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16:00 12 April 2017

'What can chimpanzees tell us about the evolutionary roots of reference and joint attention?' - Dr Katie Slocombe, Senior Lecturer University of York


Leolin Price Lecture Theatre, Lower Ground Floor | UCL Institute for Child Health (link Map)
30 Guilford St | WC1N 1EH | WC1N 1EH | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Student

In this talk I will explore the similarities and differences between humans and one of our closest living relatives, the chimpanzee in terms of referential signalling and engaging in joint attention, two pivotal aspects of language. I will present a series of studies focussed on the food-associated calls of chimpanzees that examine the extent to which these functionally referential calls share common features with the referential signals that characterise human language. In particular I will discuss the mechanisms underlying their production and why wild chimpanzees produce these vocalisations and finally whether the structure of these calls can be flexibly modified. I will then outline pilot data and a large scale planned study to examine joint attention skills and events in a directly comparable way in chimpanzee and human mother-infant dyads.


Petritoli, Paola