Primate research – Lund University Cognitive Science Department of Philosophy, Lund University Tue, 23 Mar 2021 11:55:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Primate research – Lund University Cognitive Science 32 32 Ivo Jacobs kommenterar artikel om tjuvlyssnande silkesapor i Vetenskapsradion Nyheter (SR P1) Tue, 23 Mar 2021 11:39:47 +0000 SR P1 – Vetenskapsradion Nyheter: Tjuvlyssnande silkesapor dömer andra apor efter vad de har överhört.

Silkesapor och Sveriges Radios logotyp.Ivo Jacobs kommenterar en artikel i Science Advances (Do marmosets understand others’ conversations? A thermography approach) om silkesapor som får tjuvlyssna på andra silkesapors samtal. Enligt studien kan silkesapor både förstå, reagera på och fälla ett omdöme om den andra apan beroende på vad de överhört.

Klippt från Vetenskapsradion Nyheter – SR P1
Silkesapor som får tjuvlyssna på andra silkesapors samtal kan både förstå, reagera på och fälla ett omdöme om den andra apan beroende på vad de överhört, enligt en ny studie. Ivo Jacobs som är kognitionsvetare vid Lunds universitet tycker att studien är extra intressant för att man inte har använt sig av människor för att skapa reaktion hos aporna och för den speciall kamerametod som forskarna har använt.

Läs mer på: >> Vetenskapsradion Nyheter (SR P1)

Artikeln: >> Do marmosets understand others’ conversations? A thermography approach (Science Advances)

Two open PhD position at LUCSApply by March 1, 2021 Thu, 28 Jan 2021 12:21:31 +0000 Two vacant PhD positions are open for applications at LUCS (Lund University Cognitive Science).

Last application date is March 1, 2021.

► Announcement [in English]

► Utlysning [på svenska]

Mathias Osvath ny ledamot i Sveriges unga akademi Sun, 27 Sep 2020 16:43:16 +0000 Sveriges unga akademi välkomnar i dagarna Mathias Osvath och sju andra nya ledamöter från lärosäten i Göteborg, Linköping, Lund, Stockholm, Umeå och Uppsala.

Sveriges unga akademin är ett oberoende forum för yngre, ledande forskare från alla forskningsområden. Ledamotsperioden är begränsad till fem år vilket håller akademin evigt ung. Verksamheten vilar på fyra ben: forskningspolitik, internationalisering, tvärvetenskap och utåtriktade aktiviteter. Som en oberoende plattform ger den yngre forskare en stark röst i den forskningspolitiska debatten och arbetar med att föra ut forskning till barn och unga. Inom akademin möts unga forskare över lärosätes- och disciplingränser för att samtala om forskning och forskningsrelaterade ämnen. Sveriges unga akademi bildades på initiativ av Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien 2011 och har cirka 35 ledamöter. Den huserar idag vid Kungl. Vetenskapsakademiens lokaler på Frescati i Stockholm.

Länk: Från norr till söder, åtta nya forskare till ung akademi (Sveriges unga akademi)

New PhD – Andrey Anikin Fri, 28 Feb 2020 19:12:30 +0000 img {border: 1px solid #BBBBBB;}

At February 28:th, 2020, Andrey Anikin successfully defended his PhD thesis Human Nonverbal Vocalizations.

Opponent: Prof. Tecumseh Fitch, Dept. of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

