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James Rilling, PhD

Yerkes Researcher

Phone: 404-727-3062


Lab Web Site:


James K. Rilling, PhD, uses neuroimaging to compare the human brain with the brains of nonhuman primates in an attempt to identify the unique features of the human brain and to learn about human brain evolution.
Dr. Rilling and his research team have used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to compare white matter connectivity across species to determine if the human brain is wired differently from other primate brains. They have described differences between humans and other primates in the size and trajectory of pathways involved in language. Dr. Rilling’s use of DTI builds from his previous research that used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for morphometric comparisons and positron emission tomography (PET) for comparisons of brain function.

Currently, Dr. Rilling is supervising students who are comparing the density and distribution of oxytocin and vasopressin receptors across the brains of various primate species.

Outside of Yerkes, Dr. Rilling conducts research on the neural bases of human cooperative behavior and human paternal caregiving.


View publications on PubMed