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Atsushi Iriki


  • Fellow
  • Brain, Mind & Consciousness


Atsushi Iriki’s research focuses on uncovering evolutionary precursors of human higher cognitive functions that are grounded in physical morphologies and patterns of structured bodily actions.

He studies the behaviour and neurophysiology of macaque monkeys that are trained to use tools and other high-tech apparatus. Iriki is also working to uncover neurobiological mechanisms of evolutionary and developmental processes that give rise to symbolic cognitive functions, using experimental marmoset models.


  • Lee Wee Nam Lecturer, 2013
  • Otto Creutzfeldt Lecturer, 2009
  • Creative Research Award, 2008
  • Golden Brain Award, 2004

Relevant Publications

  • Ferrari, P.F., Tramacere, A., Simpson, E.A.,& Iriki, A. (2013). Mirror neurons through the lens of epigenetics. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17(9): 450–57. DOI:
  • Iriki, A., & Taoka, M. (2012). Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: A scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool-use and language from control of the reaching actions. Philosophical Transactions B, 367, 10–23. DOI:
  • Yoshida, K., Saito, N., Iriki, A., Isoda, M. (2012). Social error monitoring in macaque frontal cortex. Nature Neurosci, 15(9), 1307–1312. DOI:
  • Quallo, M.M. Price, C.J., Ueno, K.,…Iriki, A. (2009). Gray and white matter changes associated with tool-use learning in macaque monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 106(43), 18379–18384. DOI:
  • Maravita, A., & Iriki, A. (2004). Tools for the body (schema). Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(2), 79–86. DOI:

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