© 2018

Evolution of Primate Social Cognition

  • Laura Desirèe Di Paolo
  • Fabio Di Vincenzo
  • Francesca De Petrillo

Part of the Interdisciplinary Evolution Research book series (IDER)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Francesca De Petrillo, Fabio Di Vincenzo, Laura D. Di Paolo
    Pages 1-10
  3. Aspects of Primate Social Cognition

  4. Studying Primate Social Cognition: Theory, Observation, Experiments, and Modelling

  5. Cultural Artefacts and Transmission in Primates

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 197-197
    2. Michael Haslam, Tiago Falótico, Lydia Luncz
      Pages 199-209
    3. Stuart K. Watson, Jennifer Botting, Andrew Whiten, Erica van de Waal
      Pages 211-230
    4. Eva Reindl, Elisa Bandini, Claudio Tennie
      Pages 231-248
    5. Elizabeth Renner, Tadeusz Zawidzki
      Pages 249-265

About this book


This interdisciplinary volume brings together expert researchers coming from primatology, anthropology, ethology, philosophy of cognitive sciences, neurophysiology, mathematics and psychology to discuss both the foundations of non-human primate and human social cognition as well as the means there currently exist to study the various facets of social cognition.

The first part focusses on various aspects of social cognition across primates, from the relationship between food and social behaviour to the connection with empathy and communication, offering a multitude of innovative approaches that range from field-studies to philosophy.

The second part details the various epistemic and methodological means there exist to study social cognition, in particular how to ascertain the proximal and ultimate mechanisms of social cognition through experimental, modelling and field studies. 

In the final part, the mechanisms of cultural transmission in primate and human societies are investigated, and special attention is given to how the evolution of cognitive capacities underlie primates’ abilities to use and manufacture tools, and how this in turn influences their social ecology. 

A must-read for both, young scholars as well as established researchers!


primatology ethology cognitive sciences comparative psychology evolution of culture cultural transmission primate social behaviour mind-reading food-sharing social learning brain evolution primate archaeology cultural cognition

Editors and affiliations

  • Laura Desirèe Di Paolo
    • 1
  • Fabio Di Vincenzo
    • 2
  • Francesca De Petrillo
    • 3
  1. 1.Georg-August-University GoettingenLichtenberg-KollegGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Environmental BiologySapienzà Università di RomaRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor, MIUSA

About the editors

Laura Desirèe Di Paolo, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in the Institute for Advanced Study at the Georg-August University of Göttingen and member of the Primate Cognition Research Group at the Leibniz Science Campus in Göttingen. She is a philosopher of cognitive and life sciences, with a particular interest in primatology, and in comparative and developmental psychology. Her work focuses on social cognition and social learning strategies in human and nonhuman primates, and on their impact on the evolution of human-like cultural cognition.

Fabio Di Vincenzo is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Environmental Biology of the Sapienza University in Rome. He is councillor of the Italian Institute of Human Paleontology (IsIPU) and the Italian Institute of Anthropology (IsITA). His scientific interests focus on the evolution human populations during the Middle Pleistocene in Europe.

Francesca De Petrillo is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Her research examines the evolutionary origins of human cognition by employing a multidisciplinary approach integrating both comparative and developmental research. In doing so, she aims to elucidate which aspects of cognition are unique to humans, and how species’ differences in life history, ecology, and social structure account for differences in their cognitive skills. She received a PhD in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology from Sapienza University of Rome and conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University and the University of Michigan.


Bibliographic information