Federica Amici

Federica Amici
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | EVA · Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture

PhD

About

86
Publications
16,931
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1,982
Citations
Citations since 2016
55 Research Items
1649 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250

Publications

Publications (86)
Article
Gestures play an essential role in primate communication. However, little is known about how complexity of gestural use (in terms of repertoire size, intentional use, flexibility and use of gestural sequences) relates to individual and dyadic measures of sociality and whether more complex gestural use is more effective in eliciting a response. We o...
Article
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Compositionality is the ability to combine meaningful elements into new combinations with novel meanings, and it has long been considered one of the main hallmarks of human communication. However, very few studies have addressed the compositional aspects of communication in species other than humans, although a comparative approach is essential to...
Article
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Foraging devices are effective enrichment tools for non-human primates, as they provide both cognitive and manipulative stimulation that may enhance these animals’ welfare. We assessed the behavioral effects of a novel tool-based enrichment on 14 chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes ) housed at Fundació Mona (Girona, Spain). The device consisted of a vert...
Article
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Background In the first years of their lives, children develop the cognitive, social and emotional skills that will provide the foundations for their lifelong health and achievements. To increase their life prospects and reduce the long-term effects of early aversive conditions, it is therefore crucial to understand the risk factors that negatively...
Article
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When studying animal behavior in the wild, some behaviors may require observation from a relatively short distance. In these cases, habituation is commonly used to ensure that animals do not perceive researchers as a direct threat and do not alter their behavior in their presence. However, habituation can have significant effects on the welfare and...
Article
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Forest loss due to anthropogenic activities is one of the main causes of plant and animal species decline. Studying the species’ population status (i.e., density, abundance, and geographic distribution) on a regular basis is one of the main tools to assess the effect of anthropogenic activities on wildlife, to monitor population dynamics and to int...
Article
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With increasing anthropogenic pressure, interactions between humans and wildlife may become more frequent, including conflictual ones. To reduce conflicts, it is important to understand how different factors (e.g. education, previous experience, demographic variables) interplay with each other and contribute to the emergence of negative attitudes a...
Poster
During the first years, mothers represent the strongest social bond for many primates, as they provide care, food, and protection to their offspring, and facilitates their interaction with the physical and social environment. The way in which mothers take care of their offspring (i.e., maternal style) can vary depending on attributes of the mother-...
Article
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Anthropogenic pressure has significantly increased in the last decades, often enhancing conflicts at the human–wildlife interface. Therefore, understanding peoples’ value orientations, attitudes and behavioural intentions towards wildlife is a crucial endeavour to reduce the occurrence of conflicts between humans and wildlife. Previous research in...
Article
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Invasive research on primates (i.e., laboratory research that implies body manipulations causing pain or distress that is not aimed to directly improve the individuals’ well-being) has a long history. Although some invasive studies have allowed answering research questions that we could not have addressed with other methods (or at least not as quic...
Article
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Artificial termite-fishing tasks are a common enrichment for captive great apes, promoting species-typical behaviors. Nonetheless, whether these activities are linked to changes in other behaviors and whether these changes persist over time has seldom been investigated. We assessed whether the use of an artificial termite-fishing task was linked to...
Article
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Non-human primates show an impressive behavioral diversity, both across and within species. However, the factors explaining intra-specific behavioral variation across groups and individuals are yet understudied. Here, we aimed to assess how group size and living conditions (i.e., captive, semi-free-ranging, wild) are linked to behavioral variation...
Article
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Snake predation is considered an important evolutionary force for primates. Yet, very few studies have documented encounters between primates and snakes in the wild. Here, we provide a preliminary account of how wild moor macaques ( Macaca maura ) respond to seven species of real and model snakes. Snakes could be local and dangerous to the macaques...
Article
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Neophobia (the fearful reaction to novel stimuli or situations) has a crucial effect on individual fitness and can vary within and across species. However, the factors predicting this variation are still unclear. In this study, we assessed whether individual characteristics (rank, social integration, sex) and species socio-ecological characteristic...
Article
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Background Comparative cognition has historically focused on a few taxa such as primates, birds or rodents. However, a broader perspective is essential to understand how different selective pressures affect cognition in different taxa, as more recently shown in several studies. Here we present the same battery of cognitive tasks to two understudied...
