Delafield-Butt’s research into the role of feelings, perception, and movement in human development and in basic model organisms began with Ph.D. research in Developmental Neurobiology at the University of Edinburgh, before cross-disciplinary study in Developmental Psychology at the Universities of Edinburgh and Copenhagen. His research examines perception-action systems in birds, paramecia, and especially in human infants, and traces their development in human social engagement for understanding health and education. His interest in the role of mind in nature motivated study of psychopathology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and at the Scottish Institute for Human Relations where he trained pre-clinically in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
Delafield-Butt has pursued science-philosophy bridgework in scholarship at Harvard University and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh on the notion that mind is intrinsic to, and ubiquitous in nature. This position, most carefully set out by A. N. Whitehead, offers a tangible post-Cartesian framework for understanding the composition of mind in organisms of all kinds, its role in governing behaviour, and over generations, shaping evolution.