Duncan Wilson

Postdoctoral Researcher (Doctoral Candidate 2015-2019)

Section of Language and Intelligence


I am interested in applying cognitive measures from human psychological research to assess emotion and welfare states in animals, especially non-human primates. My MSc project investigated behavioural laterality (eye preferences) as a potential welfare measure in capuchin monkeys. My Doctorate explored attentional bias towards threatening faces in chimpanzees. I am currently comparing emotional attention between humans and chimpanzees using touchscreen cognitive tasks.


After graduating from the University of Hull (UK) with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, I worked as a Research Assistant in Psychology at Flinders University (Australia) and an Assistant Language Teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme in Japan. I then returned to the UK to study for an MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh, where I developed an interest in non-human primate welfare. I recently completed my Doctorate in Comparative Cognition at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute, where I studied attentional bias towards threatening faces in chimpanzees.




Current Projects

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Grant-in-Aid for Research Activity Start-up (2,200,000 JPY). ‘Comparing emotional attention in humans and chimpanzees: Is the touchscreen dot probe task an effective tool?’

Selected Publications

Wilson, D. A., Tomonaga, M. (2018). Exploring attentional bias towards threatening faces in chimpanzees using the dot probe task. PLoS ONE 13(11): e0207378. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207378

Wilson, D. A., Tomonaga, M. (2018). Visual discrimination of primate species based on faces in chimpanzees. Primates. 59, 3, 243-251. doi: 10.1007/s10329-018-0649-8

Wilson, D. A., Tomonaga, M., Vick, S-J. (2016). Eye preferences in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus apella). Primates, 57, 3, 433-440. doi: 10.1007/s10329-016-0537-z

Tlauka, M., Donaldson, P., Wilson, D. (2008). Forgetting in spatial memories acquired in a virtual environment. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 1, 69-84. doi: 10.1002/acp.1341

Wilson, P. N., Wilson, D. A., Griffiths, L., Fox, S. (2007). First-perspective spatial alignment effects from real-world exploration. Memory & Cognition, 35, 1432-1444. doi: 10.3758/BF03193613


Kyoto University Primate Research Institute, 41-2 Kanrin, Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture, 484-8506, Japan