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Takao Sasaki

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I'm a Royal Society Newton International Fellow at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.


Research Interests

Collective decision-making has been the subject of scientific study for over a century, yet we still know little about the circumstances under which groups make better (or indeed worse) decisions than individuals. My research directly addresses this longstanding question, using pigeon homing as a model system. I compare the cognitive abilities of individuals and groups by testing them on the same spatio-cognitive tasks. To investigate the emergence of collective cognition, cutting-edge GPS devices provide high-resolution individual spatiotemporal data, allowing me to create detailed individual-based models that also build on a large body of existing knowledge about pigeons’ individual cognitive abilities. My results can be applicable to multiple research fields, including optimal decision-making theory and collective robotics.



I obtained my BS in physics at Nihon University, Japan. I received my MS in psychology and Ph.D (supervised by Stephen Pratt) in Biology and completed a postdoctoral research position (supervised by Bert Hölldobler and Stephen Pratt) at Arizona State University.



Sasaki, T. & Pratt S.C. (2013). Ants learn to rely on more informative attributes during decision making. Biology letters, 9 (6), doi:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0667.

Sasaki, T. , Granovskiy, B., Mann, R.P., Sumpter, D.J.T., & Pratt, S.C. (2013). A crowd is wise for hard tasks but not for easy ones. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (34), 13769-13773.

Shaffer, Z., Sasaki, T. & Pratt S.C. (2013) Linear recruitment leads to allocation and flexibility in collective foraging by ants. Animal Behavior, 86 (5), 967-975.

Pinter-Wollman, N., Hobson, E., Smith, J., Edelman, A., Shizuka, D., de Silva, S., Waters, J., Prager, S., Sasaki, T. , Wittemyer, G., Fewell, J. & McDonald, D. (2013). The dynamics of animal social networks: analytical, conceptual, and theoretical advances. Behavioral Ecology, 24, 1-24.

Sasaki, T & Pratt, S.C. (2012). Groups have a larger cognitive capacity than individuals. Current Biology 22 (19), R827-R829.

Becker, D.V., Mortensen, C. R., Ackerman J.M., Shapiro J., Anderson, U., Sasaki. T. , Maner, J., Neuberg, S. & Kenrick, D. (2011). Signal detection on the battlefield: Priming self-protection vs. revenge-mindedness differentially modulates the detection of enemies and allies. PLoS ONE, 6 (9): e23929. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023929.

Sasaki, T. , Becker, D. V. Janssen, M. & Neel, R. (2011). Does greater product information actually inform consumer decisions? The relationship between product information quantity and diversity of consumer decisions. Journal of Economic Psychology 32, 391-398.

Sasaki, T. & Pratt, S.C. (2011). Emergence of group rationality from irrational individuals. Behavioral Ecology, 22, 276-281.

Ackerman, J. M, Becker, D. V., Mortensen, C. R., Sasaki, T. , Neuberg, S. L, & Kenrick, D. T. (2009). A pox on the mind: Disjunction of attention and memory in processing physical disfigurement. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45, 478-485.


Contact Details

Takao Sasaki
Room E23g
Department of Zoology
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3PS

link for my personal website