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Dr. Federica Amici

Position: post-doc researcher

Research Group "Primate Behavioural Ecology"
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6 
D-04103 Leipzig 

phone: +49 341 97-36754
fax: +49 341 97-36848
e-mail: amicieva.mpgde

Research Interests

My main research interests lie in the evolutionary forces shaping the distribution of cognitive skills across vertebrates. So far, I have been working with several species (including humans) to better understand the relative contribution of social and ecological factors to the evolution of complex cognitive skills, the effects of social flexibility on cognition, and the distribution of prosocial and cooperative skills across taxa. I am also highly interested in innovation and social learning, and how these vary both within and across species. At the moment, I am focusing on three main topics: (i) the distribution of cognitive skills across ungulates, (ii) the emergence of empathy, and (iii) the role played by dominance style in the emergence of specific behavioural patterns and cognitive skills, with a special focus on moor macaques (Macaca maura). My research approach combines behavioural observations and strictly controlled experimental procedures, both in the wild and in captivity. Thanks to the long-term collaboration with several scholars around the world, I am also working on topics like memory (and collective memory), psycholinguistics and Neo-Whorfian effects, the role of language and culture in shaping human behavioural diversity, and conservation. For a link of our field site in Sulawesi, please see: https://macacamauraproject.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/