After completing a PhD in Neurosciences in France (EPHE and University of Montpellier 2) and 9 years as a postdoc and associate lecturer in Germany (Institute of Zoology, Hannover), I joined the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology as a Marie Curie Research Fellow in October 2014.

I was the PI of the 2-year project ‘Macacognitum’ (2014-2016) where I investigated the differential influence of social style on cognitive skills in closely related monkey species. I conducted observations and cognitive experiments in several European facilities: Monkey Haven on the Isle of Wight, Parco Faunistico Piano dell'Abatino in Italy (collaboration with Dr Arianna De Marco) and at the BPRC, The Netherlands (in collaboration with Prof Liesbeth Sterck).

I was appointed lecturer in the department in September 2017. I am a member of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology.

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the evolutionary dynamics of human and non-human primate behaviour and intelligence. I investigate executive functions (working memory, inhibitory control), spatial cognition, and interaction between spatial and social cognition in human and non-human primates. I conduct my research in collaboration with zoo institutions (e.g. Monkey Haven, Isle of Wight) but also in the field (e.g. Madagascar, Indonesia).


- Spatial cognition

- Spatial-social interaction

- Inhibitory control

- Social complexity and cognitive style

- Foraging strategies and decision-making

- Interspecific and individual differences in cognitive and temperament traits

- Relationship between variation in cognitive skills and fitness


Selected publications within the last 5 years:

Many Primates, Altschul DM, Beran MJ, Bohn M, Call J, DeTroy S, et al. (2019).Establishing an infrastructure for collaboration in primate cognition research. PLoS ONE 14(10): e0223675. 

Schmidtke D, Ammersdoerfer S, Joly M, Zimmermann E (2018). Disentangling spatial and non-spatial learning in a standardized, touchscreen-based object-location paired-associates-learning task (dPAL) in humans and a non-human primate. Journal of Comparative Psychology 132:315-325.

Joly M, Micheletta J, De Marco A, Langermans JA, Sterck EHM, Waller BM (2017). Comparing physical and social cognitive skills in macaque species with different degrees of social tolerance. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284:1862.

Ramanankirahina R, Joly M, Scheumann M, Zimmermann E (2016). The role of acoustic signaling for spacing and group coordination in a nocturnal, pair-living primate, the western woolly lemur (Avahi occidentalis). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 15:466-477.

Julle-Danière E, Micheletta J, Whitehouse J, Joly M, Gass C, Burrows AM, Waller BM (2015). MaqFACS (Macaque Facial Action Coding System) can be used to document facial movements in Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). PeerJ e1248

Joly M, Ammersdoerfer S, Schmidtke D, Zimmermann E (2014). Touchscreen-based cognitive tasks reveal age-related impairment in a primate aging model, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus). PLoS ONE 9(10): e109393

Teaching Responsibilities

I am the coordinator of the 2nd year unit 'Individual Differences and Psychometrics'  where I teach most of the core lectures on Personality and Intelligence. This is a core unit for the Bsc (Hons) Psychology, BSc (Hons) Forensic Psycholoogy and the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology.

I also teach in the 3rd year 'Cultural Psychology' unit.

I am a tutor for the 1st year 'Exploring Psychology' unit and the 2nd year 'Professional Development and Employability' unit.

I supervised 3rd year students for their final year project.


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