Research Interests

Influence of bond partners proximity on fear and joy arousal in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and humans (Homo sapiens)

After doing a bachelor of psychology at the University of Geneva, I am doing a master of cognitive science at the University of Neuchâtel. For my master thesis, I wanted to study two topics that I am interested in: emotions and sociality. I wanted to do a comparative study between humans and chimpanzees, and therefore I am running my study this year in Budongo, Uganda, to observe chimpanzees in the wild, before I am planning to run a comparison with humans in Neuchâtel.

My study aims to analyse how the presence of friends (“bond partners”) in the surroundings impacts the emotions of the individuals. More specifically, I want to observe the emotions of fear and joy and how they are influenced by the presence of a friend or a non-friend within 35 meters, using a thermal camera. I expect the emotion of joy to increase with the presence of friends and the emotion of fear to decrease, both for humans and chimpanzees. Indeed, previous research showed the importance of friends for life longevity (Silk et al., 2010) and for reproductive success (Schülke et al., 2010). Moreover, Wittig and colleagues (2016) showed that having friends around reduces stress in stressful and peaceful situations in chimpanzees. To test my hypothesis, I will observe the chimpanzees in fearful and joyful situations and measure the temperature of their faces, to measure their emotions. For the human comparison, I will show them movies and use the same thermal camera as for the chimpanzees.