I am an ethologist currently working as a research fellow at the MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group, Budapest, Hungary. My research primarily focuses on animal-robot interaction, and our aim is twofold. First, we apply artificial agents as social partners to use a highly controlled method in the investigation of social behaviour and cognition of dogs. Our research covers different areas, for example, social perception, communicative interactions, jealous behaviour, social evaluation and individual recognition. Recently, we also include cats in our comparative research, to test how similarities and differences of the two species influence their behaviour, especially the recognition and acceptance of the artificial agent as social partner. Second, we aim to design the behaviour of social robots based on ethological considerations. We would like to identify (a) the basic skills of robots that facilitate their recognition as social agents, and (b) the minimal skill set of robots required to engage in complex cooperative and communicative interactions with human and non-human species autonomously, in long-term interactions.
I am a cognitive developmental psychologist with a main research interest in social cognition. I currently work as a postdoctoral researcher at Normativity Lab in University of Konstanz, Germany. I obtained my PhD in Cognitive Science from Central European University and worked as a researcher in University of St Andrews, Scotland and in Koc University, Turkey. I have a wide range of research interests: from how young children communicate with others to whether preverbal infants expect group members to share the same behaviour routines to why and how we copy others’ irrational action choices. Currently, one line of my research focuses on how preschool aged children evaluate anti-social actions of other parties. While most of my work has been completed with substantial cooperation I received from little human primates, I have a deep interest in non-human primate research.
KIRSTEN H. BLAKEY
I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, Scotland, working on an interdisciplinary project across philosophy, cognitive developmental psychology, and cognitive ethology. This project, in collaboration with the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna, is investigating capacities for rational reflective belief revision in pre-verbal infants, dogs, and pigs. To do this we use object-search tasks to assess whether these populations have the capacity to make inferences about the reliability of different sources of evidence based on whether the evidence the sources provide is misleading. I completed my PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Stirling supervised by Christine Caldwell and Eva Rafetseder. My PhD research was focused on the development of socio-cognitive mechanisms underlying distinctively human cumulative culture. Specifically, I investigated how young children approach learning from others and how this changes with advancing cognitive development. Generally, my research interests lie in cognitive and social development. I am broadly interested in social learning in young children and animals, selective social learning, and the development of cognitive capacities, particularly those thought to responsible for cumulative cultural evolution. I also have interests in the development of reasoning and prosocial behaviour.
Yusuf Brima is currently a Ph.D. student in Cognitive Science at Osnabrück University. He earned his Bachelor of Science at the University of Makeni, Unimak, in 2017 and Master of Science degrees in Computer Science at the University of Dhaka and the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in 2020, and 2021 respectively. His Ph.D. is co-supervised by Prof. Gunther Heidemann and Prof. Simona Pika. His research interest is in Language Evolution, Representation Learning, Statistical and Mathematical Modelling, Computer Vision, Explainable AI, and AI Ethics with applications across varied disciplines. He is currently working on bridging the comparative gap in vocal communication using deep representation learning to understand vocal signatures in one of our closest living relatives: chimpanzees. His work will lay the foundation for a deeper understanding of the cognitive processes of Individual Recognition that underlie non-human proto-language communication: context, meaning, and effect.
RAHEL KATHARINA BRÜGGER
Rahel is a post-doc in the Evolutionary Cognition Group at the University of Zürich. She is mainly interested in the evolution of theory of mind abilities and morality and is using non-invasive methods such as thermography to help reveal monkeys’ (especially common marmosets’) abilities to understand others. For her postdoc she is working on the ERC Project ENGINE that is investigating the consequences of interdependence by experimentally manipulating interdependence levels in common marmosets. She loves all things R and data analysis.
Hi, I am Alex Chan, a first year PhD student from the University of Konstanz, working on 3D posture reconstruction of birds with computer vision and machine learning methods. Technological advances has always been important for the development of new methods in the study of animal behavior and I look forward to learning more and meeting everyone here! Talk to you soon
My name is Xiaoyun Chen, a post-doc researcher in the Wortschatzinsel lab of the University of Göttingen. Together with Prof. Dr. Nivedita Mani, we are working on the SFB project researching the inter-relationships of curiosity and social interactions through development using interdisciplinary research methods. Curiosity is the intrinsic motivation to explore and acquire information from the environment, which plays an essential role in cognitive development. As humans, we are highly sociable and rely on acquiring information from others. Thus, in this project, we investigate the relationships between curiosity and learning under diverse social contexts. More specifically, we examine how a learner’s prior knowledge of the task materials, prior experience with social partners and their social partner’s decisions would impact their curiosity-driven learning and the subsequent information sampling. Before I join the Wortschatzinsel, I study the curiosity-driven learning mechanisms of infants and adults for my PhD at Lancaster University in the UK.
