Friederike Range (FR), Messerli Research Institute, Unit of Comparative Cognition, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
received her Master in Animal Physiology at the University of Bayreuth (1998) and her PhD at the Dep. of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA (2004). This was followed by post-doctoral fellowships at the Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle at Grünau (2004-2005), and at the Dep. of Neurobiology and Cognition, University of Vienna (2005-2008), both Austria. 2007 she co-founded the Clever Dog Lab, 2008 the Wolf Science Center at Grünau, one year later at Ernstbrunn, Austria. Both labs are embedded today in the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna and have developed into internationally highly regarded research groups.
FR is interested in the evolution of mind and her research focuses on social behaviour and cognitive abilities of non-human animals. Her research integrates ethological and psychological approaches to achieve a better understanding of how non-human animals cope with their social and physical environment. She combines observational studies and controlled experiments on mental mechanisms with physiological measures. Her early research career concentrated mainly on free-ranging primates, but she is now primarily focused on investigating dogs and their closest wild-living relatives, wolves. Studying these canine species as extensively as primates is important since elucidating similarities and differences in the cognitive processes between non-primate and primate taxa may have important implications for our understanding of decision-making in humans and non human-animals. The hope is to ultimately increase our understanding of 1) socio-cognitive skills as adaptations to specific environments (e.g., wolves are selected to live in family units and cooperate with each other, like early hunter-gatherer societies, while dogs are selected to live in the modern human niche) and/or 2) the evolutionary background and origin of our own skills. For more information see the website WSC and CDL.