Emotional communication in primates: implications for neurobiology

L. Parr, Bridget Waller, J. Fugate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The social brain hypothesis proposes that large neocortex size in Homonoids evolved to cope with the increasing demands of complex group living and greater numbers of interindividual relationships. Group living requires that individuals communicate effectively about environmental and internal events. Recent data have highlighted the complexity of chimpanzee communication, including graded facial expressions and referential vocalizations. Among Hominoids, elaborate facial communication is accompanied by specializations in brain areas controlling facial movement. Finally, the evolution of empathy, or emotional awareness, might have a neural basis in specialized cells in the neocortex, that is, spindle cells that have been associated with self-conscious emotions, and mirror neurons that have recently been shown to activate in response to communicative facial gestures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-720
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


Dive into the research topics of 'Emotional communication in primates: implications for neurobiology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this