Elisa Bandini

Elisa Bandini

School of Psychology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Elisa Bandini is undertaking doctoral research into cultural behaviours of great apes seen in the wild in order to understand whether these behaviours are indeed cultural (and therefore have some element of social transmission to them) or if they are actually part of the individual’s ‘Zone of Latent Solutions’.  She will recreate behaviours seen in the wild that are deemed cultural with great apes in captivity, to find out whether these behaviours are seen in naïve individuals. With her studies she hopes to understand more on the cognitive development of great apes, but also on the cognitive evolution of early humans and on the origins of tool use.


BA from the University of Bristol, UK

MSc from the University of Edinburgh, UK


Elisa studied Archaeology (BA) at the University of Bristol from 2009 to 2011 and spent some time working at the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway. She then undertook an MSc in Osteoarchaeology at the University of Edinburgh in 2012, where she also interned at Archaeology Scotland, before moving to Birmingham to start her PhD in Psychology.

Doctoral research

PhD title
Testing the Zone of Latent Solutions Hypothesis in Great Apes
Professor Sarah Beck


  • Paleoarchaeology
  • Human cognitive and anatomical evolution
  • Cultural similarities between non-human and human primates
  • Great ape cognition
  • Cumulative culture

Other activities

Elisa Bandini has participated in several archaeological excavations over the years in both Italy and the UK, and hopes to continue excavating. She has also been involved in several teaching and outreach programs throughout her undergraduate degree and MSc and will continue during her postgraduate research.