Exploring the evolution of animal minds
Discover our research in the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology (CCEP)
The Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology (CCEP) is a multidisciplinary team of psychologists (developmental, cognitive, social and biological) and behavioural biologists.
Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology is the scientific study of the origins of mind and behaviour, and our work explores the evolutionary processes underpinning human behaviour and the comparison of humans with other animals. We have particular expertise in comparative social and spatial cognition, emotion, communication and facial expression.
Within the Centre (and in our Dog Cognition Centre) we are exploring the origins of mind and behaviour through the consideration of evolutionary processes and the comparison of humans with other animals. We're interested in how social structures are formed and how we can apply evolutionary thinking to understand today's problems.
And through a deeper understanding of the minds and behaviours of animals, we're exploring how humans have evolved – from how social structures are formed, to the ways in which evolutionary thinking can help solve the problems of today. Our research portal, Pure, has a full list of our staff and researchers working in this area.
CCEP research focuses on the following areas:
Our evolutionary psychology research covers the following topics:
- Human Evolutionary Psychology – including facial attractiveness; flirting; disgust sensitivity; olfaction; human facial expression; hormones and behaviour; personality; emotion; cooperation; human development
- Primate Cognition – including communication; facial expression; FACS; acoustics; friendship; comparative developmental psychology; theory of mind; emotion; laughter; cooperation; reputation formation; competition; social learning; personality and learning; joint attention; decision-making; executive functioning; spatial cognition
- Human-Animal Interaction, Conservation and Welfare – including conservation and rehabilitation of orangutans and sun bears in Borneo, elephant conservation, companion and working equid welfare; indices of positive emotion; stereotypies and maladaptive behaviour, public engagement in science, enrichment, education programs in Indonesia, animal advocacy and animal rights; animal–assisted therapy
- Domestication and Cognition – including influence of domestication on cognition; animal-human communication; theory of mind in dogs; horse social cognition and behaviour; facial expressions; secondary emotions; emotion expression and perception, cooperation; reputation formation; inequity aversion; multi-sensory perception; physiological indices of emotion; friendship
Recent publication highlights include:
Haux, L. M., Engelmann, J. M., Arslan, R. C., Hertwig, R., and Herrmann, E. (2023) "Chimpanzee and human risk preferences show key similarities", Psychological Science.
Crested macaque facial movements are more intense and stereotyped in potentially risky social interactions
Clark, P. R., Waller, B., Agil, M.,and Micheletta, J. (2022) "Crested macaque facial movements are more intense and stereotyped in potentially risky social interactions", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
Taylor, D., Gustafsson, E., Dezecache, G., and Davila-Ross, M. (2022) "Directedness and engagement in chimpanzee vocal ontogeny", Developmental Science
Grinsted, L., Schou, M. F., Settepani, V., Holm, C., Chobolo, L., Dintwe, G., and Bilde, T. (2022) "Diverging cooperative prey capture strategies in convergently evolved social spiders", Journal of Arachnology
Kaminski, J. (2021) "Domestic dogs: born human whisperers", Current Biology
Bard, K. A., Keller, H., Ross, K. M., Hewlett, B., Butler, L., Boysen, S. T., and Matsuzawa, T. (2021) "Joint attention in human and chimpanzee infants in varied socio-ecological contexts", Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development
Lewis, K. E., Parker, M., Proops, L., and McBride, S. D. (2022), "Risk factors for stereotypic behaviour in captive ungulates", Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
ManyPrimates, Herrmann, E., Joly, M., and Loyant, L. (Accepted/In press) "The evolution of primate short-term memory", Animal Behavior and Cognition
Dr Juliane Kaminski
Professor Kim A. Bard
Dr Marina Davila Ross
Dr Lena Grinsted
Dr Esther Herrmann
Dr Marine Joly
Dr Jerome Micheletta
Dr Sophie Milward
Dr Paul Morris
Mr Ed Morrison
Dr Leanne Proops
Dr Lucy Bates
Dr Teresa Romero
Current postdoctoral researchers: Alan Rincon
Current postgraduate researchers: Olivia Barber, Violet Burek, James Clay, Madeleine Cleal, Peter Clark, Fabio Crepaldi, Melody Darblade, Barbara Fontana, Alexander Freemantle, Emily Haddy, Jennifer Leighton, Kate Lewis, Louise Loyant, Claire Perez, Florence Rocque, Jasmine Rollings, Laura Saunders, Derry Taylor
Interested in postgraduate study in Psychology?
Internships and volunteering opportunities at the CCEP
We also offer internships and volunteering opportunities, please contact one of our member directly or the CCEP director, Juliane Kaminski.
Partnerships and funding
Our partnerships include:
- Monkey Haven on the Isle of Wight – in partnership with Monkey Haven, we conduct cognitive and behavioural studies with rescued primates
- The Macaca Nigra Project in Indonesia – we're linked with this unique fieldsite to study the behaviour of wild crested macaques
- The Donkey Sanctuary – we collaborate with the sanctuary on research into the behavioural and logistical support needed for global welfare projects
Our recent funders include the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Leverhulme Trust, Marie Curie, the British Academy , The Leakey Foundation, The Waltham Foundation and the Royal Society. You can also see a full list of our recent funding awards at our research portal.
Explore our research
Dog Cognition Centre
In the Dog Cognition Centre, we're exploring the behaviour and cognitive processes of man's best friend – and studying everything from human-dog communication, to facial expressions in dogs.
Department of Psychology
Explore the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, and learn more about the teaching and research activities happening within the department.
Researchers in the Department of Psychology are studying macaque cognition and behaviour. Find out more about this research project.