Biography

I am a member of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology and associate director of the Macaca Nigra Project. I completed my PhD in 2012 working on the link between crested macaques’ communication and their social system (with Bridget Waller and Antje Engelhardt). I obtained my Masters in Eco-physiology and Ethology at the Louis Pasteur University of Strasbourg (France) in 2007 and studied Zoology as an undergraduate at the Henry Poincare University of Nancy (France). Before joining the University of Portsmouth, I worked as a Field Assistant for the Macaca Nigra Project, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the evolution of social communication. I am particularly interested in the link between social complexity and communication complexity. I mostly study the communication system of the socially tolerant and understudied crested macaque (Macaca nigra), combining observations of wild animals and cognitive experiment with captive populations.

I am currently leading the NetFACS project, which is funded by the Leverhulme Trust. In this project, we combine the Facial Action Coding System (an anatomically-based system designed to break-down facial expressions into their most basic observable units, the contraction of individual facial muscles) with Social Network Analysis (a method to measure relationships between units in a system) to develop a novel framework to study communication via the face: NetFACS. In this framework, facial expressions will be conceptualised as a network of facial muscles, interacting to produce communication. This method will take into account the dynamic nature of facial expressions and therefore, better reflect its complexity.

Teaching Responsibilities

I teach on the undergraduate degree programmes for BSc Psychology and BSc Forensic Psychology. I coordinate the Research Project module for the MRes Science, and the Animal Behaviour module for the BSc Psychology. I also supervise undergraduate dissertations related to comparative and evolutionary psychology, social cognition, and primate behaviour.

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