Dr. Alice Auersperg

The mechanisms of technical problem solving in juvenile Goffin cockatoos (Cacatua goffini).
FWF Project No. J 3404-B19

Goffin Lab


MMag. Dr. Markus Böckle


Markus Böckle studied biology at the Karl-Franzens-University (Innsbruck, Austria) and University of Vienna in (Vienna, Austria) as well as philosophy at the Inernational Acadamy of Philosophy (Liechtenstein) and University of Vienna in (Vienna, Austria). His main interests are acoustic and visual communication in anurans and common ravens as well as cognitive mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders. He is working as post-doctoral researcher at the Danube University Krems (Krems, Austria).



Dr. Christian Herbst

Christian T. Herbst is an Austrian voice scientist. He studied voice pedagogy at Mozarteum University, Salzburg, Austria, and worked for several years as a voice pedagogue. Christian was a visiting researcher at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Stanford University, and received his PhD in Biophysics from the University of Olomouc, Czech Republic. Following a position as head of the Bioacoustics Laboratory, Department of Cognitive Biology, University Vienna, Christian now works as post-doctoral researcher at the Voice Research Lab, Department of Biophysics, Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic. The focus of Christian’s scientific work is both on singing voice physiology, and on the physics of voice production in mammals. He received several international scientific awards, and has published, among others, in the prestigious Science journal.



Kim Kortekaas, PhD

Project: "Social physiology of wolves and dogs during a simulated hunt."


My research focuses on the social behaviour and physiology of wolves. By using a large treadmill to simulate the chase of a hunt, we aim at a better understanding of the wolves’ behaviour and physiology (heart rate and cortisol) when pack members engage in running together rather than running alone. Furthermore, by using the same methods on similarly raised dogs kept in packs, we aim to trace back the functional and adaptive changes that occur in the social life of dogs during domestication.

Dr. Christine Schwab

WWTF-Project CS11-008: “Modelling social transmission: how relationships, group size and group structure influence social learning in wild and captive corvids”


Christine Schwab received her first master in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Vienna in 1998. She received her second master in Biological Sciences from the University of Vienna in 2004. Her PhD in 2008 earned her the Laudimaxima-award. After few months as a visiting scientist in Strasbourg she subsequently held a post-doc fellowship at the KLI for Evolution and Cognition Research.

She was awarded with a WWTF grant following the cognitive sciences call 2011 which allowed her to continue her research on social learning in corvids and which was a cooperation with the University of St.Andrews.

The main focus of her research is on social learning in animals. Her last project allowed her to combine her two academic trainings insofar that she was investigating patterns of information / behavior transmission in groups of corvids using a social network approach to determine which individual traits as well as which social relations between individuals mainly influence this process. Her research is characterized by a combination of behavioral observations and experiments applied to wild and captive groups of birds.

Recently she expanded her interest to keas, another promising model candidate for a cognitively sophisticated socially living avian species by accepting a university assistant position at the Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna.

Dr. Bruno Gingras

ERC-Grant SOMACCA: Musical syntax and biomusicology



After completing a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and a M.Sc. in Molecular Biology at Université de Montréal (Canada), I turned to music theory, graduating with a Ph.D. from McGill University (Canada) in 2008. The topic of my dissertation was the study of expressive strategies and performer-listener communication in organ performance. From 2008 to 2010, I pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at Goldsmiths (London, United Kingdom) where I continued my research on communication in music performance. My research interests include biomusicology, music performance, and the perception of musical structure.

Research projects: My research projects are centered around two main axes:

1) Musical syntax, specifically the perception of large-scale tonal structure in Western tonal music (in collaboration with Prof. Gerhard Widmer).

2) Comparing the relationship between phylogenic proximity and acoustic similarity in the vocalizations of species exhibiting vocal learning, such as songbirds (oscines), and species that do not exhibit vocal learning, such as anurans

Stephan A. Reber, PhD


I am interested in animal communication systems, and specifically in the cognitive capacities of receivers to extract information that goes beyond the perception of the signaling context. After a master thesis on meerkats’ social cognition, my current research focuses on the evolution of vocal communication in the Archosauria. I am investigating the potential of honest acoustic signals in American and Chinese alligators (Alligator mississippiensis/sinensis), as well as the abilities of common ravens (Corvus corax) to perceive syntactical changes in the structure of vocal duets. Research on these extant Archosaurians may even provide insight into the communication of extinct dinosaurs.



Dr. Eva Ringler



Femoralis Project - project leader

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Max Ringler, PhD


Femoralis Project - project co-leader