Jie Gao

JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow, Kyoto University (Graduate of the Doctoral Course)

Language and Intelligence Section


I’m generally interested in comparative cognitive science. My previous work was to investigate the understanding of a circular relationship in chimpanzees, our closest relatives, by training them the rule of the rock-paper-scissors game. I found some interesting response by chimpanzees to chimpanzee hands and human hands, and it led me to my current project: body perception in chimpanzees. Bodies are the direct agent of animals to explore and to interact with the environment. Bodies also convey important social cues. I’m interested in how animals (chimpanzees) perceive bodies, and their knowledge about body structures and body parts.

Current Projects

Body perception and cognition in chimpanzees: from the perspective of comparative cognitive science

Bodies are imporant social cues for animals. However, it is not clear how animals perceive bodies. I'm interested in body perception and knowldege about body structures and body parts in chimpanzees as well as humans. The study in chimpanzees and human adults and children could faciliate the understanding of body perception from the evolutionary and developmental perspectives.


Selected Publications

Gao, J., Adachi, I. & Tomonaga, M. (2022). Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) detect strange body parts: an eye-tracking study. Animal Cognition. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-021-01593-2

Gao, J., & Tomonaga, M. (2020). How chimpanzees and children perceive other species’ bodies: comparing the expert effect. Developmental Science: e12975. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12975

Gao, J., Kawakami, F., & Tomonaga, M. (2020). Body perception in chimpanzees and humans: The expert effect. Scientific Reports 10(1): 7148. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63876-x

Gao, J., & Tomonaga, M. (2020). Body perception in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): The effect of body structure changes. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 134(2), 222–231. https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000214

Gao, J., Tomonaga, M. (2018) The body inversion effect in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). PLoS ONE 13(10): e0204131. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204131

Gao, J., Su, Y., Tomonaga, M., Matsuzawa, T. (2017). Learning the rules of the rock–paper–scissors game: chimpanzees versus children. Primates 59(1), 7-17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-017-0620-0

Chen, T., Gao, J., Tan, J., Tao, R., Su, Y. (2017). Variation in gaze-following between two Asian colobine monkeys. Primates 58(4), 525-534. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-017-0612-0


Chimpanzee rock-paper-scissors game:

Springer: http://www.springer.com/gp/about-springer/media/research-news/all-english-research-news/chimpanzees-learn-rock-paper-scissors-/13448176

Reader's digest: https://www.rd.com/culture/chimpanzees-play-rock-paper-scissors/

Mind Field: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-N72oVgp2I&t=15s

Science/AAAS: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/sifter/chimps-could-beat-your-kid-rock-paper-scissors

BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-40946194/chimps-can-play-rock-paper-scissors

Phys.org: https://phys.org/news/2017-08-chimpanzees-rock-paper-scissors.html

Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170810104846.htm

Yahoo! News: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/chimpanzees-learn-play-rock-paper-095956045.html

Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/chimpanzees-rock-paper-scissors-primate-research-kyoto-jie-gao-a7890171.html

The telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/10/revealed-beat-chimpanzee-rock-paper-scissors/

Discover Magazine: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/inkfish/2017/08/11/chimps-understand-rock-paper-scissors-as-well-as-preschoolers/#.WZaEOigjFPY

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4778302/Chimps-play-rock-paper-scissors-four-year-old.html





Language and Intelligence Section,

Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University,

41-2 Kanrin, Inuyama, Aichi, Japan, 484-8506