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Research Interests

Dr. Laura Simone Lewis giving a talk

Humans and our closest living phylogenetic cousins, bonobos and chimpanzees,

have extraordinary cognitive capacities for understanding their social worlds.

How have we evolved to process and respond to our social environments with such intricate and calculated techniques? 


My research explores how bonobos, chimpanzees, and humans have evolved the abilities to process, comprehend, and respond to our abundant social environments. I am also fascinated by how great apes develop the cognitive abilities to form, maintain, and deepen our social bonds. I explore the evolutionary pressures and developmental patterns that shape human and nonhuman great apes’ patterns of social attention and curiosity, long-term memory, languange comprehension, and emotion understanding.

I use non-invasive eye-tracking technology and behavioral methods to study bonobos and chimpanzees living in zoos and sanctuaries around the world, as well as children living in different cultures and countries.

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