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Broadly speaking, my research focuses on the social behavior and social cognition of primates. Specifically, I am interested in the factors that promote and inhibit cooperative and prosocial behaviors in humans and other animals, and address this question from ultimate and proximate perspectives. I use the comparative method to ask questions about the evolution of behavior, investigating cooperative behaviors across species that have evolved in different social contexts. At the proximate level, I am interested in how social relationships, the local social culture, individual past experience and hormones influence the emergence of cooperative and prosocial behaviors within species.

To address these (and related) questions, I have conducted research with a wide range of primate species including lemurs, tamarins, marmosets, macaques, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans. Much of my recent work takes place at a wildlife sanctuary in Zambia in collaboration with a team of local researchers. At Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust chimpanzees live in large, stable social groups in a semi-free ranging environment, creating the valuable opportunity for long-term study of multiple chimpanzee communities.

A separate but related research avenue focuses on more applied questions that can produce direct benefits to the animals. While studying the behavior, cognition and physiology of many of these species, I am constantly motivated to use science to evaluate and improve animal welfare and management practices. Thus, some of my research has focused on, for example, the stress of transport in critically endangered cottontop tamarins, and the effectiveness of population management actions recommended by North American zoos.
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Other Affiliations: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Last checked 2014-10-16

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Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
PO Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands
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