I am a PhD student from Newcastle University (UK), my project has the aim to improve macaques’ welfare, collecting behaviour data using automated methods. I have always loved both animals and mathematics, especially informatics. Unable to decide between these two disciplines, I started my studies in Mathematics and then moved to Biology, with a Master in Animal Behaviour. For my thesis I moved to France to study the behaviour of Giant Panda during a pseudopregnancy. This gave me the opportunity to move to China, to work on Giant Panda reproduction in collaboration with the San Diego Zoo and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda. After a year in China, I moved to US to keep working on pandas and to start a project with the Oregon Zoo to investigate the effect of exposure to humans and humans handling on hedgehogs’ welfare.
For my PhD, I am focusing on developing automated methods to collect behavioural data
- To investigate macaques’ reaction to novelty during a Temperament Test
- To validate and investigate enrichment usage in macaques’ groups
- To investigate social structure changes consequently to a new male introduction in macaques breeding groups
For these projects, I mainly use DeepLabCut to track and identify different macaques body parts and YOLACT to detect monkeys and different objects (toys and food used during the Temperament Tests as novelties). I know there is so much to learn and explore in this field and I am so excited to get the chance to learn more about the use of technological methodologies thanks to this workshop!
I’m currently a third-year PhD student at the University of Antwerp where I study cognition and affective states with the bonobos in Planckendael Zoo (BE). I was introduced to the application of touchscreen technology in animal research during my master’s internship with Prof. Dr. Mariska Kret and Dr. Evy van Berlo where we studied attention biases in orangutans. Throughout my PhD, I try to find answers to both fundamental and welfare-related questions for which I’m mostly working with touchscreen, but also by using eye-tracking technology. During high school and partly during my bachelor, I’ve been working as primate caretaker, and I feel fortunate to continue to work with primates and train them on various touchscreen tasks. Creating a positive experience for the participating animals is a major concern during my studies, and I’m curious to explore ways how technological advances can contribute to this.
Shany Dror is a PhD candidate at the Family Dog Project, Department of Ethology, ELTE University, Budapest. Her current research looks into the evolutionary origin of language by examining language related abilities in a group of exceptionally talented dogs. These dogs can rapidly learn new object labels through social interactions. In an effort to locate these rare individuals, Shany and her team conducted the Genius Dog Challenge, a series of experiments that were live broadcasted over YouTube and served as both a research project and a social media campaign. Her previous research examined the potential use of honeybees to deter Asian elephants from entering crop fields. She has extensive experience training a variety of animal species including pigs, bats, horses, rabbits, and dogs to perform various (often bizarre) tasks. Understanding what goes on in the minds of other species has always been her deepest passion.
ELISA FERNANDEZ FEUYO
I am Elisa Fernandez Fueyo, a PhD student researching intentionality and flexibility in baboon gestural and multi-modal communicationto better understand the evolution of these cognitive traits that were once thought to be unique to human language. I am doing my PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London and University College London supervised by Dr Sarah Papworth and Dr Alecia Carter, respectively. I am originally from Asturias, a very mountainous and green region in the north Atlantic coast of Spain. I did my BSc in Biology there and then I moved to London to do a MSc in Human Evolution and Behaviour at UCL. I spent the pandemic lockdowns in Spain, doing my ‘inevitably computer-based’ MSc dissertation and applying for PhD. After this quite harsh time, I managed to finally go to the field to study wild baboons in Namibia, at the Tsaobis Baboon Project, where I will also collect the data for my PhD. I feel very lucky to study baboons in the wild and to be able to observe their behaviour and lifes from so close. My academic interests include non-human animal behaviour, cognition, and emotion, particularly in primates, and also human evolution and behaviour. Outside my academic life I enjoy hiking and camping, going to the theatre and cinema, yoga and, something I have recently become passionate about, dancing ballet. Looking forward to meeting all of you in the workshop!