PhD Thesis: Link

Abstract: Language is a very special ability, but human communication also includes a wealth of nonverbal signals: body language, facial expressions, and nonverbal vocalizations such as laughs, moans, and screams. Vocalizations are particularly interesting because they share the same modality as language but are more similar in function and structure to the calls of non-human animals. Accordingly, this thesis is an attempt to study human nonverbal vocalizations from a comparative and evolutionary perspective in order to explore the nonverbal repertoire and to understand how information is encoded in these signals.
   While nonverbal vocalizations are typically obtained by asking participants to portray a particular emotion, a less structured observational approach is explored in Paper I. By collecting unscripted examples of nonverbal vocalizations from the social media, it may be possible to obtain a more representative sample of vocal behaviors, which are also judged to be more authentic compared to actor portrayals (Paper II). Moreover, when each sound is not intended to convey a single emotion, it becomes more obvious that the repertoire of nonverbal vocalizations consists of several perceptually distinct acoustic classes as well as intermediate variants (Paper III). This means that, like other mammals, humans have a limited number of species-typical call types. These fundamental acoustic categories are the building blocks of nonverbal communication, but their acoustic properties also inform the intonation and other prosodic features of spoken language.
   Nonverbal vocalizations are interpreted flexibly in real-life interactions, taking into account the accompanying facial expression and other contextual information. To learn what information is available in the sound itself, it is desirable to be able to modify individual acoustic properties and to observe how the listeners’ responses change as a result. A new method of voice synthesis is proposed in Paper IV and then used to test the perceptual effects of manipulating two aspects of voice quality: nonlinear vocal phenomena (Paper V) and breathiness (Paper VI). In addition to shedding new light on the acoustic code involved in nonverbal vocalizations, Papers V and VI confirm the importance of distinguishing between call types because the meaning of the same acoustic property – for example, voice roughness – can vary depending on the type of vocalization in which it occurs.
   A red thread going through this dissertation is that humans are mammals and vocalize like mammals despite being linguistic creatures. The structure of the vocal repertoire and the general principles of voice modulation are broadly similar across many animal species, including humans. One reason for this convergence may be the existence of wide-spread crossmodal correspondences such as the tendency to associate low frequencies with a large body size. In Paper VII, I propose another possible cognitive mechanism for some non-arbitrary acoustic properties associated with intense emotion in humans and other species. In the case of human nonverbal vocalizations, high-intensity calls possess all the acoustic properties associated with bottom-up auditory salience – that is, these sounds appear to be “designed” to attract the listeners’ attention. This may be the result of vocal production and perception coevolving, or it may mean that the acoustic structure of high-intensity vocalizations exploits preexisting perceptual biases.
   To summarize, knowing the evolutionary history and cognitive mechanisms behind vocal behaviors, such as human nonverbal vocalizations studied in this dissertation, provides a deeper understanding of their role in communication.

The Primates 2019 Social Impact Award Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:15:45 +0000 > The Primates 2019 Social Impact Award [Link] ...]]> IllustrationThe Primates 2019 Social Impact Award goes to the following paper: Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, Elainie Alenkær Madsen: Spontaneous cross-species imitation in interactions between chimpanzees and zoo visitors (Persson et al. 2018).

>> The Primates 2019 Social Impact Award [Link]

The Announcement

It is our pleasure to announce the Primates 2019 Social Impact Award. The high social impact paper is selected by the Editor-in-Chief and two Vice Editors-in-Chief, based on data sources such as the Altmetric Attention Score (mentions in the media and social networking sites) and full-text downloads.

This paper received much media attention, was frequently mentioned in social networks, and was highly downloaded. Their work thus contributed greatly to enhancing the reputation of our journal.

Please join us in congratulating them.
Tetsuro Matsuzawa
General Director, Japan Monkey Centre;
Editor-in-Chief, Primates

Persson T, Sauciuc GA, Madsen EA (2018) Spontaneous cross-species imitation in interactions between chimpanzees and zoo visitors. Primates 59:19–29.
>> Link to artikcle (Springer Open Access)

Mathias Osvath i Filosofiska rummet om Språkets uppkomst Sun, 19 Jan 2020 17:06:53 +0000 Mathias Osvath medverkade i Filosofiska rummet och diskuterade språkets uppkomst hos människor och djur.

Hur fick människan sina språk? Var, när och varför började vi tala? Och är det bara vi som gör det? Filosofiska rummet undersöker språkets gränser i veckans samtal.

SR P1 – Filisofiska rummet: sön 24 nov 2019 kl 17.00 (45 min)
>> Lyssna på programmet på SR P1

Filosofiska rummet undersöker språkets gränser tillsammans med lingvisterna Sverker
Johansson och Gisela Håkansson, samt kognitionsforskaren Mathias Osvath.

