Collective Behaviour - Summer Seminar Series 2024

A comparative approach to understanding shared states as mechanisms for social behaviour

Dr Jessie Adriaense, University of Zurich


Our social lives and the success of our interactions often depend on sharing states with others. For instance, sharing emotions with others may lead to a better understanding of another, potentially resulting in empathy, and sharing goals or intentions may facilitate cooperation. From an evolutionary perspective it was long assumed that empathy was restricted to (some) mammalian species, and cooperation based on shared intentions is generally claimed to be uniquely human. Yet, observations and recent empirical work in other animal taxa put these notions into question. Still, measuring psychological mechanisms, such as (shared) emotions, is notoriously difficult in animals, which is partially driven by conceptual and empirical ambiguities. In this talk I will present my work on emotion contagion in primates and birds, and my recent research on the use of signals during cooperation, such as social play and parental care.

Jessie Adrieanse is a comparative psychologist and works as Post-Doc at the University of Zürich (Switzerland). She has a MSc in Experimental Psychology from Ghent University (Belgium), and during this time she interned at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience studying the neuronal correlates of empathy for pain in rodents. In 2021 she received my PhD in Biology and Psychology at the University of Vienna (Austria). Here Jessie continued studying empathy, with an emphasis on its emotional basis and by means of behavioral and cognitive methods, in common ravens and common marmosets. For this work she was granted the Award of Excellence by the Austrian government. Before starting her Post-Doc in Zürich, she also conducted research at Georgia State University (US), to investigate new methods for testing affect in capuchin monkeys, as well as research at the University of Bristol (UK) to understand emotion contagion through thermography in chickens (supported by the Marietta Blau fellowship).

Datum: 2024-07-08