A primate research station is a powerful tool for studying the evolution, origin and structure of the human mind. Through comparative studies of our closest genetic relatives, the great apes, light is thrown on our own cognition and psychology.
In addition to a comparative framework we also study the cognition of nonhuman species without explicit comparisons to humans. We do this in order to further our understanding of the involved species and individuals as such. To reflect this fact we call the research of our group cognitive zoology rather than the more traditional comparative cognition.
Lund University Primate Research Station Furuvik is part of the Cognitive Science devision (LUCS) at the Department of Philosophy. The station is situated at Furuviksparken outside of Gävle, and is a collaboration between the university and the zoo. It is directed by researchers Mathias Osvath and Tomas Persson. At their webpages you can read descriptions of ongoing research projects. Updates on these will be posted here and on our photo blog and YouTube channel.
At the station we study chimpanzees, sumatran orangutans and white handed gibbons. The animals themselves decide if they want to participate in the experimental situations. We can therefore be confident that they are happy with the activities. Hopefully it serves as mental stimulation, which all apes in captivity need. No invasive research is allowed or possible at the station.
By studying cognition in very similar as well as very different systems, comparative research also addresses the question of how certain minds are made in general, in terms of e.g. adaptation, ecology, development and learning. The primate research station therefore works in tandem with the Lund University Corvid Cognition Station.