Lydia Hopper, Ph.D.
I am the Assistant Director of 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".