Psychology, Biology Professors Receive Honorary Degrees

June 15, 2014

Professor of Biology Dorothy Cheney and Professor of Psychology Robert Seyfarth have received honorary doctorates from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, while Professor Emeritus of Psychology Jacob Nachmias has received an honorary doctorate from the SUNY College of Optometry.

Working together, Cheney and Seyfarth have contributed to our understanding of communication and social behavior in non-human primates.  To do so, they have employed especially careful long-term observational field studies, most recently with free-ranging baboons in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Their goals are to clarify the differences between nonhuman primate communication and human language, and to explore the adaptive value of primate social relationships as well as the cognitive mechanisms that underlie them. They coauthored the book Baboon Metaphysics and many papers. 

Nachmias’s honorary degree from SUNY Optometry honored him as “a leader in developing the modern understanding of spatial vision” over his long career. The author of dozens of papers, Nachmias won the Edgar D. Tillyer Award from the Optical Society of America in 1994. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and a former member of the Visual Sciences (B) Study Section of the National Institutes of Health.