Primatologist to speak about empathy, fairness and emotions in animals

March 7, 2014  

Frans B. M. De Waal

Frans B. M. De Waal 

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Frans B. M. de Waal, a primatologist known for studying emotions and empathy in animals, will speak on April 1 at Purdue University.

"Prosocial Primates: Empathy in Animals and Humans" will begin at 8 p.m. in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. The event, which is free and open to the public, is the keynote address for the College of Health and Human Sciences' Life Inspired annual showcase.

De Waal is a Dutch American primatologist who focuses on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion and food sharing. His books include "Chimpanzee Politics," "Our Inner Ape," "The Age of Empathy" and "The Bonobo and the Atheist."

De Waal is the Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Emory University Psychology Department in Atlanta. He also is director of Emory's Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

"Frans de Waal's studies on primates — how they fight, reconcile, share and cooperate — draw fascinating similarities with human behavior," said Christine Ladisch, dean of Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences. "Dr. de Waal's presentation should be of great interest and relevance to people across many disciplines and interests. We look forward to him speaking at Purdue."

Life Inspired is the College of Health and Human Sciences' annual showcase of events for the college's students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Life Inspired events demonstrate how education, creativity, dedication and passion are key to improving quality of life.

The college is home to the departments of Consumer Science; Health and Kinesiology; Human Development and Family Studies; Nutrition Science; Psychological Sciences; Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences; and the schools of Health Sciences, Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Nursing.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Sources: Christine Ladisch,

Travis D. Tester, director of donor relations and events for the College of Health and Human Sciences, 765-494-0355,

Note to Journalists: Journalists are invited to attend the April 1 talk, but the event cannot be recorded. Still photography is allowed. 

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