ERNEST FOTSING DADIS BUSH
In his current research, Ernest is planning to focus on human activities, feeding and nesting habits of Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzees, and on human activities in Mpem and Djim National Park in Cameroon. This should lead to developing sustainable strategies for management of this area and to saving a viable population of chimpanzees in their natural environment.
I studied Evolutionary Anthropology and Behaviour, Neurobiology and Cognition and am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna. I am broadly interested in animal behaviour and cognition, with a special focus on the connection between behaviour, information transmission and physiology in human and non-human primates. My PhD thesis is part of the Dynamates project, in which researchers from cognitive biology, cognitive neuroscience and computational modelling are studying human and non-human primates’ perception and prediction of acoustic stimuli moving through space and time. Under the supervision of Michelle Spierings, PhD and Prof. Thomas Bugnyar and together with Dr. Ruth Sonnweber my main focus will be on common marmosets´ (Callithrix jacchus) ability to locate stationary and moving sound stimuli to ultimately get insight into their dynamic decision-making process and compare the underlying sensory prediction mechanisms to those found in humans.
Hello everyone, I’m Angelo Guadagno nice to meet you all! I’m from Naples, Italy, and I’m a young neuroscientist. I got a Bachelor degree in Biological Sciences and a Master degree in Neuroscience. I have a strong passion for zoology, animal behaviour, ethology, cognition and brain evolution. About my scientific training, I spent several months in the lab of Professor Anita Lüthi, DNF of Lausanne, where I gained extensive experience in in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, studying brain rhythmicity during sleep in rodents. Then I moved to the Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm, in the lab of Professor Marie Carlén, to investigate the role of rodent’s Medial Prefrontal Cortex in cognitive flexibility tasks. During that period, I became familiar with behavioural testing, behavioural setup design and with the new technologies to measure behavioural performances. Together with my colleagues, I also developed a fully custom-made behavioural chamber for rodents, completely controlled by the one board computer Raspberry Pi. I truly enjoyed this part of my research and therefore I’m trying to make a change in my career and focus primarily on that. My goal would be to study animal behaviour through a comparative cognition approach, involving different animal species and provide further insights about the evolution of cognition. I’m currently not enrolled in any PhD programmes and I’m really looking to find a PhD position to pursue my goal! Join this workshop it’s definitely a great opportunity to learn about all those techniques from experts in the field and to share with all of you my scientific experiences. Briefly, beside science, I love to play basketball, I’m a beginner bird watcher, I’m a NatGeoWild lover and a Tech enthusiast. Looking forward to meet you all in person!
I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Yale University, working with Dr. Laurie Santos and Dr. Julian Jara-Ettinger. My research interests broadly center on cognitive evolution, with a particular emphasis on social-cognitive abilities such as theory of mind, shared intentionality, and cooperative communication. For example, how do humans represent the mental states of others, and how do we use these representations to guide our goal-directed actions? Do other animals represent others' mental states in the same ways? Is our ability to form joint commitments unique, or do other animals also understand and share others' intentions? I investigate these and related questions by integrating non-invasive cognitive, behavioral, and biological research in humans, dogs, wolves, and free-ranging non-human primates. My current research is funded by a Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the U.S. National Science Foundation. This award supports my work jointly with the Comparative Cognition Lab and Computational Social Cognition Lab to build and evaluate computational models of non-human primate theory of mind. By blending computational approaches with comparative field experiments, I aim to advance our fundamental understanding of the cognitive mechanisms that guide social behavior.
Ph.D. Leipzig University & CCP MPI-EVA
I am a behavioral researcher working in developmental and pedagogical psychology. I study gestural communication, social learning and classroom management, and am currently leading a three-year DFG project on young children’s understanding of graphic symbols. I am affiliated with the Chair for Empirical School and Classroom Research at Leipzig University and the Department for Comparative Cultural Psychology at the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology. For the past two years I’ve been very interested in learning novel approaches to behavioral research and I’m looking forward to using computer vision and pose estimation in a couple of projects.
One of my favorite past projects was a study on the emergence of gestural systems of communication in dyads of preschoolers (Kachel, Bohn & Tomasello, 2019). I am very interested in reanalyzing the dataset using pose estimation and in designing follow-ups aiming at a more detailed quantification of changes in children’s gestures over repeated usage. I’m also supervising a PhD project on classroom management aiming to highlight differences in the allocation of attention of novice and expert teachers. We are using mobile eye-tracking and would love to create AOIs from using CV-tools. At the workshop, I’m also looking forward to sharing with you an ongoing project in which I’m working together with animation artists to use CGI-animations to create photorealistic video stimuli of hands interacting with objects.