1866 bannlyste lingvistiska sällskapet i Paris frågan om språkets uppkomst; den ansågs
allt för öppen för spekulation för att lämpa sig för ett seriöst, vetenskapligt studium.

Denna gren av lingvistiken är därför ung – först i början av 1990-talet började forskare
på allvar intressera sig för frågan.

På senare år har stora framsteg gjorts även i forskningen på icke-mänskliga varelsers
kommunikation, som ofta visar sig vara mer komplex än vi tidigare trott. Men är det

Hur skulle djurens status förändras om vi tillerkände dem språklighet? Och hur ser
relationen mellan språk och tanke ut? Är språket, som Wittgenstein menade, världens

Programledare: Tithi Hahn
Producent: Mårten Arndtzén

Funding: Swedish Research Council #1 Fri, 22 Nov 2019 13:20:44 +0000 Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc har erhållit projektbidrag från Vetenskapsrådet för projektet: Varifrån kommer mänsklig samarbetsförmåga? Det evolutionära ursprunget till förmågan att tillskriva delade mål och motivationer.
Projektbidraget är på fyra år och omfattar 4 400 000 kr.

Project Abstract:

Varifrån kommer mänsklig samarbetsförmåga? Det evolutionära ursprunget till förmågan att tillskriva delade mål och motivationer
Människan har en närmast automatisk drift att koordinera sina aktiviteter med andra i sin omgivning. Detta leder, bland annat, till en samarbetsförmåga som tycks unik för vår art. Aktuella teorier gör gällande att den här samarbetsförmågan är möjlig tack vare en förmåga att dela uppsåt, eller intentioner, med andra individer. Enligt en tongivande teori har denna förmåga för ‘delad intentionalitet’ utvecklats så sent som för 400 000 år sedan, då våra förfäder i allt större utsträckning behövde samarbeta för att skaffa föda på nya sätt. Man anser därför att både delade intentioner, och handlingar som är medvetet koordinerade, ej går att återfinna hos andra arter. Detta gäller också våra genetiskt sett närmaste släktingar, människoaporna. Dock pekar vissa forskningsresultat, inklusive våra egna, på motsatsen. I detta projekt bygger vi vidare på sådana preliminära resultat och testar tecken på förståelse av delade intentioner hos schimpanser och sumatraorangutanger med hjälp av experimentella metoder baserade på ögonrörelsemätning och tryckkänsliga bildskärmar som är anpassade för människoapor. Projektet kommer att äga rum att Lunds Universitet Primatforskningsstation Furuvik.

Humans have an irresistible inclination to coordinate actions with others, leading to species-unique forms of cooperation. According to current theories, this is underpinned by shared intentionality, i.e. a motivation to share psychological states, which in turn enables individuals to act jointly in the mutually aware pursuit of shared goals. This ability is hypothesised to have evolved as late as 400 000 year ago, as our ancestors increasingly based foraging on joint coordinated action. Both shared intentionality and joint coordinated action are theorised to be absent in other species, including our closest genetic relatives, the great apes. Yet, recent empirical findings (including our own) point to the contrary. In this project, we build on such preliminary evidence, and examine aspects of shared intentionality that we hypothesise to be manifested by the great apes. Using experimental methods based on eye-tracking and touch-screen, we will focus on the apes’ ability to infer shared goals and motivations when observing individuals engaged in joint coordinated action. The project will be based at Lund University Primate Research Station Furuvik.

Funding: Swedish Research Council #2 Fri, 22 Nov 2019 13:18:14 +0000 Mathias Osvath received funding from the Swedish Research Council for the project: Social cognition of early birds – the sociability of extinct dinosaurs.
The funding runs over four years with a total sum of 5 200 000 SEK.

Project Abstract:

Social cognition of early birds – the sociability of extinct dinosaurs
This project delivers the first-ever reconstructions of the evolution of social cognition in the extinct dinosaur lineage that led to birds. Exploring the evolution of social cognition is key for understanding the emergence of complex cognition as a whole. Cognitive evolution reveals itself in behavioral comparisons of species in strategic phylogenetic positions. However, such comparisons have not systematically enquired the historical depths of the animal kingdom, which is why we lack knowledge about how cognition transformed through geological time, leaving us largely ignorant about nature’s bauplan for its most extraordinary creation. This project mends the gap by comparing the closest living relatives of non-avian dinosaurs: palaeognath birds and crocodilians.

Funding: Swedish Research Council #1 Fri, 22 Nov 2019 13:12:33 +0000 Ivo Jacobs received funding from the Swedish Research Council for the project: Pyrocognition: the evolution of understanding fire and cooking.
The funding runs over four years with a total sum of 5 200 000 SEK.

Project Abstract:

Pyrocognition: the evolution of understanding fire and cooking
The ability to use and control fire is essential to what makes us human. Cooking in particular has given ancestral humans an unparalleled advantage; by improving energy efficiency, it fuelled the evolution of increasing brain size, which would have been impossible on a raw diet. Thus, human evolution only makes sense in the light of our change in diet as provided by cooking. However, little is known about how ancestral humans came to control fire or what they understood about it, because their behaviour cannot be studied directly. This project will deliver the first-ever scientific study of fire-related cognition in animals. It involves great apes, because they are our closest living relatives, and corvids (crow birds), because they have similar cognitive abilities that evolved independently. They are tested in six experiments designed to simulate how hominins likely came to interact with fire. What do animals understand about fire? Does it have a calming effect on them? Do they learn how heat transforms food and use it to improve food? Can they plan for future cooking? Although this has been a topic of much speculation and debate, there has been little to no empirical research into how other animals interact with fire. This project will contribute to reconstructing the cognitive and evolutionary origins of fire use. It will therefore reduce the gap in our knowledge of one of the most critical transitions in human evolutionary history.

New PhD – Katarzyna Bobrowicz Fri, 06 Sep 2019 10:59:45 +0000 img {border: 1px solid #BBBBBB;}

At September 6:th, 2019, Katarzyna Bobrowicz successfully defended her PhD thesis “Memory for Problem Solving: Comparative Studies in Attention, Working and Long-term Memory”.

Abstract: Living in a complex and dynamically changing environment requires accurate and timely behavioural responses that allow for adapting to such changes. Well-developed perceptual systems provide a continuous flow of abundant and up-to-date information on the changes in the environment, and, thereby, allow for tailoring behavioural responses accordingly. However, issuing any behavioral response would not be possible, if it was not for information processing capacities that link one’s perception and action. Because the information processing capacities of humans and non-human animals are always limited, the available information must be sorted, selected and prioritised at all steps of information processing.
   The steps of information processing have different names, corresponding to their function. The processes, that support attending to and acquiring the information, belong to attention. The processes, that support working on the acquired input from the environment and comparing it with the information acquired in the past, belong to working memory. And finally, the processes, that supply and update the information acquired in the past for the use in the long term, belong to long-term memory. Attention, working and long-term memory work in concert to harness the flow of information, and to support rapid and flexible adaptation to the changes in the environment.
   This thesis comprises four empirical papers, in which some aspects of attention, working and long-term memory are compared across five species: the common raven (Corvus corax), the Goffin’s cockatoo (Cacatua goffiniana), the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the human (Homo sapiens sapiens). In the first two studies, chimpanzees, an orangutan, and Goffin’s cockatoos are tested in a novel experimental setup that allows for measuring long-term memory flexibility. Arguably, such flexibility allows for drawing on overlapping past experiences to solve novel problems, even when these experiences conflict with one another. The results suggest that great apes and at least some Goffin’s cockatoos can overcome such conflicts and rely on less salient yet relevant rather than more salient yet irrelevant features of overlapping experiences. In the third study, ravens and humans are tested in a series of novel working memory tasks, completed individually or with a competing partner. Ravens perform better in the social than in the individual tasks, while the opposite is true for humans. Interestingly, ravens seem to handle the increasing difficulty of the task by keeping a steady success rate, perhaps revealing a flexible adaptation to varying demands on working memory in ecological conditions. In the fourth and final study, ravens and humans are tested in another experimental setup, which requires attending to a series of objects. Ravens’ gazes to the objects are half as short as humans’, suggesting a higher speed of perception, and perhaps of cognitive processing.