Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Sarah Pope

Ph.D., Georgia State University (Neuroscience), Ph.D., Aix-Marseille University (Psychology)

Postdoctoral Researcher, EVO Learn Lab



Sarah Pope's research explores how familiar solution strategies block better ones from being adopted. Sarah received her Doctorat en Psychologie from Aix-Marseille University in France and her PhD in Neuroscience from Georgia State University in the United States. Sarah has worked with chimpanzees for seven years, as well as several other nonhuman primate species including baboons and bonobos. Recently, Sarah assessed baboons' and chimpanzees' responses to a touchscreen task, which measured their abilities to replace a familiar solution strategy with a more creative one. She also used this task to explore variation in problem-solving approach within humans, both across age groups and cultures.

After receiving funding from the National Geographic Society, Sarah recently investigated cross-cultural differences in problem-solving approach between Westerners and the semi-nomadic Himba of northern Namibia. This research has led her to question how formal education and environmental predictability might influence cognitive flexibility in humans.

Currently, Sarah is a post doctoral researcher at University of Texas at Austin in Dr. Cristine Legare's Evolution and Ontogeny of Culture and Cognition lab.  She is working on the NSF-funded EVO-Learn project (Evolution, Variability, and Ontogeny of Learning).  She has recently finished a field season working with the BaYaka foragers and Bondongo farmers in the Republic of the Congo exploring cross-cultural differences in teaching and learning strategies.

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  • Department of Psychology

    The University of Texas at Austin
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    108 E. Dean Keeton Stop A8000
    Austin, TX 78712-1043