About Me

I am interested in the evolutionary origin of social intelligence, and particularly the study of animal social cognition in naturalistic situations. I mainly study this through observation of gaze, as the direction of attention reveals a great deal of mental process in both human and nonhuman animals (‘the eyes are the window to the soul’). I use cutting-edge sensor technologies, such as eye-tracking and mo-cap because recent technologies allow measuring gaze in non-restrained animals, even during natural behavior in some species. I have worked with a range of phylogenetically closely and more distantly related species; great apes (including humans), monkeys and birds. 

2021- : As a junior group leader at the Center of Advanced Study of Collective Behavior at Konstanz, I will start working on collective behavior and social cognition of birds (pigeons and crows) and primates (apes, monkeys, and humans) with Dr. Iain Couzin and Dr. Oliver Deussen. 

2014-2021: As an assistant/associate professor at Kyoto University, I am working at Kumamoto Sanctuary. I am studying cognition and emotion of bonobos and chimpanzees living there.

2016-2017: Along with great ape research, at the University of Oxford (with Dr. Dora Biro), I started working with pigeons about how they use their vision to coordinate their group flight while homing.

2012-2014: As a post-doc, I continued eye-tracking studies by expanding study species to all great apes and human infants and children at Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany (with Dr. Josep Call).

2007-2012: In Inuyama, Aichi, Primate Research Institute, I worked with chimpanzees using computerized methods such as touch-panel tasks and eye-tracking and received my Master and Ph.D. degree there (with Dr. Masaki Tomonaga).

Tracking pigeons' gaze in mo-cap. I plan to study (de-) synchronization of attention (vigilance) in a flock of pigeons during foraging. 

Eye-tracking with great apes. I am studying how great apes anticipate others' actions based on the theory of mind. 

Tracking monkeys' postures using drones and deep-learning. I plan to examine the function of social gaze in collective behavior. 

Using head-mounted eye-tracking and automated posture-tracking, I plan to study how people spontaneously take others' perspective during naturalistic interaction. 

Tracking pigeons' head movement while they are freely flying and navigating to home. I am studying the role of attention during collective navigation.

An outreach project presenting to chimpanzees art movies created by professional contemporary artists to 'entertain' chimpanzees.

I have self-built mo-cap room that can track head movements of crows. I plan to study how crows use social gaze for communication, and how crows anticipate others' action in thier gaze movement. 

In 2019, we had a newborn, named Hajime (一 in Japanese), meaning "first".