Article
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Generally, nonreproductive sex is thought to act as “social grease,” facilitating peaceful coexistence between subjects that lack close genetic ties. However, specifc nonreproductive sexual behaviors may fulfill different functions. With this study, we aimed to test whether nonreproductive mounts in Barbary macaques are used to 1) assert dominance,...
Article
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Many species, including humans, rely on an ability to differentiate between quantities to make decisions about social relationships, territories, and food. This study is the first to investigate whether giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are able to select the larger of two sets of quantities in different conditions, and how size and density affect...
Article
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The ability to solve novel problems is crucial for individual fitness. However, studies on problem solving are usually done on few taxa, with species with low encephalization quotient being rarely tested. Here, we aimed to study problem solving in a non-domesticated ungulate species, European bison, with two experimental tasks. In the first task, f...
Article
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Gaze sensitivity allows us to interpret the visual perspective of others, inferring their intentions and attentional states. In order to clarify the evolutionary history of this ability, we assessed the response of free-ranging Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) to human gaze in three contexts: threat (Experiment 1), cooperation (Experiment 2), and...
Article
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In several species, rank predicts access to food, and subordinates may need specific behavioural strategies to get a share of resources. This may be especially important in despotic species, where resources are strongly biased in favour of dominants and subordinates may more strongly rely on specific tactics to maximize food intake. Here, we compar...
Article
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Primates live in complex social systems with social structures ranging from more to less despotic. In less despotic species, dominance might impose fewer constraints on social choices, tolerance is greater than in despotic species and subordinates may have little need to include novel food items in the diet (i.e. neophilia), as contest food competi...
Article
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Abstract The ability to predict others’ behaviour represents a crucial mechanism which allows individuals to react faster and more appropriately. To date, several studies have investigated humans’ ability to predict conspecifics’ behaviour, but little is known on our ability to predict behaviour in other species. Here, we aimed to test humans’ abil...
Article
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Gaze following is the ability to use others’ gaze to obtain information about the environment (e.g., food location, predators, and social interactions). As such, it may be highly adaptive in a variety of socio-ecological contexts, and thus be widespread across animal taxa. To date, gaze following has been mostly studied in primates, and partially i...
Article
Play is widespread across mammalian taxa, but species strongly vary in the ways they play. In less despotic primate species (i.e., with less steep dominance hierarchies , less severe conflicts, and more reconciliation), play has been described as being more frequent, cooperative, and freely expressed. To study the link between social play and domin...
Article
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Personality has been linked to individual variation in interest and performance in cog-nitive tasks. Nevertheless, this relationship is still poorly understood and has rarely been considered in animal cognition research. Here, we investigated the association between personality and interest, motivation and task performance in 13 sanctuary chimpanze...
Article
Mirror self-recognition (MSR), usually considered a marker of self-awareness, occurs in several species and may reflect a capacity that has evolved in small incremental steps. In line with research on human development and building on previous research adopting a gradualist framework, we categorized the initial mirror responses of naïve spider monk...
Chapter
Social cognitive skills play a crucial role in human life, and have allowed us to reach a unique level of behavioral and cultural complexity. However, many nonhuman species also show a complex understanding of the social world. Building on theories of human social development, we will follow the emergence of cultural learning skills across taxa, di...
Article
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Innovation is the ability to solve novel problems or find novel solutions to familiar problems, and it is known to affect fitness in both human and non-human animals. In primates, innovation has been mostly studied in captivity, although differences in living conditions may affect individuals’ ability to innovate. Here, we tested innovation in a wi...
Article
Episodic memory is the ability to recollect specific past events belonging to our personal experience, and it is one of the most crucial human abilities, allowing us to mentally travel through time. In animals, however, evidence of what-where-when memory (hereafter, WWW memory) is limited to very few taxa, mostly reflecting the socioecological chal...
Article
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Cooperative hunting is generally considered to be a cognitively challenging activity, as individuals have to coordinate movements along with a partner and at the same time react to the prey. Wolves are said to engage in cooperative hunting regularly, whereas dogs could have maintained, improved, or reduced their cooperative skills during the domest...
