Dr Alexander Mielke

alex mielke

 

Research Affiliate and Newton International Visiting Fellow

I am a Research Affiliate in the Primate Models for Behavioural Evolution Lab, studying the cognitive mechanisms enabling primates to cooperate and navigate their everyday social encounters. By comparing how predictable the social interactions and relationships are of two primate species, sooty mangabeys and Western chimpanzees living in the Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire, I try to understand where the need for complex cognitive skills arises. I investigate how the social context – the presence and actions of other group members – influences how individuals decide when, how, and with whom to cooperate towards a common goal, using both direct observations and snake models as experimental stimuli. I am particularly interest in how primates decide with whom to start strong social bonds, and how they make sure that their friends actually uphold their part of the bargain.