Cognitive research in non-human primates has typically involved heavy movement restraints to accommodate brain recording and stimulation equipment. Consequently, it is not clear whether the insights generated in laboratory settings generalize to more ecological contexts, and how natural movements interact with cognitive coding by neuronal populations. I will present new data collected in semi-restrained and fully unrestrained monkeys during the performance of cognitive tasks and natural social interactions. I will also present new optogenetics techniques for the primate brain including viral delivery methods as well as chronic illumination technologies allowing wireless stimulation/inhibition of specific cell populations in freely-moving primates. I will discuss applications of such technologies for both basic and clinical research applications for primates, including humans.