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Dr. Kristin Bonnie

Dr. Kristin Bonnie

I completed my PhD in the Neuroscience and Animal Behavior program in the Department of Psychology at Emory University in August 2007. I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at Beloit College, in Beloit, Wisconsin.

While a graduate student with Living Links, my research focused on social learning and culture in two species of non-human primates, capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees. In particular, I worked on projects which were designed to investigate when these non-human primates use social learning, and the types of behaviors that can be learned socially by these two gregarious and highly intelligent species.

My research involved testing predictions surrounding:

a) the role of reward in social learning among capuchin monkeys;

b) the influences of reward probability on the use of individual and social learning by chimpanzees;

c) the effects of social relationships on social learning and the transmission of social traditions among non-human primates;

d) the spread of arbitrary conventions among captive chimpanzees.

I also have interests in the broader concept of social information use among animals, which includes social learning, social eavesdropping and public information use.

Relevant Publications:

Bonnie, KE & de Waal, FBM (2006). Affiliation promotes the transmission of a social custom: handclasp grooming among captive chimpanzees. Primates, 47, 27-34.

Bonnie, KE, Horner, V, Whiten, A, & de Waal, FBM (2007). Spread of arbitrary conventions among chimpanzees: a controlled experiment. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 274, 367-372.

Bonnie, KE & de Waal, FBM (2007). Socially influenced foraging decisions among brown capuchin monkeys. Animal Cognition, 10, 283-292.

Bonnie, KE & Earley, RL (2007). Expanding the scope of social information use (Review). Animal Behaviour, 74, 171-181.

de Waal, FBM & Bonnie, KE (in press). In tune with others: the social side of primate culture. To appear in: The Question of Animal Culture (K.N. Laland & B.G. Galef, Eds.).