Heidi Lyn, Ph.D.

Heidi Lyn, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Joan M. Sinnott Chair of Psychology
Department of Psychology


  • PH.D Georgia State University 2001: Psychology: Comparative animal communication and cognition

  • M.A. Georgia State University 1998: Psychology: Comparative animal communication and cognition

  • B.A. University of Pennsylvania 1992: Linguistics

  • B.S. University of Pennsylvania 1992: Computer Science Engineering 


Dr. Lyn will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2021-2022 academic year. Apply here

Research Interests

  • Nonhuman cognition
  • Nonhuman communication
  • Neural and behavioral correlates in nonhuman primates
  • Intelligence in animals

Heidi Lyn is an Associate Professor and Joan M. Sinnott chair of Psychology at The University of South Alabama where she studies nonhuman animal cognition and communication. She has published over 25 articles on the intelligence of animals, including the differences between large and small dogs, environmental influences on intelligence and social behavior in apes, the communicative and cognitive behaviors of sea mammals such as dolphins, belugas, and walrus, and on neural and behavioral correlates in nonhuman primates. Her research has been featured in Scientific American, Science magazine as well as in two books and she has been interviewed by major newspapers and the Today show. She previously held positions at UCLA, the New York Aquarium, St. Andrews University, and the University of Southern Mississippi. 


  • Broadway, M. S., Samuelson, M. M., Christopher, J. L., Jett, S. E., & Lyn, H. (2017). Does size really matter? Investigating cognitive differences in spatial memory ability based on size in domestic dogs. Behavioural processes, 138, 7-14.

  • Lyn, H., Russell, J. L., & Hopkins, W. D. (2010). The impact of environment on the comprehension of declarative communication in apes. Psychological Science, 21(3), 360-365.

  • Lyn, H., Greenfield, P. M., Savage-Rumbaugh, S., Gillespie-Lynch, K., & Hopkins, W. D. (2011). Nonhuman primates do declare! A comparison of declarative symbol and gesture use in two children, two bonobos, and a chimpanzee. Language & communication, 31(1), 63-74.

  • Lyn, H., Pierre, P., Bennett, A. J., Fears, S., Woods, R., & Hopkins, W. D. (2011). Planum temporale grey matter asymmetries in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), vervet (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus), rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and bonnet (Macaca radiata) monkeys. Neuropsychologia, 49(7), 2004-2012. 

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