and reflection in human and non-human animals’.

17 July 2023.
Well done Kinga!

Last week saw the 8th Canine Science Forum take place in Budapest. We are very proud of masters student Kinga Kovacs for giving a talk titled “Reflective belief revision in pet dogs, Kune Kune pigs and human infants?”. It was also a great opportunity for Kinga to hear all about the different aspects of canine science.

01 July 2023.
We are hiring!

The ARED project is looking for a new Graduate Research Assistant. Please see the job advert here for further details.

3 & 4 June 2023.
Human and animal minds at Glasgow Science Festival

We had a great time at the Botanic Gardens for Glasgow Science Festival. Thank you to everyone who stopped to say hello and engage with some challenging question about human and animal minds. And thank you to all the children who took the time to draw us some lovely pictures.

23 & 24 May 2023.
Reflections on the 2nd ARED Workshop

The second ARED workshop “Rational agency, reflection and the varieties of metacognition” was hosted by the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna, after having the first workshop mostly online it was amazing to hold this one in person. We had a fantastic line up of talks with very engaging speakers which prompted in depth and challenging discussions after every presentation! The discussions could have gone on much longer with such excellent questions, and we’re sure many of these conversations will continue far beyond the workshop itself.

10 May 2023.
STV News in the University of Stirling Lifespan Lab

Recently, the University of Stirling was visited by STV News, where a news clip was filmed reporting on the opening of the new Lifespan Lab. The lab has already been used for data collection in the ARED project. The clip also features a brief talk by Kirsten!

18 January 2023.
1 day, 2 talks, 2 languages

Giacomo had a very buy day in Pavia where he gave a talk ‘Brute Errors and Warranting Roles (of Experience)’ at the Mercoledi Filosofici del Maino of the University of Pavia, and at the seminar in epistemology and philosophy of mathematics of the IUSS Pavia. Just to add to the challenge, the first was in Italian while the second was in English!

7 January 2023.

Kirsten started 2023 by attending the much anticipated return of the Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development (BCCCD). She presented a poster titled ‘Searching for reflective belief revision in 2 year olds’.


15 September 2022.
Welcome Brina!

Last week we welcomed Brina Recelj as the newest member of the ARED team. Brina joins us as Research Administrator at the University of Stirling.

08 August 2022.
Bridging the Technological Gap Workshop

Kirsten recently had the opportunity to attend a brilliant workshop called Bridging the Technological Gap held at the Primatenzentrum (DPZ) in Göttingen, Germany, to learn about cutting-edge tech to study human & animal minds.

25 July 2022.
ARED (E)SPP 2022 symposium
Last week six members of the ARED team travelled to Milan, Italy, to attend the 3rd Joint Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology (SPP) and the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ESPP). While there they enjoyed the fantastic program of talks and posters and symposia.

For ARED, day 2 of the conference was the most exciting as we had the opportunity to present the first symposium on the project! Giacomo kicked off the symposium with a talk titled ‘The relation between reflective and unreflective responsiveness to epistemic reasons’. Kirsten came next describing the experimental paradigm in relation to the philosophical framework and providing a glimpse of the developmental results so far. Masters student Kea Amelung who stepped up to give her very first conference presentation discussing the experimental work that has been done with pigs and dogs. Finally, Zsófia rounded off the symposium with a critical examination of the use of a social task to assess belief revision in animals and pre-verbal children. We had some excellent feedback and questions from the audience, so all in all the symposium was a great success.

Chantal Obro at the Psychology Conference.

21 April 2022.
Three psychology students from the University of Stirling that have been working on the project for last few months are approaching graduation. Congratulations to Jennifer Boyd, Rebekka Lowe and Chantal Obro, we wish them all the best for their future careers!

14 April 2022.
A visit to Vienna
Some of the Stirling team recently returned from their first visit to Vienna to meet our colleagues at the Messerli Research Institute.
After more than a year of meeting only virtually, it was an excellent chance to properly get to know each other and find out how the comparative side of the research is progressing.
As well as this, Giacomo Melis and Kirsten Blakey gave talks at the Messerli which both sparked lengthy interesting discussions. Giacomo’s talk on 1st April was titled ‘Are humans the only rational animals?’ and followed a brief introduction by Prof. Ludwig Huber of relevant empirical research on animal cognition, summarised in his book “The rational animal”. Kirsten’s talk was titled ‘Developing Cumulative culture: A transition from simple associations to explicitly reasoned social learning strategies’ and took place on 4th April.

19 January 2022.
ARED Workshop 1 was a success!
This week saw the first ARED workshop take place both in person at the University of Stirling and online. The presenters offered a fascinating series of eight talks, followed by fruitful and challenging discussions that raised more questions than they answered. We would like to thank everyone who participated for a fantastic three days.

Fingers crossed that the next workshop can be held in person in the not so distant future!


23 June 2021.
Metacognition: New developments and challenges conference
It’s conference season and it’s kicking off for ARED today with both Giacomo Melis and Kirsten Blakey giving talks at the Metacognition: New developments and challenges conference hosted by the Institute of Philosophy, University of London.

May 2021.
A trio of talks
This month our PI Giacomo Melis gave not one, but three talks.
On 5th May he gave a seminar to the Behaviour and Evolution Research Group at the University of Stirling. On 18th May he gave a public lecture at a branch of the University of Third Age (Università della terza età) based in Italy. To complete the trio, on 25th May Giacomo presented at the Glasgow COGITO Work in Progress seminar.

4 May 2021.
Website launch
We are very excited to launch this project website. It will be updated with all our exciting news and the events we will be hosting over the next few years. Watch this space!

1 March 2021.
New project member
ARED gains a new team member as psychologist Dr Kirsten Blakey joins as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

1 February 2021.
ARED project official start date!
Today marks the first day of the 4 year long ARED project!


15 October 2020.
UKRI Future Leader Fellowship funding announcement!
It was announced today that philosopher Dr Giacomo Melis had been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for the ARED project. See the University of Stirling’s press release here.

Theme by the University of Stirling

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