Frans de Waal
Frans de Waal
Frans de Waal in 2006
Franciscus Bernardus Maria de Waal
October 29, 1948
|Doctoral advisor||Jan van Hooff|
|Influences||Nikolaas Tinbergen, Jan van Hooff|
Franciscus Bernardus Maria "Frans" de Waal (born October 29, 1948) is a Dutch primatologist and ethologist. He is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Department of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory, and author of numerous books including Chimpanzee Politics (1982) and Our Inner Ape (2005). His research centers on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing. He is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Early life and education
De Waal was born in 's-Hertogenbosch. He studied at the Dutch universities of Radboud University Nijmegen, University of Groningen, and Utrecht. In 1977, De Waal received his doctorate in biology from Utrecht University after training as a zoologist and ethologist with Professor Jan van Hooff, a well-known expert of emotional facial expressions in primates. His dissertation research concerned aggressive behavior and alliance formation in macaques. De Waal has said many times that he has been inspired by fellow Dutch ethologist Niko Tinbergen. In 2018, he received an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Social Sciences from Yale University.
— from The Bonobo and the Atheist, (2013)
In 1975, De Waal began a six-year project on the world's largest captive colony of chimpanzees at the Arnhem Zoo. The study resulted in many scientific papers, and resulted in publication of his first book, Chimpanzee Politics, in 1982. This book offered the first description of primate behavior explicitly in terms of planned social strategies. De Waal was first to introduce the thinking of Machiavelli to primatology, leading to the label "Machiavellian Intelligence" that later became associated with it. In his writings, De Waal has never shied away from attributing emotions and intentions to his primates, and as such his work inspired the field of primate cognition that, three decades later, flourishes around themes of cooperation, altruism, and fairness.
His early work also drew attention to deception and conflict resolution, nowadays two major areas of research. Initially, all of this was highly controversial. Thus, the label of "reconciliation", which De Waal introduced for reunions after fights, was questioned at first, but is now fully accepted with respect to animal behavior. Recently, De Waal's work has emphasized non-human animal empathy and even the origins of morality. His most widely cited paper, written with his former student Stephanie Preston, concerns the evolutionary origin and neuroscience of empathy, not just in primates, but in mammals in general.
De Waal's name is also associated with Bonobo, the "make love – not war" primate that he has made popular. But even his Bonobo studies are secondary to the larger goal of understanding what binds primate societies together rather than how competition structures them.
— Frans de Waal
Competition is not ignored in his work: the original focus of de Waal's research, before he was well known, was aggressive behavior and social dominance. Whereas his science focuses on the behavior of nonhuman primates (mostly chimpanzees, bonobos, macaques, and capuchin monkeys), his popular books have given de Waal worldwide visibility by relating the insights he has gained from monkey and ape behavior to human society. With his students, he has also worked on elephants, which are increasingly featured in his writings.
His research into the innate capacity for empathy among primates has led De Waal to the conclusion that non-human great apes and humans are simply different types of apes, and that empathic and cooperative tendencies are continuous between these species. His belief is illustrated in the following quote from The Age of Empathy: "We start out postulating sharp boundaries, such as between humans and apes, or between apes and monkeys, but are in fact dealing with sand castles that lose much of their structure when the sea of knowledge washes over them. They turn into hills, leveled ever more, until we are back to where evolutionary theory always leads us: a gently sloping beach."
This is quite opposite to the view of some economists and anthropologists, who postulate the differences between humans and other animals. However, recent work on prosocial tendencies in apes and monkeys supports de Waal's position. See, for example, the research of Felix Warneken, a psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. In 2011, de Waal and his co-workers were the first to report that chimpanzees given a free choice between helping only themselves or helping themselves plus a partner, prefer the latter. In fact, de Waal does not believe these tendencies to be restricted to humans and apes, but views empathy and sympathy as universal mammalian characteristics, a view that over the past decade has gained support from studies on rodents and other mammals, such as dogs. He and his students have also extensively worked on cooperation and fairness in animals, the latter leading to a video that went viral on inequity aversion among capuchin monkeys. The most recent work in this area was the first demonstration that given a chance to play the Ultimatum game, chimpanzees respond in the same way as children and human adults by preferring the equitable outcome.
In 1981, de Waal moved to the United States for a position at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, and in 1991 took a position at Emory University, in Atlanta, GA. He is currently C.H. Candler professor in the Psychology Department at Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory. He became an American citizen in 2008.
