Michelle Spierings, PhD

e-mail: michelle.spierings@univie.ac.at



I am a postdoctoral researcher working on language perception and dynamic decision making in different bird species and marmoset monkeys. This work focusses on finding shared cognitive abilities between humans and other animals. These shared cognitive requirements help us to understand which building blocks shaped the evolutionary processes of our current capabilities.


I started studying biology in the Bachelor program of Leiden University and continued my education with a Master in Neuroscience & Cognition at Utrecht University. During my masters, I studied theory of mind in rooks under the supervision of Nicola Clayton at Cambridge University.

My Ph.D. project at Leiden University was a collaborative project with linguists, computational linguists and me and my supervisor, prof. Carel ten Cate, as behavioural biologists. Together we studied which aspects of language perception are shared between humans and other animals. My part of the project focussed on the cognitive perceptual abilities of songbirds (zebra finches) and parrots (budgerigars) and their ability to learn abstract acoustic patterns.

From 2016 until 2020 I’ve worked as a postdoc in Prof. Tecumseh Fitch’s lab studying language perception in pigeons, marmosets and humans. Here I focussed on the cognitive requirements for pattern perception and recognition.

Currently I’m PI on the Dynamates projecthttps://www.kfs.oeaw.ac.at/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1181:lang-en-yirg-dynamates-dynamic-auditory-predictions-in-human-an-non-human-primates-lang-lang-de-zk-dynamates-dynamiken-der-auditiven-praediktion-in-menschlichen-und-ander funded by the Young Investigators Research Grant from the FWF. This is a collaborative project with computational modelling, cognitive neuroscience and cognitive biology. Together we’re aiming to understand which processes are involved in dynamic decision making with temporal and spatial changes in the acoustic environment.


Orcid ID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9029-5441


Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michelle_Spierings


Dynamates: www.kfs.oeaw.ac.at/index.php