Anthropology, Mathematics, Biology, Thayer, and Psychological and Brain Science; Mentors – Thalia Wheatley, Nathaniel Dominy, Hannah ter Hofstede, Gene Santos, and Peter Tse (PhD., expected 2019)
Kelly Finn studies animals as an information processing system. Her research uses computational methods to describe and link patterns in an animal's environment to patterns in their behavior. Using multiple animal models (e.g. humans and octopi), Kelly plans to compare how independently evolved intelligent minds respond to environmental complexity and process uncertainty. Considering their sensory systems, what aspects of an environment matter to an animal? Given their cognitive capacitates, how do different patterns of information affect them? By manipulating patterns of environmental information and assessing behavioral responses with measures of attention, affect, and movement, Kelly aims to answer these questions and learn more about the internal world and experiences of nonhumans.