—Frans de Waal
His 2013 book The Bonobo and the Atheist examines human behavior through the eyes of a primatologist, and explores to what extent God and religion are needed for human morality. The main conclusion is that morality comes from within, and is part of human nature. The role of religion is secondary.
De Waal also writes a column for Psychologie, a popular Dutch monthly magazine.
Since September 1, 2013, de Waal is a Distinguished Professor (Universiteitshoogleraar) at the University of Utrecht. This is a part-time appointment—he remains in his position at Emory University, in Atlanta.
In June 2018, de Waal was awarded the NAT Award, recently established by the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona. The award, which goes to people or institutions "that are referents for their way of viewing and explaining nature, whether because they have encouraged professional engagement in natural history disciplines or because they have contributed significantly to nature conservation", was awarded to de Waal "for his vision regarding the evolution of animal behaviour in establishing a parallel between primate and human behaviour in aspects such as politics, empathy, morality and justice." Alongside de Waal, broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough was awarded an Extraordinary Award for a Professional Career, and biologist and former director of the Barcelona Zoology Museum Roser Nos Ronchera was awarded a Honorable Mention.
- 2020 PEN / EO Wilson Literary Science Writing Award (USA)
- 2018 Doctor Honoris Causa, Yale University (USA)
- 2018 NAT Award for the Dissemination of Natural Science, Barcelona (Spain)
- 2017 Doctor Honoris Causa, Radboud University (Netherlands)
- 2015 ASP Distinguished Primatologist (American Society Primatologists)
- 2014 Galileo Prize (Premio Letterario Galileo), Padua (Italy)
- 2014 Eugène Dubois Chair, Maastricht University (Netherlands)
- 2013 Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award
- 2013 Foreign Member, Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities
- 2013 Doctor Honoris Causa, Utrecht University (Netherlands)
- 2012 Ig Nobel Prize winner, in the Anatomy category
- 2011 Discover magazine's "47 (all time) Great Minds of Science"
- 2011 Doctor Honoris Causa, Colgate University (USA)
- 2010 Ridder (knighted), Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw (Order of the Netherlands' Lion)
- 2009 Medal, Società di Medicina & Scienze Naturali, Parma (Italy)
- 2009 Ariëns Kappers Medal, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 2009 Doctor Honoris Causa, University for Humanistics (Netherlands)
- 2008 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS)
- 2007 Time Magazine 100 World’s Most Influential People Today
- 2005 Member of the American Philosophical Society (APS)
- 2005 Arthur W. Staats Award, American Psychological Foundation
- 2004 Member of the (US) National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
- 1993 Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
- 1989 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Peacemaking among Primates
- Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves, 2019. ISBN 978-0-393-63506-5
- Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, 2016. ISBN 978-0-393-24618-6
- The Bonobo and the Atheist, 2013. ISBN 978-0-393-07377-5
- The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society, 2009. ISBN 978-0-307-40776-4 (reviewed in American Scientist)
- Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved, 2006. ISBN 0-691-12447-7
- Our Inner Ape. New York: Riverhead Books, 2005. ISBN 1-57322-312-3
- Animal Social Complexity: Intelligence, Culture, and Individualized Societies, Edited with Peter L. Tyack. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-674-00929-0.
- My Family Album, Thirty Years of Primate Photography 2003.
- Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us about Human Social Evolution, Harvard University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-674-00460-4.
- The Ape and the Sushi Master, Cultural reflections by a primatologist. New York: Basic Books, 2001. ISBN 0-465-04175-2
- Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes (25th Anniversary ed.). Baltimore, MD: JHU Press; 2007. ISBN 978-0-8018-8656-0.
- Natural Conflict Resolution. 2000 (with Filippo Aureli)
- Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. ISBN 0-520-20535-9 (with Frans Lanting)
- Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-674-35660-8
- Chimpanzee Cultures, Edited with Richard Wrangham, W.C. McGrew, and Paul Heltne. Foreword by Jane Goodall. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-674-11662-3.
