Department Ecology, Physiology and Ethology
IPHC - UMR 7178, CNRS-UDS
23 rue Becquerel
67087 Strasbourg Cedex 2 - FRANCE
Tel : +18.104.22.168.74.60
Fax : +33.3. 22.214.171.124
e-mail : valerie.dufour(at)iphc.cnrs.fr
Scientist, permanent position, CNRS.
Born 28 september 1976
2004 - PhD in Ethology, University of Strasbourg, France.
Cognitive mechanisms and the evolution of economics in animals.
My main research project consists in studying the evolution of economics in animals. This project is born from the observation that humans share, barter and trade to an extent not seen in other species. Transfers of services or even food can be seen in non-humans, but they are not always reciprocated. One can thus question whether they rely on similar cognitive calculations as bartering in human does. To answer this question, I study comparatively primates (great apes and monkeys), corvids and canids using experimental techniques applicable to all species. I test the capacity of each species to anticipate or plan for a return, to risk a food in an exchange task, to maximize gains by investing differently according to prospective returns. I also investigate how economical skills emerge in humans by using a developmental approach. Studies are conducted with several European collaborators and host institutions : The Max Planck Institute, Germany ; the University of St-Andrews and RZSS, Scotland ; the Konrad-Lorenz-Institute in Grünau, Austria.