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Miss Emma Doherty

Research Postgraduate

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Research Postgraduate in the Department of Psychology  



My current research focuses on communication development in our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees and bonobos, from a multimodal perspective. I am particularly interested in how the social environment impacts signal production during ontogeny across the two species. By uncovering developmental patterns, I aim to highlight cognitive mechanisms underlying the learning processes of multimodal signal production and thus broaden our understanding of the selective pressures which may have driven the elaboration of the multimodal signalling within human language.

Previous to coming to Durham I completed a MSc in Biological Anthropology at the Australian National University, Canberra in 2018 and a BSc in Zoology at Queens University, Belfast in 2015, working with primates in Indonesia, Kenya and Malaysia inbetween.

Supervised by Dr Zanna Clay here at Durham with external supervision from Dr Marina Davila-Ross at the University of Portsmouth.

Research interests

  • Evolution and development of language
  • Human evolution
  • Primate behaviour
  • Primate communication
  • Primate evolution