Mrs. Vanessa Herring
MSc in Psychological Research Methods, University of Portsmouth.
B.S. in Primatology with a minor in Psychology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Prior to enrolling at the University of Portsmouth, I had spent the past 5 years working under the auspices of Dr. Melinda Novak at Harvard Medical School’s New England Primate Research Center, Southboro, Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts Primate Lab, Amherst, Massachusetts and National Institutes of Health (NICHD), Poolesville, MD.
The main emphasis of the research was focused on the behaviour, cognition and physiology of rhesus macaques. Some of the cognitive projects I was involved in were object permanence, gravity bias, spatial modeling, tool-use and numerocity. The long-term behaviour projects I was involved in were based on studying the self-injurious behaviour of captive primates and analyzing the play behaviour, reconciliation and social facilitation of differentially reared rhesus macaques. Although I still maintain a keen interest in the area of cognition I have always been fascinated by the nonverbal communicative systems (mainly gestures) between chimpanzees.
I am a member of the American Society of Primatologists, International Primatological Society, Animal Behaviour Society, Primate Society of Great Britain and the Centre for the Study of Emotion.
Project TitleA longitudinal study of the function and development of gestures in chimpanzees
I am currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Portsmouth under the auspices of Dr. Kim Bard, Dr. Katja Liebal and Dr. Hartmut Blank. My research interests are in the development of gestural communication in chimpanzees. My study is based on longitudinal observations that will monitor the gestural progression of infant chimpanzees from the first year of life through 5 years of age. As gestures acquired in infancy differ from those utilized in adulthood I will be focused on trying to determine whether these infantile gestures are retained and over time evolve to a variant gesture with a new meaning that is suitable for adult socialization or whether these infantile gestures are lost all together while the adult gestures are simultaneously learned.
Through the course of this longitudinal study I will also try and determine whether there is individual flexibility in the form of gestures used, and whether the use of gestures are flexible. Particularly whether a gesture can be used in multiple contexts to serve different meanings based on the context in which they are used and conversely whether their use is more rigid and limited to one context and therefore only has one meaning.
And lastly, I will be analyzing the gestural sequences of chimpanzees to determine how the content changes overtime. More specifically I want to determine whether the number of gesture sequences and number of gestures used per sequence decline each year as they become more efficient communicators.
Maguire, V., & Bard, K.A. (In prep) Plasticity, form and context of gestures in young chimpanzees.
Bard, K.A., Bulbrook, S., Maguire, V., Veira, Y., Hayes, K. G., & McDonald, K. (Submitted) Social-emotional communicative development in young chimpanzees: Ontogeny of social skills and social “manners.”
Maguire-Herring, V. & Bard, K.A. (2008). The development of gestures in chimpanzees from 1 to 5 years. Presented at the 2008 International Primatological Society Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Maguire, V. & Bard, K. A. (2007). Gesture use in two differentially reared groups of infant chimpanzees. Presented at the 2nd Congress of the European Federation for Primatology, Prague, Czech Republic.
Maguire, V. & Bard, K. A. (2007). The differential use of gestures in chimpanzees based on their intended audience. Presented at the 2nd Congress of the European Federation for Primatology, Prague, Czech Republic.
Bard, K.A., Maguire, V., & Bulbrook, S. (2006). Expression of emotion in chimpanzees:
Development of social ‘manners’. Presented at the International Society for Research in
Emotion Conference, Atlanta, Georgia.
Davenport, M., Tiefenbacher, S., Novak, M., Maguire, V., Sudalter, L., Stonemetz, K.,
& Meyer, J. (2005). The effects of relocation on indices of hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal
activity in rhesus monkeys. Presented at the 28th American Society of Primatologists
Conference, Portland, Oregon.
Maguire, V. (2005). The function and development of gestures in chimpanzees. MSc
Presentation, University of Portsmouth, UK.
Maguire-Herring, V., & Bard, K.A. (2009) Left vs. right hand bias for the flexibly used gesture ‘touch’ in chimpanzees Presented at the Primate Mind Conference, Sicily, Italy.
Maguire-Herring, V., & Bard, K.A. (2009) The flexible use of the gesture ‘touch’ in chimpanzees. Presented at the 3rd Congress of the European Federation for Primatology, Zurich, Switzerland.
Maguire-Herring, V., & Bard, K.A. (2009) The gestural sequences of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) from 1 to 5 years of age. Presented at the 32nd American Society of Primatologists Conference, San Diego, California.
Maguire, V., & Bard, K.A. (2006). Development of social gestures in chimpanzees. Poster presented at the 29th American Society of Primatologists Conference, San Antonio, Texas.
Lutz, C., Davenport, M., Tiefenbacher, S., Sudalter, L., Stonemetz, K., Maguire, V., Meyer, J., & Novak, M. (2005). The effect of relocation on nighttime activity and salivary cortisol in singly-housed male macaca mulatta with and without a record of self-injury. Poster presented at the 28th American Society of Primatologists Conference, Portland, Oregon.