Rodrigo Abril de Abreu

Invited Research Fellow

Rodrigo Abril de Abreu holds a PhD in Neuroscience, with a specialization in Social Behaviour. His main research interests lie in the topics of empathy, cooperation and social learning in human and non-human animals.

Rodrigo's doctoral research was developed at the Integrative Behavioural Biology Lab at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), Instituto de Psicologia Aplicada (ISPA-IU) and Champalimaud Research (CR), in Lisbon, Portugal, where he focused on investigating the cognitive mechanisms underlying the ability to eavesdrop on signalling interactions between conspecifics (using the highly social model species zebrafish). This social learning process, a.k.a. social eavesdropping, enables animals to collect adaptively relevant information from others without incurring in the costs of first-hand information acquisition, and it may be ubiquitous in social species.

As an Invited Researcher of the Blackbox Project, Rodrigo is currently developing a behavioural neuroscience approach to quantitatively investigate the creative decision making process of contemporary dance choreographers, during a dance performance composition.

Outside academia, making use of a diverse background in engineering physics, neuroscience, creative advertising and arts, Rodrigo divides his time as an illustrator, children’s books author and science communicator. He his currently writing a Popular Science book about social animals for a new science book series.