Heidi Lyn, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Heidi Lyn is a Psychology professor at The University of Southern Mississippi, where she studies nonhuman animal cognition and communication. She has published on the environmental influences on intelligence and social behavior in apes, on the communicative and cognitive behaviors of sea mammals such as dolphins, belugas, and walrus, and on neural and behavioral correlates in nonhuman primates. She has held positions at the Language Research Center of Georgia State University, UCLA, the New York Aquarium and the Sea Mammal Research Unit of the School of Biology, St. Andrews University, Scotland.
Undergraduate researchers are currently involved in studies into the communication systems and Environmental Enrichment with dolphins, cognition in dogs, cats, and birds of prey/carrion birds, as well as analogous brain structures in monkeys and autistic children.

Journal Articles:
Gillespie-Lynch, K., Feng, Y., Greenfield, P. M., Savage-Rumbaugh, S., & Lyn, H. (2013). A cross-species study of gesture and its role in symbolic development: Implications for the gestural theory of language evolution. Frontiers in Comparative Psychology. 4, 160. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00160

Lyn, H., Russell, J. L., Leavens, D., Bard, K. A., Boysen, S. T., Schaeffer, J. A., & Hopkins, W. D. (2013). Apes communicate about absent and displaced objects: methodology matters. Animal Cognition. DOI 10.1007/s10071-013-0640-0

Lyn, H., Coleman, A., Broadway, M., Klaus, J., Finerty, S., Shannon, D., & Solangi, M. (2012). Displacement and Site Fidelity of Rehabilitated Immature Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys kempii). Marine Turtle Newsletter, 135, 10-13.

Gillespie-Lynch, K., Greenfield, P. M., Lyn, H., & Savage-Rumbaugh, S. (2011). The role of dialogue in the ontogeny and phylogeny of early word combinations : A cross-species comparison of bonobo, chimpanzee, and human learners. First Language, 31(4), 442-460. doi: 10.1177/0142723711406882

Russell, J. L., Lyn, H., Schaeffer, J. A., & Hopkins, W. D. (2011). The Role of Socio-Communicative Rearing Environments on the Development of Social and Physical Cognition in Apes. Developmental Science, 14(6), 1459-1470. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2011.01090.x

Lyn, H., Greenfield, P. M., & Savage-Rumbaugh, E. S. (2011). Semiotic combinations in Pan: A cross-species comparison of communication in a chimpanzee and a bonobo. First Language, 31(3), 300-325. doi: 10.1177/0142723710391872

Lyn, H., Pierre, P., Bennett, A. J., Fears, S., Woods, R., & Hopkins, W. D. (2011). Planum Temporale Grey Matter Asymmetries in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), Vervet (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus), Rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and Bonnet (Macaca radiata) monkeys. Neuropsychologia, 49, 2004-2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.03.030

Lyn, H., Greenfield, P. M., Savage-Rumbaugh, S., Gillespie-Lynch, K., & Hopkins, W. D. (2011). Nonhuman primates do declare! A comparison of declarative symbol and gesture use in two children, two bonobos, and a chimpanzee. Language and Communication, 31, 63-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.langcom.2010.11.001

Lyn, H. (2010). Environment, methodology, and the object choice task in apes: Evidence for declarative comprehension and implications for the evolution of language. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. 8(4), 333-349. doi: 10.1556/JEP.8.2010.4.3

Lyn, H., Russell, J. L., & Hopkins, W. D. (2010). The impact of environment on the comprehension of declarative communication in apes. Psychological Science 21(3), 360-365.

Franks, B., Lyn, H, Klein, L. & Reiss, D. L. (2009) The influence of feeding enrichment, and seasonal context on the behavior of Pacific Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). Zoo Biology, 28,1-8.

Hopkins, W. D., Lyn, H., and Cantalupo, C. (2009) A Preliminary Study of Volumetric and Lateralized Differences in the Brains of Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Bonobos (Pan paniscus). American Journal of Primatology. 71, pp. 1-10.

Lyn, H. & Rumbaugh, D. M. (2009) Saliences, Propositions, and Amalgams: Emergent learning in non-humans. Behavioral & Brain Sciences 32(2) 213-214.

Lyn, H., Franks, B., and Savage-Rumbaugh, E. S. (2008) Precursors of morality in the use of the symbols “good” and “bad” in two bonobos (Pan paniscus) and a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Language and Communication 28(3) 213-224 DOI 10.1016/j.langcom.2008.01.006.

Greenfield, P. M., Lyn, H., & Savage-Rumbaugh, E. S. (2008). Protolanguage in ontogeny and phylogeny: combining deixis and representation. Interaction Studies, 9(1), 34-50.

Lyn, H. (2007) Mental representations of symbols as revealed by vocabulary errors in two bonobos (Pan paniscus), Animal Cognition. 10(4), 461-475. DOI 10.1007/s10071-007-0086-3

Lyn, H., Greenfield, P. G., and Savage-Rumbaugh, E. S. (2006) The development of representational play in chimpanzees and bonobos: evolutionary implications, pretense, and the role of interspecies communication, Cognitive Development, 21, 199-213. doi: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2006.03.005

Sickler, Jessica, Fraser, John, Webler, Thomas, Reiss, Diana ; Boyle, Paul ; Lyn, Heidi ; Lemcke, Katherine ; Gruber, Sarah (2006) Social narratives surrounding dolphins: Q Method study. Society and Animals. 14(4) 351-382. DOI 10.1163/156853006778882457

Lyn, H. and Savage-Rumbaugh, E. S. (2000) Observational word learning in two bonobos (Pan paniscus): Ostensive and non-ostensive contexts. Language & Communication. 20(3) 255-273.

Book Chapters:
Gillespie-Lynch, K., Savage-Rumbaugh, S., & Lyn, H (in press) Language Learning in Non-human Primates, In P. Brooks & V. Kempe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Language Development. Sage.

Lyn, H. (2012). Apes and the evolution of language: taking stock of 40 years of research. In J. Vonk & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Comparative Evolutionary Psychology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Lyn, H. and Savage-Rumbaugh, S. (2012) The Use of Emotion Symbols in Language-Using Apes. In S. Watanabe and S. Kuczaj (Eds.), Emotions of Animals and Humans: Comparative Perspectives. Springer.

Lyn, H. (2008). Artificial symbol systems in dolphins and apes: analogous communicative evolution or evidence for basic communicative rules? In A. D. M. Smith, K. Smith & R. Ferrer i Cancho (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference (EVOLANG7). Singapore: World Scientific Press.

Greenfield, P. G. and Lyn, H. (2006) Symbol combination in Pan: language, action, culture. In Washburn, D. (Ed.) Primate perspectives on behavior and cognition, APA.

Lyn, H. and Rumbaugh, D. M. (2003) Early environmental influences on apes and the development of cognitive and language skills. In J. M. Miller, R. M. Lerner, L. B. Schiamberg, & P. M. Anderson (Eds.), Human ecology: an encyclopedia of children, families, communities, and environments. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio.