Atsushi Iriki

Atsushi lriki


  • Fellow
  • Azrieli 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.


Golden Brain Award, 2004

Creative Research Award, 2008

Otto Creutzfeldt Lecturer, 2009

Lee Wee Nam Lecturer, 2013

Relevant Publications

Maravita, A., and A. Iriki. "Tools for the body (schema)." Tr Cogn Sci 8 (2004): 79–86.

Quallo, M.M. et al. "Gray and white matter changes associated with tool-use learning in macaque monkeys." Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106 (2009): 18379–18384.

Iriki, A., and M. Taoka. "Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a
scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool-use and language from control of the reaching actions." Phil Trans Royal Soc B 367 (2012): 10–23.

Yoshida, K. et al. "Social error monitoring in macaque frontal cortex.” Nat Neurosci 15
(2012): 1307–1312.

Ferrari, P.F. et al. "Mirror neurons through the lens of epigenetics." Tr Cogn Sci 17 (2013): 450–57.