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William Hopkins


William Hopkins was born and raised on a dairy farm in Delevan, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin, where he majored in psychology. While at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Hopkins worked for 3 years in the laboratory of Dr. Steve Suomi, a comparative psychologist studying the development of social behavior in monkeys. It was during this time that Dr. Hopkins developed his interest in primate behavior and cognition and in 1983 moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend graduate school Georgia State University. Dr. Hopkins completed in MS and PhD in 1990 working with chimpanzees at the Language Research Center, focusing on the evolution of language in relation to hemispheric specialization. In 1991, Dr. Hopkins moved to France and spent 6 months as a visiting scientist at the Laboratoire des Cognitive Neurosciences in Marseille, France. In late 1991, Dr. Hopkins received an NIH FIRST award and took his first appointment at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, where he continues to work today. Dr. Hopkins has more than 25 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health and he has published extensively on the topic of individual and phylogenetic differences in cognition and the brain of primates. Drs. Hopkins has held academic appointments at Berry College (1994 to 2005), Agnes Scott College (2006 to 2011) and is currently a Professor in the Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Hopkins is currently Associate Editor of the American Journal of Primatology and President of the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative.


Representative Publications:
Hopkins, W. D., Russell, J. L, & Schaeffer, J. S. (2014). Chimpanzee intelligence is heritable. Current Biology, 24(14), 1640-1652.

Hopkins, W. D., Meguerditchian, A., Coulon, A., Bogart, S., Mangin, J.F., Sherwood, C.S., Grabowski, M.W., Bennett, A. J., Pierre, PJ., Fears, S., Woods, R., Hof, P. R., & Vauclair, J. (2014). Evolution of central sulcus morphology in primates. Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 84, 19-30.

Hopkins, W. D., Keebaugh, A. C., Reamer, L. A., Schaeffer, J., Schapiro, S. J., & Young, L. J. (2014). Genetic influences on receptive joint attention in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Scientific Reports, 4, 3774.

Hopkins, W.D., Reamer, L., Mareno, M. C., & Schapiro, S. J. (in press). Genetic basis for motor skill and hand preference for tool use in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences B​

Bogart, S. L., Bennett, A. J., Schapiro, S. J., Reamer, L. A., & Hopkins, W. D. (2014). Different rearing experiences have long-term effects on cortical organization in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Developmental Science, 17(2), 161-174.

Find William Hopkins’ publications on PubMed