- Peacemaking Among Primates. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-674-65920-1
- 2015 "Opinion piece about the discovery of Homo naledi The New York Times"
- 2013 "Opinion piece about animal intelligence in The Wall Street Journal"
- 2010 "Opinion piece about God and morality in The New York Times"
- 2010 "Towards a bottom-up perspective on animal and human cognition", Trends in Cognitive Sciences 201-207. May 2010
- 2009, "Darwin's last laugh", Essay, Nature 460, 175 (July 9, 2009)
- 2008 "Putting the Altruism Back into Altruism: The Evolution of Empathy", Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 59: 279-300
- 2007, "Bonobos, Left & Right" Skeptic, (August 8, 2007).
- 2006, "Self-recognition in an Asian elephant", PNAS, vol 103, no 45, 17053-17057
- 2005, "The empathic ape", New Scientist, October 8, 2005
- 2001, "Do Humans Alone 'Feel Your Pain'?" (Chronicle.com, October 26, 2001)
- 1999, "The End of Nature Versus Nurture", Scientific American, vol 281, no 6, p 94-99
- 1995, "Bonobo Sex and Society The behavior of a close relative challenges assumptions about male supremacy in human evolution", Scientific American, vol 272, no 3, p 82-88
- The Genius of Charles Darwin (Richard Dawkins interviews De Waal)
- The Family of Chimps, a Dutch documentary film based on de Waal's book, Chimpanzee Politics and Our Inner Ape
- Andrea Thompson (August 9, 2007). "How did we go from ape to airplane? Scientists turn to chimpanzees to solve the mystery of our cultural roots". NBC News. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
- Living Links Bio Page Archived November 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Johnson, Eric Michael. "Frans de Waal on Political Apes, Science Communication, and Building a Cooperative Society". Scientific American. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- "Empathy: Its ultimate and proximate bases". CiteSeerX 10.1.1.120.7176. Cite journal requires
- Frans de Waal (1997-07). "Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are". Science Shelf. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
- "Login". timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Frans de Waal (October 26, 2001). "Do Humans Alone 'Feel Your Pain'?". The Chronicle. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- "Atheism In search of the ungodly". Economist. April 6, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
- "Frans de Waal - Psychologie Magazine". Psychologiemagazine.nl. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "Frans de Waal hoogleraar Utrecht". nos.nl. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- "Frans de Waal, The Life Scientific - BBC Radio 4". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- "NAT Award". museuciencies.cat. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- "The 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Winners". Improbable.com. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "Frans de Waal". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- Boehm, Christopher (2013). ""Primatology: A wild empathy." (review of The Bonobo and the Atheist)". Nature. 495 (7441): 312. doi:10.1038/495312a.
- Hubbeling, Dieneke (2013). ""Taming the beast." (review of The Bonobo and the Atheist)". Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. 11 (4): 189–192. doi:10.1556/JEP.11.2013.4.4.
- Grandin, T. (October 9, 2005). "Review of Our Inner Ape by Frans de Waal". New York Times. p. 23.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Frans de Waal|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frans de Waal.|
- TED talk by Frans de Waal: The surprising science of alpha males
- Interview with Frans de Waal on BBC radio On the Life Scientific
- on YouTube.
- TED talk by Frans de Waal: Do animals have morals?
- Frans de Waal's official FaceBook site
- De Waal on The Colbert Report, in 2008
- on YouTube
- Interview with De Waal on BigThink about morality
- on YouTube
- Living Links Center, currently directed by Frans de Waal
- Emory.edu - 'Frans B. M. de Waal, C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior', Emory University faculty homepage
- 92Y.org 'Talking Primates with Dr. Frans de Waal' (August 25, 2005 Blog)
- AmericanScientist.org - 'The Bookshelf talks with Frans de Waal', American Scientist (2001)
- ITConversations.com - 'Frans de Waal, Comparative Primatologist' (includes mp3 audio clip; October 21, 2004)
- PaulaGordon.com - 'Natural Goodness', Paula Gordon
- PNAS.org - 'Profile of Frans B. M. de Waal', Regina Nuzz, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
- De Waal's editorial contribution to social psychology in Greater Good magazine
- BookTalk.org: online reading group discussion of Frans de Waal's "Our Inner Ape"
- BookTalk.org: book discussion of Frans de Waal's "Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved"
- Video (with mp3 available) of discussion with De Waal about aspects of primate behavior on Bloggingheads.tv
- "On Atheists and Bonobos - A conversation with Frans de Waal", Ideas Roadshow, 2013
- "Peter Bazalgette on Empathy", One to One, 2016
- Frans de Waal: An extended film interview with transcripts for the 'Why Are We Here?' documentary series.