Emily J E Messer

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Cognition presents evolutionary research with one of its greatest challenges. Cognitive evolution has been explained at the proximate level by shifts in absolute and relative brain volume and at the ultimate level by differences in social and dietary complexity. However, no study has integrated the experimental and phylogenetic approach at the scale(More)
Social network analyses and experimental studies of social learning have each become important domains of animal behavior research in recent years yet have remained largely separate. Here we bring them together, providing the first demonstration of how social networks may shape the diffusion of socially learned foraging techniques. One technique for opening(More)
Wild and captive capuchin monkeys will anoint themselves with a range of strong smelling substances including millipedes, ants, limes and onions. Hypotheses for the function of the behaviour range from medicinal to social. However, capuchin monkeys may anoint in contact with other individuals, as well as individually. The function of social anointing has(More)
The ability to reason about probabilities has ecological relevance for many species. Recent research has shown that both preverbal infants and non-human great apes can make predictions about single-item samples randomly drawn from populations by reasoning about proportions. To further explore the evolutionary origins of this ability, we conducted the first(More)
Adult humans frequently engage in the reciprocal exchange of resources with other individuals. However, despite the important role that reciprocity plays in maintaining co-operative exchange we know relatively little of when, and how, reciprocity develops. We first asked whether pairs of young children (M = 74 months) would engage in direct reciprocity in a(More)
Prosocial acts benefitting others are widespread amongst humans. By contrast, chimpanzees have failed to demonstrate such a disposition in several studies, leading some authors to conclude that the forms of prosociality studied evolved in humans since our common ancestry. However, similar prosocial behavior has since been documented in other primates, such(More)
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