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David Reby








Professor of Ethology

IDEX Fellow

Senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France

National Geographic Explorer

Elected member of the Comité National de la Recherche Scientifique.

I study the origin, structure and function of vocal signals in vertebrates. I conduct and supervise observational and experimental studies on a wide range of species, including deer and domestic dogs. By identifying animal precursors of key features of human communication and cognition, my work provides essential background for understanding the evolution of speech. I am also interested in the communication of gender in the human voice and in the function of human nonverbal vocalisations.


In 2018 I was awarded an IDEXLYON Fellowship on the topic of Vocal communication: a comparative approach.


Selected publications:

  1. Pisanski, K., Reby, D. Efficacy in deceptive vocal exaggeration of human body size. Nat Commun 12, 968 (2021).

  2. Pisanski K, Cartei V, McGettigan C, Raine J & Reby D (2016). Voice modulation: A window into the origins of human vocal control? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20: 4.

  3. Ratcliffe VF, & Reby D (2014). Orienting Asymmetries in Dogs' Responses to Different Communicatory Components of Human Speech. Current Biology 24, 2908-2912.

  4. Reby D, Levrero F, Gustafsson E & Mathevon N (2016). Sex stereotypes influence adults’ perception of babies’ cries. BMC Psychology 4:19.

  5. Charlton BD, Taylor AM, Reby D (2017). Function and Evolution of Vibrato-like Frequency Modulation in Mammals. Current Biology 27, 2692.

  6. Charlton BD & Reby D (2016). The evolution of acoustic size exaggeration in terrestrial mammals. Nature Communications. 7:12739.


Y. Locatelli (MNHN, INRA Tours)
M. Keller  (INRA Tours)
K. Reynaud (ENVA, INRA Tours)
J. Gilbert (LAUM, CNRS)

R. Frey (IZW Berlin)
B. Charlton (San Diego Zoo)



Curriculum Vitae

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