My primary research interest is in the evolution of sociality, communication and social cognition. In particular, I am interested in the link between cooperation and the formation and maintenance of enduring social-bonds, in highly gregarious species that maintain complex social systems. Despite the prevalence of cooperative behaviour between kin and non-kin individuals among different taxa, and its role in shaping unique cognitive features, little is known regarding the underlying mechanisms that support it. Therefore, I find particularly interesting the interaction between physiology and behaviour, and its potential role in shaping and promoting extreme forms of positive social interactions, such as cooperative acts usually reserved for kin.
I am currently investigating different aspects of cooperative behaviour, and its association with the strength and stability of social bonds, studying wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus), at the Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire.
This project is funded by the Max Planck Society and the Minerva Stiftung