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Stellenausschreibungen: Leibniz Science Campus on Primate Cognition (LSC), Göttingen

Primate Cognition: Philosophical, Linguistic, and Historical Perspectives

Both human and nonhuman primates maneuver in complex social environments and use elaborate communicative means to regulate their social relationships. This life in a complex social setting is believed to have driven primate brain evolution and intelligence. Within the Leibniz Science Campus on Primate Cognition (LSC), scholars from psychology, behavioral biology and neuroscience have teamed up to contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of intelligence, taking an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. Three core questions shall be addressed: the integration of information from multiple sources in social decision-making, the role of social cognition in primate communication, and the question what makes social cognition special compared to non-social cognition.

The questions posed and the answers collected by this kind of research will have strong repercussions for the way we conceive the differences between human and nonhuman primates, and ultimately, what it means to be human. Moreover, the way we judge the available evidence is strongly influenced by the wider scientific discourse. In the past years, for instance, we have seen a surge of interest in Animal Studies in the humanities ("animal turn"), which will feed back on the discourse in the natural sciences. In addition, there is still considerable debate to which degree primate communication offers insights into the origin of language. Finally, many of the themes presently addressed in the cognitive sciences effectively constitute old philosophical questions, with important implications for ethical considerations in primate research.

We now want to take the opportunity and bring together researchers from the humanities and the natural sciences in the newly established LSC. Together with the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, we invite applications of exceptionally open-minded and talented young researchers with a strong interest in interdisciplinary research for a temporary research group for the period of October 2015 to July 2017. Applicants may have diverse backgrounds such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, history of science, media studies or related fields. Fellows will receive the opportunity to investigate their own research questions in collaboration with colleagues from the natural sciences and the humanities. Fellows will be affiliated with the Lichtenberg-Kolleg and the LSC, have access to the LSC's facilities and services and are expected to support our outreach activities by organizing events for a broader audience.

Early Career Fellows 2015-2017

Board of Directors:

Other Göttingen scholars involved:


symposium: Why C(omp)ARE? Research across species and cultures to understand the human mind

We would like to invite you to a two-day symposium “Why C(omp)ARE? Research across species and cultures to understand the human mind”, organized by Katja Liebal (FU Berlin) and Daniel Haun (Leipzig University). While the focus of the first day (6th November, at Freie Universität Berlin) is on the Cross-species perspectives on the human mind, the focus of the second day (7th November, at Leipzig University) is on Cross-cultural perspectives on the human mind.

Aiming to understand human psychology benefits from a frame of reference against which to assess it. The comparison with the psychology of other animals can provide such a frame of reference and thereby contribute to the extraction of the definitive characteristics of the human species. Aiming to understand human psychology additionally benefits from considering all its culture-specific incarnations to avoid a misrepresentation of the human condition.  A perspective on human psychology that assesses it against a phylogenetic frame of reference and makes use of the diversity of human psychology is no longer restricted to mechanistic description but can provide depth in both description and explanation. This symposium aims to promote this comparative perspective within psychology by presenting exciting and cutting-edge research of extraordinary scientists applying cross-species and cross-cultural perspectives on questions on the human mind.

Speaker and titles (final schedule to follow):

6th Nov: Cross-species perspectives on the human mind
At FU Berlin, organized by Katja Liebal, Comparative Developmental Psychology, Department of Education and Psychology
Josep Call (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig): Bargains that primates make     

Julia Fischer (Cognitive Ethology Lab, German Primate Center, Göttingen): How far have we come in understanding the evolution of the language faculty?

Daniel Haun (Early Child Development and Culture, Leipzig University): Why Psychology is incomplete without comparative perspective

Carel van Schaik (Anthropological Institute & Museum, Universität Zürich): How cooperative breeding helped to shape human psychology

Michael Tomasello (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig): Cooperation and human cognition

 “Science to go”: we will organize transport by bus (from Berlin to Leipzig) for those who want to attend both days. The bus will leave in the evening around 6 pm and arrive in Leipzig approx. 8 pm. During transfer, speakers will answer questions of the participants, which they submitted earlier that day. Particularly for students and junior researchers, this is an opportunity to discuss some of their questions in a more informal setting with the speakers and other participants. Please note that seats are limited.

7th Nov: Cross-cultural perspectives on the human mind
At Leipzig University, organized by Daniel Haun, Early Child Development and Culture, Educational Science and Psychology
Russell Gray (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena): The cultural evolution of human behavior

Heidi Keller (Universität Osnabrück, Hebrew University Jerusalem): Cultures of childhood

Carel van Schaik (Anthropological Institute & Museum, Universität Zürich): The evolution of cultural evolution

Andrea Bender (Department for Psychosocial Sciences, University of Bergen): tba

Panel discussion: Why not C(omp)ARE?
While the comparative perspective in psychology has regained prominence internationally, it is still a rarity at German universities, in both teaching and research. We will discuss reasons for and solutions to this mismatch


There is no registration fee, but since places are limited, please register by sending an email to Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein! (with subject “Registration for Symposium”) by 30th September 2015 with the following information:

Your full name, contact information (email, phone), affiliation
Participation 6th Nov OR 7th Nov OR both days
Are you interested in bus transfer if you attend both days?
Any needs and requirements (dietary restrictions, child care needed)


Freie Universität Berlin (6th November) and Leipzig University (7th November). Rooms and directions to the venue will be announced soon.



For more information http://www.ewi-psy.fu-berlin.de/en/einrichtungen/arbeitsbereiche/evolutionaere_psy/Symposium-2015/index.html


Hope to see you there!

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