Consider simple rank-one Lie groups $SO(n, 1)$, $SU(n, 1)$ and $Sp(n ,1)$ ($n>1$). They are the isometry groups of real, complex and quaternionic hyperbolic spaces respectively.

By a result of Kostant, the trivial representation of $Sp(n ,1)$ is isolated in the space of irreducible unitary representations on Hilbert spaces. That is, $Sp(n ,1)$ has Kazhdan’s property (T) which is equivalent to the vanishing of 1st cohomology of the group in all unitary representations. This is in contrast to the case of $SO(n ,1)$ and $SU(n ,1)$ where they have the Haagerup approximation property, a strong negation of property (T).

This dichotomy between $SO(n ,1)$, $SU(n ,1)$ and $Sp(n ,1)$ disappears when we consider so-called uniformly bounded representations on Hilbert spaces. By a result of Cowling in 1980’s, the trivial representation of $Sp(n ,1)$ is no longer isolated in the space of uniformly bounded representations. Moreover, there is a uniformly bounded representation of $Sp(n ,1)$ with non-zero first cohomology group.

The goal of this talk is to describe these facts.