Monkey hang out behaviour on the rock

23 January 2014

BPRC - 1. Monkey hang out behaviour on the rock

What can we learn from monkey behaviour? Can monkey behaviour explain something about our own social behaviour? Do monkeys have the capacity to think? Prof. Dr. Liesbeth Sterck hopes to find answers to these questions. On Wednesday January 22 2014, she held her inaugural speech ‘Chillen op de apenrots’.

Prof. Dr. Liesbeth Sterck is affiliated to the Department of Biology at Utrecht University where on 1 April 2013, she was appointed as Professor of Ecological determinants of behaviour. She also holds a position as section head of the ethological research at the BPRC. The presence at BPRC of several groups of macaques under conditions that mimic nature offers the opportunity to perform research on social monkey behaviour.

Prof. Dr. Liesbeth Sterck suspects that monkeys have some sort of intelligence that is needed for social behaviour. Using behavioural experiments, observations and simulations, she hopes to be able to demonstrate this. Her leading research has already shown that monkeys possess at least some kind of intelligence and can effectively close friendships.

Through the application of this type of research on socially more complex situations, she hopes to be able to use the ‘monkey-group-society’ as model for our own way of living, gaining more insight into social behaviour within our own dynamic society.