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Comparing the presence or absence of touch on the face by infants in primate phylogeny and in different developmental contexts

Grant number: 22/08500-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): January 09, 2023
Effective date (End): July 08, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal Investigator:Patrícia Izar Mauro
Grantee:Beatriz Franco Felício dos Santos
Supervisor: Kim A. Bard
Host Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Portsmouth, England  
Associated to the scholarship:21/12799-0 - Touching the face by Sapajus libidinosus infants: recognition or strengthening of social ties?, BP.MS


Touch has a great impact on the healthy development of infants, especially when they are held and caressed. But there is not much literature about the influence of touch made by infants, nor on developmental changes in touch. Recent work has shown that by having the opportunity to investigate objects manually, capuchin monkeys learned more quickly to differentiate these objects visually. In this research internship, I will seek to describe the presence of face-touchings by chimpanzee infants (Pan troglodytes) and human compare with my master's study of face-touching in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus), Considering the role of the skin contact in social development and communication, we want to document the frequency of behaviour in three different primates, allowing us to infer its adaptive importance by maintaining the behaviour in phylogenetically close species. For this, it is intended, during the internship, to analyze more than seven hours of video of chimpanzee infants in group-living, captive settings, more than seven hours of video from chimpanzee infants living in the wild and two hours of video for two chimpanzee infant raised by humans and 8 hours of video of human infants from urban UK settings, 12 hours of video from infants living in subsistence faming communities in Cameroon, and 10 hours of video from hunter-gatherer communities. These videos are part of the digital data archive held by Prof Kim A Bard, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, UK. After returning to Brazil, a comparison will be made with the data obtained during the master's research with capuchin monkeys. (AU)

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