Atsushi Iriki

Atsushi lriki


  • Fellow
  • Brain, Mind & Consciousness


  • RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Laboratory for Symbolic Cognitive Development


  • Japan


DDS, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
PhD, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
DMSc, Toho University


Atsushi Iriki’s research focuses on uncovering evolutionary precursors of human higher cognitive functions that are grounded in physical morphologies and patterns of structured bodily actions.

He studies the behaviour and neurophysiology of macaque monkeys that are trained to use tools and other high-tech apparatus. Iriki is also working to uncover neurobiological mechanisms of evolutionary and developmental processes that give rise to symbolic cognitive functions, using experimental marmoset models.


Lee Wee Nam Lecturer, 2013
Otto Creutzfeldt Lecturer, 2009
Creative Research Award, 2008
Golden Brain Award, 2004 

Relevant Publications

Ferrari, P.F., Tramacere, A., Simpson, E.A.,& Iriki, A. (2013). Mirror neurons through the lens of epigenetics. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17(9): 450–57. DOI:

Iriki, A., & Taoka, M. (2012). Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: A scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool-use and language from control of the reaching actions. Philosophical Transactions B, 367, 10–23. DOI:

Yoshida, K., Saito, N., Iriki, A., Isoda, M. (2012). Social error monitoring in macaque frontal cortex. Nature Neurosci, 15(9), 1307–1312. DOI:

Quallo, M.M. Price, C.J., Ueno, K.,…Iriki, A. (2009). Gray and white matter changes associated with tool-use learning in macaque monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 106(43), 18379–18384. DOI:

Maravita, A., & Iriki, A. (2004). Tools for the body (schema). Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(2), 79–86. DOI: