Emily J. E. Messer


  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom


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Research interests

I am a primatologist and a keen science communicator interested in social behaviour, learning, teaching, cultural evolution, and prosociality. Broadly, I am interested in exploring how different social and cultural contexts influence innovation, learning, and the transmission of information in primates. I work with children in diverse global populations, apes, and monkeys.


I graduated from The University of Dundee with a BSc Hons in Biology and then went on to do a PhD at the University of St Andrews in Psychology and Neuroscience; my thesis investigated social learning and social behaviour in capuchin and squirrel monkeys. Since finishing my PhD in 2014, I have done postdocs at The University of St Andrews and Heriot-Watt University in the U.K. and the University of Texas at Austin in the USA, working with capuchin monkeys, chimpanzees, and children studying cognitive, comparative, cross-cultural, and developmental psychology. I joined Heriot-Watt University as an Assistant Professor in January 2022. 


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