Adrian Soldati

Research interest

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Social learning in the vocalizations of wild chimpanzees

How do our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, the chimpanzees, acquire communicative competence? Is there a role of social learning in the development of their vocalizations? Does affiliation between social partners produce similarity of calls?

The main aim of my project is to look at the causes of intra-community acoustic variations in the production and usage of the pant hoot, chimpanzees’ characteristic long distance call, with a particular focus on social factors. I will investigate its development in young individuals and study how the structure of this vocalization come to be and is modified over time depending on whom they associate with. Furthermore, I will study whether socially close adult chimpanzees produce calls that are acoustically more similar compared to those of less close individuals, seeking evidence for social learning amongst wild chimpanzees’ vocalizations.

In the Budongo forest (Uganda) I will use novel infrared thermography to observe and clarify the social role of physiological changes in wild chimpanzees after hearing vocalizations of conspecifics in order to investigate the link between cognitive social recognition and vocal production. Through a playback study of chimpanzees’ different responses to the call of their preferred social partners compared to non-affiliated individuals I will provide new insights in the domain of non-human primate communication.

This research project is co-supervised by Prof Klaus Zuberbühler (University of Neuchatel) and Prof Josep Call (University of St Andrews).

Previously, I have worked on gestural and multi-signal communication and social bonding behaviours of Waibira and Sonso chimpanzee communities (Budongo).

PhD student




Tel: +41 79 395 53 18


Université de Neuchâtel
Institut de Biologie
Cognition Comparée
Rue Emile-Argand 11
2000 Neuchâtel


Bureau B27, bâtiment G