I am a 3rd year PhD student in Lancaster University working with Prof. Gert Westermann and Dr. Marina Bazhydai. I am interested in knowledge acquisition and transmission processes (akin to teaching) in infants and young children. My current research investigates the emergence of infants’ early information transmission behaviour, the type of information that they prefer to transmit others, and the underlying motivations that may drive this behaviour. I conduct behavioural and natural observation studies for my doctoral research.
Prior to my doctoral studies at Lancaster University, I received my undergraduate and master's degrees from Boğaziçi University, Turkey. My master’s thesis explored whether children preferentially teach conventional and moral norms selectively to ingroup members. My other research interests are active learning/curiosity, selective trust, social group understanding, normativity understanding, and early prosocial behaviours.
Leigh Levinson is a PhD student of Informatics and Cognitive Science at Indiana University Bloomington. Her interests lie in the intersection between technology and child development. Her primary field of research is child-robot interaction, where she is exploring child-centered design of robotics and including children and their families in the design of future technologies. With a degree from University of California, Berkeley in Psychology and Data Science, she strives to apply interdisciplinary and mixed methods to this field of research. Beyond designing inclusive and ethical technologies for children, she is interested in the underlying mechanisms that motivate child-robot interactions. To do so, she is exploring noninvasive methods for measuring children’s engagement. Specifically, she is exploring the integration of computer vision techniques for visual cues of engagement with psychophysiological indicators of engagement using thermal imaging.
I am M.Sc. Océane Liehrmann a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biology at the University of Turku, Finland and part of the Prof. Virpi Lummaa group; I am currently investigating the human-animal relationship in working animals. Graduated from both an M.Sc. in behavioural ecology (2016) and an M.Sc. in neuroscience (2019) I started investigating the relationship between working Asian elephants and their handlers during my last master’s thesis. As part of my Ph.D., I continued working with the semi captive Asian elephant model, but I also ran experiments on privately owned leisure horses and on semi captive sledding reindeer. There are interesting comparisons to explore within those three species. Horses have been highly selected and raised in captivity for thousands of years while reindeer were only recently domesticated (since XV century) and not as strongly selected as horses. Finally, semi captive Asian elephants, are not considered as domesticated. My work aims to highlight the potential effects of domestication and breeding selection on the working animals’ abilities to adjust to humans and bond with them. In participating in this workshop, I aim to acquire new knowledge on non-invasive ways to assess working animals' stress when interacting with handlers during specific tasks.
I graduated in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Trento (Italy). I am currently a PhD student at the Clever Dog Lab, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna. I work on the project "Convergent evolution of the social brain?", which focuses on Theory of Mind, action understanding and empathy in dogs and humans. To investigate these topics, I am learning to conduct behavioural, eye-tracker and neuroimaging experiments.
My name is Josh, and I am a PhD student within the behaviour informatics program at Newcastle University (UK). I did my Bachelor and Master of Science at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). During this time, I had the opportunity to work on vocalisation and movement patterns in meerkats as well as male association and interactions in wild orangutans. I have worked with observational, audio and tracking data. My current project involves building and programming an in-cage camera module and a pipeline to observe everyday behaviour in laboratory-housed macaques using automatic and non-invasive behaviour measurements to identify individual differences. Currently most of my data consist of videos and I am using different computer vision approaches to extract useful measures such as activity levels and location frequencies. I am fascinated by the vast amount of computational methods that exist to capture behavioural and physiological data. I am looking forward to this workshop and to being involved in closing the technological gap by working on the applicability of these approaches.
I am a behavioural biologist/primatologist with a wide range of interests. Therefore, I conducted research on a variety of subjects related to primates during my BSc and MSc. For my bachelor research project, I investigated the locomotion behaviour of zoo-housed orang-utans at Apenheul Primate Park (Apeldoorn, The Netherlands). During my master, I researched social vigilance in gorillas at Apenheul Primate Park (supervised by dr. Liesbeth Sterk, UU). Additionally, I studied the aggregation behaviour of Sumatran orang-utans in low-productive forest (supervised by dr. Serge Wich, LJMU).