Article
Access to food is of major importance to the fitness and survival of every individual, particularly in group‐living animals, in which individual characteristics and food distribution can affect food intake. Additionally, several species of primates are known to share food under certain conditions. Such unresisted transfer of food from one individua...
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Inter-specific emotion recognition is especially adaptive when species spend a long time in close association, like dogs and humans. Here, we comprehensively studied the human ability to recognize facial expressions associated with dog emotions (hereafter, emotions). Participants were presented with pictures of dogs, humans and chimpanzees, showing...
Article
The ability to innovate and the social transmission of innovations have played a central role in human evolution. However, innovation is also crucial for other animals, by allowing them to cope with novel socioecological challenges. Although innovation plays such a central role in animals’ lives, we still do not know the conditions required for inn...
Article
It is now well established that sociality plays a crucial role in primates. For example, among non-human primates, individuals with strong social bonds significantly increase their fecundity, reproductive success, offspring survival and longevity. Also in humans, social integration positively affects psychological stress, health and survival. Howev...
Article
The ability to solve novel problems is crucial for the survival and fitness of individuals living in dynamic environments. Studies of problem-solving date back to the beginning of the past century, but our knowledge is nonetheless still limited to very few taxa. In this study, we aimed to test a species of the order Carnivora, sloth bears (Melursus...
Article
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The relationship between language and thought is controversial. One hypothesis is that language fosters habits of processing information that are retained even in non-linguistic domains. In left-branching (LB) languages, modifiers usually precede the head, and real-time sentence comprehension may more heavily rely on retaining initial information i...
Article
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Preferential affiliative relationships, or social bonds, play a crucial role in primate social life, but little is known about their development. Here, we review macaque studies investigating the social development of both sexes. Firstly, we highlight the emergence of sex differences in mother–offspring bonds, as macaque mothers form stronger bonds...
Article
Hope and Gabbert (2008) and Jay and colleagues (in press) show us that collaborative remembering, in certain contexts, may result in incomplete and less accurate memories. Here, I will discuss the evolutionary origins of this behavior, linking it to phenomena such as social contagion, conformity, and social learning, which are highly adaptive and w...
Article
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Although behavior, biology, and ecology of giraffes have been widely studied, little is known about their cognition. Giraffes’ feeding ecology and their fission–fusion social dynamics are comparable with those of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), suggesting that they might have complex cognitive abilities. To assess this, we tested 6 captive giraffes...
Article
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Proops, Grounds, Smith, and McComb (2018) suggest that horses remember previous emotional expressions of specific humans, and use these memories to adjust their behavior in future social interactions. Despite some methodological shortcomings, this study raises important questions on the complexity of social interactions in nonhuman animals, which s...
Article
Male reproductive strategies have been well studied in primate species where the ability of males to monopolize reproductive access is high. Less is known about species where males cannot monopolize mating access. Vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) are interesting in this regard as female codominance reduces the potential for male monopolizat...
Book
Google Books: https://goo.gl/FeHpuf. Abstract: Would you ask a honeybee to point at a screen and recognise a facial expression? Or ask an elephant to climb a tree? While humans and non-human species may inhabit the same world, it's likely that our perceptual worlds differ significantly. Emphasising Uexküll's concept of 'umwelt', this volume offers...
Article
From early infancy, humans reason about the external world in terms of identifiable, solid, cohesive objects persisting in space and time. This is one of the most fundamental human skills, which may be part of our innate conception of object properties. Although object permanence has been extensively studied across a variety of taxa, little is know...
Article
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The ability to inhibit previously employed strategies and flexibly adjust behavioural responses to external conditions may be critical for individual survival. However, it is unclear which factors predict their distribution across species. Here, we investigated social inhibition and behavioural flexibility in six primate species (chimpanzees, bonob...
Article
Recent studies have shown that several species within the Carnivore order show impressive cognitive skills. However, bears, especially sloth bears, have received little attention with regard to their cognitive abilities. Here we presented seven sloth bears with three tasks to test their object permanence, short-term memory and ability to use acoust...
