How did cognition evolve? When and where did specific forms of cognition evolve? Has it evolved in similar ways again and again?

These questions can be answered by looking beyond the single species and compare organisms with different, and similar, abilities in different, and similar, environments. In this way the histories of cognition can be reconstructed.

This means the careful study of what animals do, and how they do it. To answer the how question, detailed experimental studies are needed where underlying mechanisms can be traced.

LUCS directs two research stations for animal cognition studies:


Corvid research



Primate research


Besides at the research stations, we collect data in various external collaborations. See the researchers’ webpages for more information.

Cognitive zoology

We call our field cognitive zoology to reflect the fact that we believe that cognition is an integral part of all facets of animal life. It is not just a late-coming addition to behaviour, separable from this. Consequently, there must be a placement of cognition in a larger zoological context, that takes into consideration animals’ ethologies, ecologies and adaptations, as well as developmental and learning processes.

Furthermore, we call our research cognitive zoology to emphasise that we aim to be broader than traditional comparative animal research, not confined to the methods of e.g. experimental psychology. And although comparisons play an important role in our field, we are often as interested in cognition as part of the description of single species, or of individuals.

“If, at a pinch, animal psychology were conceivable without human psychology, it is absolutely unthinkable without zoology, which forms its indispensable basis. Whenever this fundamental fact has been ignored, it has led to gross errors of judgement, ridiculous exaggeration, or on the other hand to a serious underestimate of the animal’s mind.”

– Heini Hediger (1955/1968) The Psychology and Behaviour of Animals in Zoos and Circuses


Read about our current and finished projects.



Want to join us? Check out our course in Animal cognition!


Andrey Anikin,, Phone: +46 (0)46 222 1748
Rasmus Arnling Bååth,
Can Kabadayi,, Phone: +46 (0)46 222 0284
Elainie Madsen,
Ivo Jacobs,, Phone: +46 (0)46 222 0284
Helena Osvath,
Mathias Osvath,, Phone: +46 (0)46 222 3299
Tomas Persson,, Phone: +46 (0)46 222 0113
Stephan Alexander Reber,, Phone: +46 (0)46 222 0284
Thomas Rejsenhus Jensen,, Phone: +46 (0)46 222 0284
Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc,
Claudia Zeiträg,, , Phone: +46 (0)46 222 0284

Former members

Katarzyna Bobrowicz,
Megan Lambert, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

See also

LUCS Cognitive Zoology Group