Dalila Bovet

Associate professor


Phone : (33)

Mail : dbovet@parisnanterre.fr

Research interests

I began my research with studies on categorisation and social cognition in primates, inspired by the « Machiavellian intelligence » hypothesis; this hypothesis suggests that cognitive abilities in primates are particularly developed as an adaptation to the complexity of their social life.


Since 2002, I have been studying social cognition in birds. Some birds, like parrots and corvids, live in social groups with complex relationships and recent work suggests that these birds are capable of complex cognitive abilities thought to be exclusive to primates. Moreover, parrots can use learned human words in an appropriate context to name various objects. Such elaborate cognitive and imitative abilities supported by non-mammalian brains make parrots an interesting model for the study of cognitive processes and their evolution, especially in the social domain, which seems particularly favourable.


As part of a multidisciplinary project funded by the European Community  "Origins of referential communication", I studied, with Nicolas Giret, referential communication in African grey parrots and I am also collaborating with Sarah-Jane Vick on self-control in grey parrots. I conducted a study with Franck Péron on cognitive abilities in cooperation tasks, which was part of the INCORE (Integrating Cooperation Research across Europe) project.

With Mathilde Lalot, I try to investigate the precursors of morality in animals and to identify environmental and evolutionary factors contributing to the emergence or maintenance of moral behaviors.


I am also interested, with Ahmed Belguermi, in the use of social information to find food in canaries.


Finally, I take part in a multidisciplinary project about urban feral pigeons "Le pigeon en ville: Ecologie de la réconciliation et biodiversité urbaine". This project integrates studies from ecological, ethological and anthropological perspectives to explore pigeons' behavioural and physiological adaptations to urban life and their perception by city dwellers.




Phd students

Lalot Mathilde



Giret, N., Albert, A. Nagle L., Kreutzer, M. & Bovet, D. Context-related vocalizations in African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus), Acta Ethologica, sous presse.

Belguermi A.Bovet, D., Pascal, A., Prévot-Julliard, A.C., Saint Jalme, M. & Leboucher, G. Pigeons discriminate between human feeders. Animal Cognition, in press.

Leblanc, F., Pothet, G., Saint Jalme, M, Dorval, M. & Bovet, D. Training large macaws for artificial insemination procedures.  Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, in press.

Péron, F., Rat-Fischer, L., Lalot, M., Leboucher, G., & Bovet, D. Cooperative problem solving in African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus). Animal Cognition, DOI: 10.1007/s10071-011-0389-2.

Bovet, D. 2011. Les progrès de la connaissance en cognition animale: l'hypothèse du cerveau social. In : La question animale, entre science, littérature et philosophie (Eds. J.P. Engélibert, L. Campos, C. Coquio & G. Chapouthier), Presses Universitaires de Rennes, Rennes, pp. 39-51.

Giret, N., Roy, P., Albert, A., Pachet, F., Kreutzer, M. & Bovet, D. 2011. Finding good acoustic features for parrot vocalizations: The feature generation approach. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129, 1089-1099.

Péron, F., Chardard C., Leboucher, G.Bovet, D. 2011. Do African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) know what a human experimenter does and does not see? Behavioural Processes, 87, 237-240.
Péron, F., Rat-Fischer, L., Nagle, L. & Bovet, D.  2010. 'Unwilling' versus 'unable': Do grey parrots understand human intentional action? Interactions Studies, 11, 428-441.

Giret, N., Albert, A., & Bovet, D. 2010. Système de communication des perroquets gris du Gabon (Psittacus erithacus). Acoustique & Techniques, 61, 18-22.

Giret, N., Péron, F., Lindová, J., Tichotová, L. Nagle, L., Kreutzer, M. Tymr, F. & Bovet, D. 2010. Referential learning of French labels in African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus): different methods yield contrasting results. Behavioural Processes, 85, 90-98.Vick, S.J., Bovet, D., & Anderson, J.R. 2010. How do African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) perform on a delay of gratification task? Animal Cognition, 13, 351-358.

Al Aïn, S., Giret, N., Grand, M., Kreutzer, M., & Bovet, D. 2009. The discrimination of discrete and continuous amounts in African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus). Animal Cognition, 12, 145.

Bovet, D. 2009. Comportement animal (45 pp). In : Encyclopaedia Universalis, Encyclopaedia Universalis France S.A., Paris.

Bovet, D. Deputte, B.L. 2009. Matching vocalizations to faces of familiar conspecifics in grey-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena). Folia Primatologica, 80, 220-232.

