Social media and animal intelligence on this week’s Woldingham Talks menu

Social media and animal intelligence on this week’s Woldingham Talks menu

4 March 2021

Marketing professional and Woldingham parent Marcus Wareham joined us for this week’s “Working Lunch” on Tuesday 2 March and gave students a fascinating insight into Facebook, where he has worked for many years, and explained the career journey that took him there.  With perhaps the exception of software engineers (a career, he reminded us, where demand exceeds supply, especially for women), there are no graduate opportunities at Facebook – the company recruits people with a track record of professional experience. But as important, if not more so, than skills are the behaviours the company is looking for, including having a positive mindset, being a good communicator and presenter (in terms of expressing complex ideas simply), being able to work collaboratively with people from around the world, a self-starter and a problem solver. Marcus also highlighted the importance of building relationships with people who can help you on your career journey and not being afraid to ask for advice – people tend to be very generous with their help and such conversations can lead to interesting opportunities.

“How smart is my dog?” is a question Head of Psychology Mrs Ruth Deaney is often asked. In her Thinking Big talk on Thursday 4 March, she delved into the area of animal intelligence and the various ways in which this can be assessed, including self-awareness, the ratio of brain size to body mass and the “wiggly-ness” of the neocortex (to fit more of it in). The most widely accepted “top five” in order of intelligence are humans, bottlenose dolphins, chimpanzees, orangutans and elephants. As for dogs, Mrs Deaney’s answer was “in the middle, but the on upper side” and, controversially perhaps for some, “fractionally more intelligent than cats”. Mrs Deaney also made some recommendations for further reading as she advised that she was only able to scratch the surface of this topic in 20 minutes, but an extremely interesting 20 minutes they were.