Shinya Yamamoto

Shinya Yamamoto, Ph.D.

Specially Appointed Assciate Professor, Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University
Associate Professor, Kobe University

I'm studying the evolution of sociality and its related intelligence in humans and non-human animals, developing a two-by-two research paradigm: experiments and fieldwork with chimpanzees and bonobos. Recently I’ve been expanding this to our socially closest animals: dogs and horses. My main research topic is the evolution of cooperative society, altruism, and understanding others. Based on my previous work, I proposed a hypothesis that chimpanzees help others upon request, but not proactively, even when they understand others' goals. I'm trying to incorporate various methodologies and philosophies of various research fields, such as psychology, biology, ecology, sociology, and behavioral economics. My main research places are Kumamoto Sanctuary (chimpanzees and bonobos), Wamba and Mbali/Mbalebo (DR Congo: wild bonobos), Bossou (Guinea: wild chimpanzees), horse riding clubs in Japan, Serra d’Arga (Portugal: feral horses), and Taiwan (free-ranging dogs).

Keywords: evolutionary closest animals, domesticated animals, social intelligence, altruism, cooperation, empathy, culture, comparative cognitive science, fieldwork


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Education and Career Track
May 1981: Born in Nara, Japan
Mar 2004: B.A. Biology, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University
Mar 2006: M.A. Biology (Comparative Psychology), Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University
Mar 2009: Ph.D. Science (Comparative Psychology), Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University
Ph.D. thesis

An experimental study of altruism, reciprocity, and understanding of others in chimpanzees
(Supervised by Prof. Tetsuro Matsuzawa)

Selected publications
Original articles (peer-reviewed)
Filter by Captive Chimps  Wild Chimps  Wild Bonobos  Captive Bonobos  Wild Horses  clear
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Original Japanese articles with English summary

  • Takimoto, A., & Yamamoto, S. (2015) Three-factor combination model for empathy-related phenomena and relevant evidence in nonhuman primates. Shinrigaku-Hyoron (Psychological Review), 58 (3), 255-270.
  • Yamamoto, S. (2011) Evolution of altruism and cooperation: perspectives on its mechanisms and adaptation to social systems. Reichouruikenkyu, 27 (2), 95-109.
  • Yamamoto, S. (2011) Similarities and differences between humans and chimpanzees. Jinbungakuho, 100, 145-160.
  • Yamamoto, S. (2010) Helping upon request in chimpanzees: evolutionary basis for human altruism and reciprocity. Shinrigaku-Hyoron (Psychological Review), 53, 422-433.
  • Yamamoto, S. (2005) Social factors influencing within-group vigilance in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Reichouruikenkyu, 21 (1), 19-26.

Book Capters

  • Hare, B., & Yamamoto, S. Eds. (2015) The special issue “Bonobo Cognition and Behaviour”. Behaviour, Brill.
  • Sakamaki, T., Behncke, I., Laporte, M., Mulavwa, M., Ryu, H., Takemoto, H., Tokuyama, N., Yamamoto, S., & Furuichi, T. (2015) Intergroup Transfer of Females and Social Relationships Between Immigrants and Residents in Bonobo (Pan paniscus) Societies. In T. Furuichi, J. Yamagiwa, & F. Aureli (Eds.), Dispersing Primate Females: Life History and Social Strategies in Male-Philopatric Species. Tokyo: Springer-Verlag, pp. 127-164.
  • Yamamoto, S. (2013) Invention and modification of new tool-use behavior. In E. G. Carayannis (ed.), Encyclopedia of Creativity, Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, New York / Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 1131-1139. 
  • Yamamoto, S., Yamakoshi, G., Humle, T., & Matsuzawa, T.(2011) Ant-fishing in trees: invention and modification of a new tool use behavior. In T. Matsuzawa, T. Humle, & Y. Sugiyama (Eds.), The chimpanzees in Bossou and Nimba. Tokyo: Springer-Verlag, pp. 123-130.