Article
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Full text view only available here: http://rdcu.be/uE2w Although humans are usually believed to be prosocial, the evolutionary origins of prosociality are largely debated. One hypothesis is that cooperative breeding has been one major precursor to the emergence of prosociality. In vertebrates, however, experimental evidence of prosociality has been...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Giraffes live in complex social systems and are very selective foragers (Dagg, 2014), and they are therefore good candidates to have complex cognitive skills. However, no study has so far specifically assessed their physical cognition. Here, we tested six giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) at Barcelona and Leipzig Zoos in a forced-choice task to ass...
Article
Here, we specifically discuss why and to what extent we agree with Burkart et al. about the coexistence of general intelligence and modular cognitive adaptations, and why we believe that the distinction between primary and secondary modules they propose is indeed essential.
Conference Paper
Prosociality entails behaviours where individuals improve other’s welfare. There is a current debate to evidence which species different from humans show prosociality. In the lab, primates fail to donate food except for some studies in cooperative breeding species, linking this social structure to the emergence of prosociality. We tested this link...
Article
Correspondence: A. Sánchez-Amaro, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103, Leipzig, Germany.
Article
Humans have attained an unparalleled level of sophistication when engaging in collaborative and cooperative activities. Remarkably, the skills and motivation to engage in complex forms of collaboration and cooperation seem to emerge early on during infancy and childhood. In this paper, I extensively review the literature on the evolution and develo...
Article
Biological Market Theory (BMT) has provided an elegant framework to study how commodities are exchanged among individuals. In primates, BMT predicts that individuals exchange grooming with other commodities based on the law of supply and demand. However, BMT still suffers some theoretical and methodological limitations. Our aim in this paper is to...
Article
Previous research found that cohesionmanipulations (e.g., splitting an object into two parts)may have deleterious effects on infants' object representation. The present study investigatedwhether the cohesion principle is relevant onlywhen assessing the continuity of inanimate objects, or whether it is equally fundamental for the perception and repr...
Article
Aggressive behavior plays a central role in primate life, having a crucial effect on their reproductive performance and survival and possibly affecting the formation and maintenance of social bonds. Although aggressive behavior might serve a different function in males and females, and sex differences in aggressive behavior seem to emerge early dur...
Article
Several studies have documented the importance of social bonding for the enhancement of individual fitness. However, little is known about how social relationships develop through ontogeny, and whether their development follows the same trajectory in males and females. Here we analyzed affiliative interactions (proximity, social grooming, play) com...
Article
In recent years, substantial effort has been devoted to methods for analyzing data containing mixed response types, but such techniques typically do not include rank data among the response types. Some unique challenges exist in analyzing rank data, particularly when ties are prevalent. We present techniques for jointly modeling binomial and rank d...
Article
High levels of fission-fusion dynamics (FFD) may constitute a form of social complexity and have been linked to the enhancement of specific cognitive skills. Species with high levels of FFD, for example, experience frequent changes in subgroup size and composition. If the appropriate response to a situation depends on the social context, and the so...
Article
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Previous research has demonstrated that adults are successful at visually tracking rigidly moving items, but experience great difficulties when tracking substance-like “pouring” items. Using a comparative approach, we investigated whether the presence/absence of the grammatical count–mass distinction influences adults and children’s ability to atte...
Article
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Prosociality can be defined as any behaviour performed to alleviate the needs of others or to improve their welfare. Prosociality has probably played an essential role in the evolution of cooperative behaviour and several studies have already investigated it in primates to understand the evolutionary origins of human prosociality. Two main tasks ha...
Article
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Proactive, that is, unsolicited, prosociality is a key component of our hyper-cooperation, which in turn has enabled the emergence of various uniquely human traits, including complex cognition, morality and cumulative culture and technology. However, the evolutionary foundation of the human prosocial sentiment remains poorly understood, largely bec...
Article
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Little evidence of calculated reciprocity has been found in non-human primates so far. In this study, we used a simple experimental set-up to test whether partners pulled a sliding table to altruistically provide food to each other in short-term interactions. We tested 46 dyads of chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, brown capuchin monkeys a...
Article
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Significance Although scientists have identified surprising cognitive flexibility in animals and potentially unique features of human psychology, we know less about the selective forces that favor cognitive evolution, or the proximate biological mechanisms underlying this process. We tested 36 species in two problem-solving tasks measuring self-con...