William D. Hopkins, PhD, takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying human evolution, particularly the evolution of human language. Through the study of nonhuman primates, the Hopkins lab is increasing our understanding of the roles that behavior, laterality, neuroanatomy, cellular organization and cortical function may have played in the evolution of human language.
Dr. Hopkins’ studies are focused on the documentation of functional asymmetries in nonhuman primates. This includes assessments of handedness, visual-half field studies and behavioral studies of facial expressions. The second line of behavioral research in chimpanzees is focused on gestural and vocal communication, particularly the functional use of communicative signals in chimpanzees. In addition, the lab has completed studies in chimpanzees using positron emission tomography (PET) to localize the motor hand area in this species and to explore the areas of the brain involved in the production of chimpanzee vocal and gestural communication.
Dr. Hopkins collaborates with a number of researchers at Yerkes, including Drs. Todd Preuss, James Rilling and Larry Young.
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