Perception, cognition, attention, sociality and evolution (Pegase)

The Pegase team develops research around perception, communication/sociality and evolution with the original approach of looking at their mutual influence with attention and welfare state. A special emphasis is given to attention as a major aspect of social and non-social cognition, but also as a possible underlying process of social and cognitive evolution. The influence of developmental processes and welfare state on attention/cognitive characteristics takes in this regard a major place. We also develop researches concerning human-animal relationships and the potential role of this « pseudo-social » bonding on social and cognitive human improvement.
Ethos Equipe Pegase

The model species

While the focal animal species of the team have long been songbirds (European starlings, African sturnids) and domestic horses, our researches have extended to pet animals (dogs and cats) and further explored the question of human-animal relationships.


The team benefits from a large number of national and international collaborations that allows access to comparative models, innovative approaches and/or interdisciplinary tools.
The team is leading, since 2008, the interdisciplinary GIS « Cerveau-Comportement-Sociétés » (CCS) including teams working in medicine, human and social sciences, electronics, computer sciences and biology. Ths GIS has for example inspired projects on premature and at-term human newborns’ perception and behaviour, measures of postures, human and animal welfare.
Since 2015, the team is also leading the international associated laboratory (LIA, now IRP « International Research Projects ») VOCOM France / South Africa, involving seven EthoS staff members from three teams (1, 2, 3) and four South-African universities. It aims at bringing together the complementary competencies of French and South African research groups around the question of the evolution of vocal communication and the factors involved: (1) the influence of the social structure on individual distinctiveness and the transmission of potential “vocal traditions”, (2) the relationship between population and vocal structures, (3) the influence of the importance of the emitter’s internal state on acoustic structures. Groups of song and non-song bird species (presenting a variety of social structures), and African Mammals (dassies, cheetahs, dolphins) are concerned. Moreover, field studies of cognition are developed. Overall, the project develops an ambitious integrative and comparative approach and aims at approaching evolutionary mechanisms through multiple windows, from population movements, group organization to cognitive issues.