Federico Sánchez Vargas

I am broadly interested in the evolution of social cognition, the potentially reciprocal relationship between different domains of cognition and positioning in the social hierarchy, and the ecological factors and proximate neuroendocrine mechanisms that may help explain social and cognitive complexity in capuchins. Why have capuchins convergently evolved to be the “apes of the New World”, and what might this be able to tell us about the specific conditions leading to the evolution of similar cognitive profiles in phylogenetically distant species? In what ways do capuchins conceptualize their physical environment and the other social actors in it in ways uniquely shaped by their ecology and evolutionary history? I hope to incorporate cognitive experiments in the wild to investigate natural inter-individual variation in the ability to solve novel problems. Beyond research, I am also greatly interested in promoting conservation and fostering an appreciation for some of our closest evolutionary relatives. 

I am completing my BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and my BA in Psychology with a focus on Brain and Cognitive Science at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. I have previously worked with Dr. Dora Biro studying social monitoring and machine learning techniques for studying animal behavior in common marmosets, as well as with Dr. Floria Mora-Kepfer Uy studying parasitic manipulation of social behavior and effects on the social group in a wasp-endoparasite system.