Katie Hall, PhD
I'm currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo, where I am coordinating a study on chimpanzee welfare at 15 AZA-accredited institutions. Partner institutions will collect behavioral and physiological data to validate the metrics on a welfare survey, and we anticipate that individual chimpanzees' welfare will improve as a result of fostering conversations about it. Prior to my current position at Brookfield Zoo, I was a postdoctoral research fellow with Associate Professor Sarah Brosnan, in collaboration with Associate Professor Steve Schapiro at Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research of the UT/MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX. There I collected data for ongoing studies on non-human primates' responses to inequitable outcomes to determine the psychological mechanisms underlying the response to inequity; test whether personality and relationship quality affect individual variation in task response; and to evaluate responses across several genera to test whether the behavior is homologous or convergent within the primate lineage. During this postdoc, I studied chimpanzees, squirrel monkeys, and owl monkeys.
My PhD research, supervised by Professor Dick Byrne (University of St Andrews) in collaboration with Professor Frans de Waal (Emory University) was on chimpanzees' use of gaze following to modify their competitive tactics during an informed forager competition. I was particularly interested in instances of tactical deception and otherwise "Machiavellian" strategies, which are good places to look for evidence of second-order intentionality and theory-of-mind capacities. This work was inspired by a study on gaze ontogeny in bonobos, in which I took part as an undergraduate at UC San Diego. I have also been fortunate to be included as a research assistant on two field studies, on chimpanzee stress response to human impact in the forest in Uganda, and on the feeding ecology and behavioral flexibility of southern gentle lemurs in Madagascar.