Masayuki TANAKA

Doctor of Science, Kyoto University

My research topics are comparative cognitive studies in zoo animals.
What do zoo animals perceive their artificial environment?
How do artificial environments make impact on behaviors in zoo animals. How can we promote more "natural" behaviors in zoo animals? From such perspectives, following researches are progressing:

1) Social intelligence in a group learning situation by captive chimpanzees.
2) Learning of a computer-based task in mandrills and a white-handed gibbon.
3) Observation of nocturnal behavior patterns in a Asian elephant.
4) Observation of mother-infant interaction in perinatal period of Brazilian tapirs.

All researches are carried out in Kyoto City Zoo (only in Japanese):

Positions held

  • 1991-1993 the master's course, Graduate school of Science, Kyoto University
  • 1993-1995 the doctoral course, Graduate school of Science, Kyoto University
  • 1993-1995 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellow
  • 1995-1997 Assistant Researcher, Section of Language and Cognition, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
  • 1997-2008 Assistant Professor, Section of Language and Intelligence, Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University
  • 2008-2013 Associate Professor, Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University
  • 2013- Specially Appointed Professor, Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University

Selected publications

  1. Tanaka, M., Uchikoshi, M. (2010) Visual preference in a human-reared agile gibbon (Hylobates agilis). Primates 51: 63-67.
  2. Yamamoto, Tanaka (2010) The influence of kin relationship and reciprocal context on chimpanzeesf other-regarding preferences. Animal Behaviour, in press
  3. Tanaka, M., Yamamoto, S. (2009) Token transfer between mother and offspring chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): mother-offspring interaction in a competitive situation. Animal Cognition 12(S1): 19-26.
  4. Yamamoto, S., & Tanaka, M. (2009) How did altruism and reciprocity evolve in humans? Perspectives from experiments on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Interactive studies, 10: 150-182..
  5. Yamamoto, S., Tanaka, M. (2009) Selfish strategies develop in social problem situations in chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) mother-infant pairs. Animal Cognition 12(S1): 27-36.
  6. Hayashi, M., Sekine, S., Tanaka, M., & Takeshita, H. (2009) Copying a model stack of colored blocks by chimpanzees and humans. Interactive studies, 10: 130-149.
  7. Yamamoto, S., Tanaka, M. (2009) Do chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) spontaneously take turns in a reciprocal cooperation task? Journal of Comparative Psychology 123 (3): 242-249
  8. Yamamoto, S., Humle, T., & Tanaka, M. (2009) Chimpanzees help each other upon request. PLoS ONE,
  9. Kano, F., Tanaka, M., & Tomonaga, M. (2008) Enhanced recognition of emotional stimuli in the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Animal Cognition, 11, 517-524.
  10. Okamoto-Barth, S., Tomonaga, M., Tanaka, M., & Matsuzawa, T. (2008) Development of using experimenter-given cues in infant chimpanzees: Longitudinal changes in behavior and cognitive development. Developmental Science 11(1), 98-108.
  11. Tanaka, M. (2007) Recognition of pictorial representations by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Animal Cognition 10, 169-179
  12. Tanaka, M. (2007) Development of visual preference of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) for photographs of primates: effect of social experience. Primates 48, 303-309.
  13. Tomonaga, M., Imura, T., Mizuno, Y., Tanaka, M. (2007) Gravity Bias in Young and Adult Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Tests with Modified Opaque-Tubes Task. Developmental Science, 10(3), 411-421.
  14. Okamoto-Barth, S., Kawai, N., Tanaka, M., & Tomonaga, M. (2007) Looking compensates for the distance between mother and infant chimpanzee. Developmental Science, 10: 172-182.
  15. Tanaka, M. (2006). Spontaneous categorization of natural objects in chimpanzees. In T. Matsuzawa, M. Tomonaga, M. Tanaka (ed.) Cognitive development in chimpanzees. Tokyo, Springer. pp 340--367.
  16. Murai, C., Kosugi, D., Tomonaga, M., Tanaka, M., Matsuzawa, T., & Itakura, S. (2005) Can Chimpanzee infants (Pan troglodytes) form category representations in the same manner as human infants (Homo sapiens)? Developmental Science, 8(3), 240-254.
  17. Tomonaga, M., Tanaka, M., Matsuzawa, T., Myowa-Yamakoshi, M., Kosugi, D., Mizuno, Y., Okamoto, S., Yamaguchi, K. M., Bard, K. A. (2004). Development of Social Cognition in Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Infants: Face recognition, smiling, mutual gaze, gaze following and the lack of triadic interactions. Japanese Psychological Research, 46(3), 227- 235.
  18. Tanaka, M. (2003). Visual preference by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) for photos of primates measured by a free choice-order task: implication for influence of social experience. Primates 44, 157-165. Tanaka, M., Tomonaga, M., & Matsuzawa, T. i2003j Finger drawing by infant chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Animal Cognition 6(4), 245 - 251.
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