Bovet, D. Ethologie et Evolution. In : Darwin en tête! L'évolution et les sciences cognitives (Eds. H. Mercier & J.B. Van der Henst). Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, Grenoble, pp. 67-99.
Giret, N., Miklósi, A., Kreutzer, M. & Bovet, D. 2009. Use of experimenter-given cues by African gray parrots (Psittacus erithacus). Animal Cognition, 12, 1.
Giret, N. Monbureau, M., Kreutzer, M. & Bovet, D. 2009. Conspecific discrimination in an object-choice task in African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus). Behavioural Processes, 82, 75-77.

Giret, N. Péron, F.Nagle, L., Kreutzer, M. & Bovet, D. 2009. Spontaneous categorization of vocal imitations in African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus). Behavioural Processes, 82, 244-248.

Bovet, D. 2008. Comment reconnaissons-nous et interprétons-nous les signes extérieurs de la douleur ou de la souffrance des animaux ?  In : Homme et animal : de la douleur à la cruauté (Eds. T. Auffret Van der Kemp & J.C. Nouët). L'Harmattan, Paris, pp. 47-77.

Giret, N., Bovet D., Kreutzer, M. 2008. Variabilité inter et intra-individuelle dans une tâche de choix d'objet et compréhension d'un geste de pointage humain chez le perroquet gris du Gabon (Psittacus erithacus). In : Perspectives différentielles en psychologie (Eds. E. Loarer, P. Vrignaud, J.L. Mogenet, F. Cuisinier, H. Gottesdiener & P. Mallet). Presses Universitaires de Rennes, Rennes, pp. 327-330.


Giret, N., Kreutzer, M., Bovet, D. 2007. Communication référentielle chez les perroquets gris du Gabon (Psittacus erithacus). In : Ethologie - Cahiers de l'ED 139 (Coordination G. Leboucher). Université Paris Nanterre, pp 59-80.

Bovet, D. 2007. Psychologie animale et raisonnement. In : Psychologies du raisonnement (Eds. S. Rossi & J.B. Van der Henst). De Boeck, Bruxelles, pp. 191-220.


Bovet, D., Vauclair, J., & Blaye, A. 2005. Categorization and abstraction abilities in 3-year-old children: a comparison with monkey data. Animal Cognition, 8, 53-59.

Vauclair, J  & Bovet, D. 2005. Intelligence animale et intelligence humaine. In : Traité des Sciences cognitives. L'Intelligence (Eds. J. Lautrey et J.F. Richard). Hermès, Paris, pp. 179-193.


Bovet, D. 2004. Categorization processes in animals. In: Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior (ed. M. Bekoff). Greenwood Press. Westport, CT, pp. 255-258.


Bovet, D., & Washburn, D.A. 2003. Rhesus macaques categorise conspecifics according to their dominance relations. Journal of Comparative Psychology ,117, 400-405.


Vick, S.J., Bovet, D., & Anderson, J.R. 2001. Gaze discrimination learning in olive baboons (Papio anubis). Animal Cognition, 4, 1-10.

Bovet, D., & Vauclair, J. 2001. Judgment of conceptual identity in monkeys. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8, 470-475.


Bovet, D., & Vauclair, J. 2000. Picture recognition in animals and in humans : a review. Behavioral Brain Research, 109, 143-165.

Bovet, D. 2000. Conceptualisation et relations abstraites : comparaison entre l'enfant de trois ans et le babouin. Informations In Cognito, 17, 23-32.


Bovet, D., & Vauclair, J. 1998. Functional categorization of objects and of their pictures in baboons (Papio anubis). Learning & Motivation, 29, 309-322.

Bovet, D. 1998. Catégorisation d'objets et perceptions de relations chez les babouins. Primatologie, 1, 269-284.



Deputte, B.L. & Bovet, D. 2002. Are magabeys able to match faces and vocalizations of individual conspecifics? Caring for Primates. Abstracts of the XIXth congress of the International Primatological Society. Beijing: Mammalogical Society of China.


Bovet D., & Washburn D. 2001. Do rhesus macaques and chimpanzees have a dominance concept? American Journal of Primatology, 54, 88.


Bovet, D., & Vauclair, J. 1999. Categorization of food vs. non-food and object-to-photo transfer by baboons (Papio anubis). Folia Primatologica, 70, 195.



Invited conferences




Bovet, D. & Vauclair, J. Comparing the categorization and abstraction abilities of baboons and three-year-old children. First International Workshop for Young Psychologists "Evolution and Development of Cognition" Kyoto, Japon (July 2003).


Bovet, D. & Deputte, B. Matching vocalizations to faces of familiar conspecifics in grey-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena). International Workshop "Processing of multimodal information in animals and humans," Vannes, France (May 2005).


Bovet, D. Bird cognition : intriguing performances. International Workshop Behaviour-Cognition-Welfare, Villetaneuse, France (May 2008).


Bovet, D. Comparing bird and primate cognition. International Symposium of Comparative Cognitive Science 2008 "Primate origins of human mind " Kyoto, Japan (May 2008).


Updated on 24 mai 2017