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Dr Blake Morton

Dr Blake Morton

Lecturer of Psychology

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • School of Psychology and Social Work

Qualifications

  • BSc
  • PGCert
  • PhD (University of Stirling)

Summary

Formally trained in zoology and psychology, Dr Morton is an early-career lecturer with more than 20 years of experience studying the cognition and behaviour of mammals. He publishes in world-leading journals for animal behaviour and his work garners major global media attention, including the BBC, The Guardian, TIME, and National Geographic. He has obtained over £500,000 in grants as a P.I. and co-investigator and was awarded a ‘Research Excellence Award’ from the University of Hull in 2022. He is the founder and co-director of the recently established Hull Animal Behaviour Centre, which is comprised of 6 research programmes involving >600 stakeholders (including researchers, students, and citizen scientists) from over 7 countries. He is the early career representative for his department’s research committee and is presently supervising 3 PhD students and 2 MSc students. Since 2018, he has been studying the behaviour and problem-solving abilities of wild carnivores, including raccoons in the United States, and foxes and badgers in the United Kingdom. The primary goal of his research is to understand what factors drive behavioural and psychological adaptability in animals, which is important for understanding the past, present, and future of species in an ever-changing world.

Dr Morton has a postgraduate certificate in higher education practice and over twelve years of experience teaching university students, five of which have been as a full-time lecturer. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was awarded an Honorary Lectureship at the University of Stirling in 2018. Over the years, he has written, developed, and managed modules on a range of topics related to animal behaviour and psychology. At the University of Hull, he oversees the BSc Psychology research dissertation programme. His other current modules include 'The Ageing Brain' and 'Brain & Behaviour 2'. Dr Morton has a passion for teaching and routinely incorporates his own research experiences with wild primates, cetaceans, and carnivores into his lectures to help students engage with theoretical material on a deeper and more applied level.

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Journal Article

Personality structure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Morton, F. B., Robinson, L. M., Brando, S., & Weiss, A. (2021). Personality structure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000259

Studying animal innovation at the individual level: A ratings-based assessment in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus [Cebus] sp.).

Morton, F. B., Buchanan-Smith, H. M., Brosnan, S. F., Thierry, B., Paukner, A., Essler, J. L., …Lee, P. C. (2021). Studying animal innovation at the individual level: A ratings-based assessment in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus [Cebus] sp.). Journal of Comparative Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000264

Do wild raccoons (Procyon lotor) use tools?

Morton, F. B. (2020). Do wild raccoons (Procyon lotor) use tools?. Animal Cognition, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-020-01430-y

Data reduction analyses of animal behaviour: avoiding Kaiser's criterion and adopting more robust automated methods

Morton, F. B., & Altschul, D. (2019). Data reduction analyses of animal behaviour: avoiding Kaiser's criterion and adopting more robust automated methods. Animal behaviour, 149, 89-95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.01.003

Divergent personality structures of brown (Sapajus apella) and white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus)

Robinson, L. M., Morton, F. B., Gartner, M. C., Widness, J., Paukner, A., Essler, J. L., …Weiss, A. (2016). Divergent personality structures of brown (Sapajus apella) and white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 130(4), 305-312. https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000037

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Morton welcomes applications from students interested in animal behaviour and cognition, including studies of humans and other species. Dr Morton also offers research internships and placement opportunities for students, so please contact him directly (b.morton@hull.ac.uk) to find out more.

Current PhD Projects:

-- K. Adaway (2022 - Present). Understanding environmental adaptability in wild mammalian carnivores: A multidisciplinary perspective.

-- W. Willis (2021 - Present). Does music with an environmental message affect attitudes towards pro-environmental behaviour?

Current MSc Projects:

-- T. Giles (2021 - Present). Behavioural adaptability in rewilded Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber).

-- A. Dawodu (2022). Novel feeding competition between wild red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and other British carnivores.

Past MSc Placements:

-- A. Turner (2022). 'The British Carnivore Project'.

-- E. Jardan (2022). ' The British Carnivore Project'.

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