Matthew W. Campbell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology, California State University - Channel Islands


B.S., Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 1999
Ph.D., Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 2006
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 2007-2009
FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 2009-2012

Research Statement

My interests lie along two different paths related to learning and cognition by non-human animals. I am interested in the evolution of complex cognition and the extent to which traits thought of as characteristically human are shared with other species, like chimpanzees. Understanding the evolutionary heritage of human behaviors provides a better understanding of what it means to be human, and what it means to be chimpanzee. Toward this end, I am focusing my postdoctoral research on the topic of empathy in chimpanzees.

The capacity to identify with other individuals has long been thought to separate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. However, there is a growing body of evidence, both anecdotal and experimental, that some non-human animals display empathy in one of its many forms. I am interested in how the ability of chimpanzees to empathize is associated with other forms of identifying with other individuals, like imitation. A single underlying mechanism for empathy and imitation has been posited (Preston & de Waal 2002), and I hope to test this idea empirically.

My other main interest is applying cognition, learning, and the field of psychology in general to conservation biology. By developing methods for training captive-bred animals on skills necessary for life in the wild, I hope to increase survivorship in captive reintroductions, making them more efficient and more successful. This was the topic of my doctoral dissertation. In the long term, I want to continue to pursue both of these areas as parallel lines of research. In this way I hope to contribute both to our understanding of human nature and to the conservation of biodiversity.


Mingle, M.E., Eppley, T.M., Campbell, M.W., Hall, K., Horner, V., de Waal, F.B. (2014) Chimpanzees prefer African and Indian music over silence. J Exp Psychol Anim Learn Cogn.  40(4):502-5. PMCID:  PMC4461656

Suchak, M., Eppley, T.M., Campbell, M.W., de Waal, F.B. (2014) Ape duos and trios: spontaneous cooperation with free partner choice in chimpanzees. Peer J. 2:e417. PMCID: PMC4060033

Hall, K., Oram, M.W., Campbell, M.W., Eppley, T.M., Byrne, R.W., De Waal, F.B. (2014)  Using cross correlations to investigate how chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) use conspecific gaze cues to extract and exploit information in a foraging competition. Am J Primatol. 76(10):932-41. PMCID: PMC4177347

Campbell, M.W., de Waal, F.B. (2011) Ingroup-Outgroup Bias in Contagious Yawning by Chimpanzees Supports Link to Empathy.  PLoS One. 6(4):e18283.PMCID: PMC3071812

Campbell, M.W. & de Waal, F.B.M. (2010) Methodological problems in the study of contagious yawning.  In: The Mystery of Yawning in Physiology and Disease.  Ed: Olivier Walusinski.  Frontiers of Neurology and Neuroscience. Basel, Karger, 28: 120-127.

Haeffel, G.J., Thiessen, E.D., Campbell, M.W., Kaschak, M.P., & McNeil, N.M. (2009) Theory, not cultural context, will advance American psychology. American Psychologist 64: 570-571. (Commentary)

Campbell, M.W., Carter, J.D., Proctor, D., Eisenberg, M.L., & de Waal, F.B.M. (2009) Computer animations stimulate contagious yawning in chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 4255-4259.

Campbell, M.W. & Snowdon, C.T. (2009) Can auditory playback condition predator mobbing in captive-reared Saguinus oedipus? International Journal of Primatology, 30: 93-102.

Friant, S.C., Campbell, M.W. & Snowdon, C.T. (2008) Captive-born cotton-top tamarins  (Saguinus oedipus) respond similarly to vocalizations of predators and sympatric non-predators. American Journal of Primatology, 70: 707-710.

Campbell, M.W. & Snowdon, C.T. (2007) Vocal response of captive-reared Saguinus oedipus during mobbing.  International Journal of Primatology, 28: 257-270.


California State University - Channel Islands
One University Drive
Madera Hall - 2416
Camarillo, CA 93012
Tel: 805.437.3132

Emory University School of Medicine
Department of Physiology
Atlanta, GA 30322-3110
(404) 727-7410 Office ~ (404) 727-2648 FAX

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