Lydia Hopper, Ph.D.

Lydia Hopper

I am a Research Scientist at the Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, where I design and coordinate the 'in-house' behavioral and cognitive research with our chimpanzees and gorillas. Prior to my current role, however, I was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Language Research Center, Georgia State University. During my time at the LRC, I worked with Dr. Sarah Brosnan on an NSF-funded project entitled "Understanding Responses to Inequity Outcomes in Non-human Primates" and, although now at Lincoln Park Zoo, I continue to collaborate with Sarah and other researchers at the LRC.

My passion is primate social cognition; how individuals navigate and understand their social world. The two main foci of my research interests and expertise are social learning and behavioral economics. In order to learn the most I can about nonhuman primate behavior, and to promote a comparative perspective, I have been fortunate to work with a number of different species including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, rhesus macaques, and squirrel monkeys.

Through my research, I have striven to not only highlight many of the nuances of nonhuman primate behavior, but also to compare and relate their responses to our own behavioral strategies. To enhance my research perspective, I have collaborated with developmental psychologists including Dr. Rebecca Williamson (Georgia State University) and Dr. Emma Flynn (Durham University). Indeed, in 2008 I was awarded an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship entitled "The Development of Social Learning in Children: The Interplay between Imitation and Emulation".

Curriculum Vitae

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Relevant Publications

Finestone, E., Bonnie, K.E., Hopper, L.M., Vreeman, V.M., Lonsdorf, E.V., & Ross, S.R. (2014). The interplay between individual, social, and environmental influences on chimpanzee food choices. Behavioural Processes. 105, 71-78

Brosnan, S.F., & Hopper, L.M. (in press). Psychological limits on animal innovation. Animal Behaviour.

Hopper, L.M., Price, S.A., Freeman, H.D., Lambeth, S.P., Schapiro, S.J., & Kendal, R.L. (2014). Influence of personality, age, sex, and estrous state on chimpanzee problem-solving success. Animal Cognition. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-013-0715-y

Hopper, L.M., Morgan, D.B., & Ross, S.R. (2014). The next direction for primatology? A commentary on Setchell (2013) International Journal of Primatology. 35(2), 341-348.

Freeman, H., Sullivan, J., Hopper, L., Talbot, C., Holmes, A., Schultz-Darken, N., Williams, LE, Brosnan, SF.(2013) Different responses to reward comparisons by three primate species. PLOS ONE. 8(10): e76297.

Hopper L.M., Lambeth S.P., Schapiro S.J. & Brosnan S.F. (2013). When given the opportunity, chimpanzees maximize personal gain rather than “level the playing field”PeerJ. 1: e165 

Freeman HD, Brosnan SF, Hopper LM, Lambeth SP, Schapiro SJ & Gosling SD. (2013). Developing a comprehensive and comparative questionnaire for measuring personality in chimpanzees using a simultaneous top-down/bottom-up design. American Journal of Primatology. 75, 1042-1053. 

Ross M.R., Gillespie K.L., Hopper L.M., Bloomsmith M.A. & Maple T.L. (2013). Differential preference for ultraviolet light among captive birds from three ecological habitats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 147: 278-285.

Hopper, L.M., Lambeth, S.P., Schapiro, S.J., Bernacky, B.J. & Brosnan, S.F. (2013). The ontogeny of social comparisons in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Journal of Primatology 2: 109

Hopper, L.M., Holmes, A.N., Williams, L.E., & Brosnan, S.F. 2013. Dissecting the mechanisms of squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis) social learning. PeerJ 1:e13, DOI 10.7717/peerj.13

Hopper, L. M. & Brosnan, S. F. (2012). Primate Cognition. Nature Education Knowledge 3(6):1.

Hopper, L.M., Lambeth, S.P. & Schapiro, S.J. (2012). An evaluation of the efficacy of video displays for use with chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). American Journal of Primatology. (doi: 10.1002/ajp.22001)

Caldwell. C.A., Schillinger, K., Evans, C.L., & Hopper, L.M. (2012). End state copying by humans (Homo sapiens): Implications for a comparative perspective on cumulative culture. Journal of Comparative Psychology. (doi: 10.1037/a0026828)

Hopper, L. M., Schapiro, S. J., Lambeth, S. P. & Brosnan, S. F. (2011). Chimpanzees' socially maintained food preferences indicate both conservatism and conformity. Animal Behaviour, 81, 1195-1202.

Hopper, LM., Flynn, EG, Wood, LAN & Whiten, A (2010) Observational learning of tool use in children: Investigating cultural spread through diffusion chains and learning mechanisms through ghost displays. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 106: 82-97

Hopper, LM (2010) 'Ghost' experiments and the dissection of social learning in humans and animals. Biological Reviews. 85(4), 685-701.

Hopper, L.M. 2010. Deferred imitation in children and apes. Children imitate after a delay, but can apes ape in a similar fashion? The Psychologist. 23, 294-297.

Whiten, A., McGuigan, N, Marshall-Pescini, S & Hopper, LM (2009) Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: B. 364: 2417-2428

Hopper, LM, Lambeth, SP, Schapiro, SJ & Whiten, A (2008) Observational learning in chimpanzees and children studied through 'ghost' conditions. Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. 275: 835-840

Hopper, LM, Spiteri, A, Lambeth, SP, Schapiro, SJ, Horner, V & Whiten, A (2007) Experimental studies of traditions and underlying transmission processes in chimpanzees. Animal Behaviour. 73: 1021-1032