Dr. Sofia Forss visits with one of the apes she studies

Curiosity in Apes, with Sofia Forss

“Everything that is engaging, that has a social component to it, will just evoke more and more curiosity.” ~ Sofia Forss

Sofia Forss is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Zurich, specializing in comparative cognition and animal behavior. She’s curious about how curiosity shows up in apes. 

A fascinating discussion about curiosity and the influence of others, upbringing, and perceptions of risk. What might these findings suggest for apes’ close cousins, we humans? I was surprised and intrigued over and over in this conversation. I think you will be as well.

This was an eye-opener, and a turning-point for us, because we realized: Oh! it’s not that you go out there and explore just because something is suspicious and cool and colorful. No — there are rules to this — how a species evolved when you should be curious and when not.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #184: Curiosity in Apes, with Sofia Forss

Learn more about Sofia Forss’ work and her lab at sofiaforss.com — & check out this video! (Credit: Luc Quarles)

Read Sofia’s paper: The Curious Case of Great Ape Curiosity and How It Is Shaped by Sociality.

Congratulations to Sofia and Dr. Elisa Bandini for winning this year’s Early Career Award from the Einstein Foundation for promoting quality in research. The Award of €100,000 goes to support their Ape Research Index project.

See what the Social Curiosity workshop had to offer. Kudos to The Psychology of Language Department at the University of Göttingen and the Social Learning Lab at Stanford University for the great program. Totally worth the early mornings!

Listen to my episode about curiosity at the National Zoo here.

Theme music by Sean Balick; ”Trivial Call” by Bayou Birds via Blue Dot Sessions.

You can subscribe to Choose to be Curious on iTunes and Stitcher.

Check out the Choose to be Curious shop

"Evolution may seldom select strongly for curiosity." ~ Sofia Forss, Choose to be Curious, episode 184

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