Davila-Ross, Dr. Marina – Vortragsexposé – Wintersemester 2019/2020

Mainzer Universitätsgespräche
Spaß verstehen – Forschung zu Lachen und Humor

Dr. Marina Davila-Ross

Reader in Comparative Psychology, University of Portsmouth, UK

The Evolution of Laughter

Vortrag in englischer Sprache

Dienstag, 5. November 2019, 18:15 Uhr, Hörsaal N 1 (Muschel)

Laughter and smiles are arguably the strongest behavioural indicators of positive emotional states in humans and they also represent pervasive tools of social communication, help to develop and maintain social relationships, and affect individuals' health and wellbeing. It, thus, may not come to a surprise that these important behaviours are deeply rooted in human biology. More specifically, empirical research on hominoids suggests that laughter and smiles are evolutionarily continuous, going back to at least the past 13 million years. As a result, an in-depth evaluation of laughter and smiles in great apes may provide a better understanding of why humans, a highly social-cognitive species, behave the way they do. This talk attempts to reconstruct the evolution of laughter and smiles in great apes and humans by assessing form and function of these expressions in their natural social interactions. A multimodal approach is applied that includes acoustic analyses, FACS (Facial Action Coding System) specifically designed to study great apes, and the coding of bodily actions. In addition, facial thermal imaging is introduced as a new physiologically-grounded method to noninvasively and continuously measure positive emotions from a comparative perspective.

Marina Davila-Ross is a Reader (Associative Professor) in Comparative Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, where she is affiliated with the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology. Her research focuses on communication and emotions in semi-wild chimpanzees in Zambia and in free-ranging orangutans in Borneo. Her research interests include vocal and multimodal communication, the evolution of language, positive and negative emotions, learning and culture, personality, phylogenetic reconstructions, thermal imaging and mimicking and empathy. Marina Davila-Ross uses field research to study wild and semi-wild great apes in order to learn more about how our closest relatives behave in their natural environment, to test predictions on the adaptive significance of hominoid traits and to reconstruct the evolution of human behaviours and abilities. In 2007, Marina Davila-Ross was awarded her PhD degree in Zoology at the Center for Systems Neuroscience in Hannover, Germany. She is also an Editorial Board Member of the journal Scientific Reports.

Nächster Vortrag in dieser Reihe:
Prof. Dr. Uwe Wirth
(Professor für Neuere Deutsche Literatur u. Kulturwissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)
Komik der Integration – Komik der Nicht-Integration
Dienstag, 12. November 2019, 18:15 Uhr, Hörsaal N 1 (Muschel)