Thursday, 15 September 2016

Research Seminar: Dr Yvan Russell (Middlesex Psychology)

*** Everyone Welcome! No need to book in advance *** 

Date: Thursday 22nd September
Time: 16:00-17:00  
Room: Town Hall Committee Room 1   
Dr Yvan Russell (Middlesex University) 

"Social complexity in a captive chimpanzee group: The role of reciprocity and three-way effects"

Abstract: Much of our social knowledge derives from third-party report: person A learns about person B through testimony from person C. “Reputation” can be defined as “knowledge about a person’s typical behaviour based on a knowledge of that person’s past behaviour”. Reputation and gossip are an essential part of human life – but in this talk I will widen the perspective to discuss the capabilities of our closest genetic relatives: chimpanzees and other great apes. These animals don’t have language and therefore their social information gathering is limited to either direct encounters or to third-party observation (observing events as an uninvolved bystander). Here, I will report my empirical work on this topic which includes an eavesdropping experiment in four great ape species and investigations of third-party effects in a chimpanzee social network. Key to these studies were the behaviours of food sharing, allogrooming (where one chimpanzee cleans the other’s fur – construable as a kind of economic service), and social partner decision making. I will present analyses focusing on chimpanzee behaviour as an economic activity; comprising analyses of direct reciprocity (A helps B, then B helps A) and indirect reciprocity (A observes B help C, therefore A helps B), behaviours for which reputation is crucial. 

Biography: Yvan Russell is an evolutionary psychologist studying the evolution of expert intelligence in humans and animals. He is developing a multi-disciplinary research program covering the topics of cognitive psychology, evolutionary biology, cross-cultural and developmental psychology, the psychology of religion, statistics, anthropology, and behavioural economics. Yvan studied psychology at the University of Manitoba (B.A.-Adv.) and then studied evolutionary psychology and biology at the universities of Reading (M.A.) and Liverpool (Ph.D.). For his Ph.D., he studied cognition in chimpanzees and other great apes. Subsequently, he held postdoctoral research fellowships at Brunel University, Oxford University, and the University of Göttingen. He has also taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level at The Open University, Brunel University, and Middlesex University. In 2013, he joined the Department of Psychology at Middlesex University London.


No comments:

Post a Comment