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Why do complex cognition evolve? And how? What are the influences social and ecological environments? A major goal of our research is to understand how cognitive processes mediate adaptive behaviour in individuals, and their interactions within groups and populations, with a particular focus on challenging foraging tasks (navigation, nutrient balancing). Our work focuses on small brained insects that exhibit both an impressive range of cognitive capacities and a unique spectrum of social forms. The approach combines behavioural experiments (in the lab and in the field) with simulations of computer models.