Currently, I am doing my PhD at the CoPAN Lab of dr. Mariska Kret (Leiden University) and Apenheul Primate Park (Apeldoorn, The Netherlands). During my PhD research, I try to find methods that can potentially identify partner preferences of the Bornean orang-utans. The orang-utans participate in different experiments, including touchscreen- and eye-tracking tasks. The results of the tasks can potentially inform us about which individuals they find interesting. Furthermore, we try to also validate the experimental paradigms that we use with the orang-utans by studying humans with similar experimental setups. The final goal of the project is to suggest some specific tasks that can be used across zoos to test partner preferences of orang-utans within the European orang-utan breeding programme.
ALEX SANCHEZ AMARO
I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Comparative Cultural Psychology Group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. My interest is in the social cognitive abilities of non-human primates and human infants, which I explore through a comparative perspective. Specifically, I am interested in how primates solve cooperative social dilemmas that involve a conflict of interest. To that end, I conduct non-invasive experiments using various Game Theoretical models such as the Snowdrift and the Prisoner's Dilemma game. In these games, subjects must coordinate their actions in situations where their interests are not aligned. I am also interested in investigating coordination at the group level in great apes and children as well as how apes bargain in different social dilemmas.
Besides, I also conduct cognitive studies aimed at investigating the psychological mechanisms underlying irrational cognitive biases in great apes, such as the "less is more" effect, "sunk-cost" effects and "decoy effect" tasks" in collaboration with colleagues at the Central European University and the University of St. Andrews.
Previously, I held a postdoctoral position (DFG Fellowship) at the Department of Cognitive Science of the University of California, San Diego. At UCSD I collaborated with Dr. Federico Rossano to investigate various topics, including exploration abilities in children, risk propensities in great apes and coordination and conflict resolution in gibbons and common marmosets (in collaboration with Dr. Judith Burkart from the University of Zurich).
I'm a postdoc at the ELTE University of Budapest, Department of Ethology. I have worked mostly with canids, on topics spacing between ecology and behavior. My particular field of expertise is dog-human communication and dogs' cognition. In the last 2 years, my research focused on language learning in dogs. Our word learning project received considerable attention from the media, especially since it was the first live broadcast scientific event of its kind (‘the Genius Dog Challenge’). The outcome of our research has been featured in many news reports across TV, radio, newspapers, and other platforms. I also have experience with studies on olfaction, ERP, neuroanatomy, and 3D modeling. Recently, I have started collaborating with Royal Canin for a project on learning and nutrition.
EVY VAN BERLO
Hey everyone! My name is Evy van Berlo and I am a postdoc at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, working in the Cognitive Behavioural Ecology (CoBEco) lab of Prof. dr. Karline Janmaat. I currently study decision-making biases in chimpanzees and humans using a 3D foraging game developed by Dr. Francine Dolins and Prof. dr. Kenneth Schweller. For my PhD, I studied emotion perception in bonobos, orangutans, and humans using eye-tracking and touchscreen tasks. Central to my work is the use of technologies such as eye-tracking, and the use of such technology in animal cognition has, in my opinion, a lot of potential for answering fundamental scientific questions but also for improving welfare of animals in zoos and sanctuaries. I am therefore very excited to meet you all at the workshop and brainstorm about new ways forward! Hope to see you soon!
The complexity of emotions has always triggered my interest, especially animals’ emotions whose internal states are more challenging to assess. Thus, last year I focused my MbyRes at University of Roehampton on the evaluation of variations in Barbary macaques’ respiration during grooming using thermal imaging. For this, I collected data at Trentham Monkey Forest (UK). To my knowledge, this is the first time that this technology has been used to assess free-ranging animals’ respiratory patterns. In October, I’m starting a 3 years fully funded PhD with Dr. Zanna Clay at Durham University to keep exploring non-invasive methodologies to assess emotions in non-human primates.
I am a mathematician from Germany, doing my PhD in computer science at the University of Göttingen. I train Deep Learning models to help researchers who study the behavior of monkeys in the wild. So far, I have been focusing on Multi-Object Tracking to detect and track the monkeys in videos with highly varying backgrounds and lighting conditions. As a next step, I am training Scene Graph models which learn to automatically detect interactions between the detected individuals, such as “looking at” or “grooming” or between individuals and objects, like “reach with left hand”. Besides my project work I am a big fan of data visualization (with R), hiking and playing instruments. Before my PhD I have lived in Chile for three years where I worked for a data analytics company.