Ludwig Huber

Unit of Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Ludwig Huber studied biology and philosophy at the University of Vienna. He received academic degrees in 1988 (Mag. rer. nat.), 1991 (Dr. rer. nat.), and 2000 (Habilitation in Zoology / Cognitive Biology). After a postdoc with Rupert Riedl, he headed the Department of Theoretical Biology (1995-2003), the Emerging Field Biology of Cognition (2005-2009) and the Department of Cognitive Biology (2010-2011). In 2011 he was appointed Professor of the Natural Science Foundations of Animal Ethics and Human-Animal Interactions at the Messerli Research Institute, with double appointment of the VetmedUni Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna. There he is the head of the Unit of Comparative Cognition, which includes the Clever Dog Lab Vienna, part of the Haidlhof Research Station on Cognition and Communication (kea lab and pig lab) and the two Goffin labs in Goldegg (Austria) and Tanimbar (Indonesia). His research focuses on animal cognition in a broad, comparative manner, including such diverse species as humans, marmosets, dogs, kea, pigeons, tortoise, lizards, poison frogs and archer fish. He has written 168 research articles and 42 book chapters about these topics, and is the co-editor of several books including "The Evolution of Cognition" (MIT Press 2000).

Ludwig Huber's research has clustered around four topics of animal cognition: perceptual cognition (categorization, concept formation, biological motion, picture-object equivalence), social cognition (social learning, imitation, conformity, cooperation), technical cognition (tool use, exploration, object permanence, causality) and reasoning (insight, abstraction, inferential reasoning, pre- linguistic logic). These questions have been studied from a broad biological and comparative approach, testing a variety of species in the lab and the field, such as two fish (archer fish, goldfish), two amphibian (salamander, poison frog), two reptile (tortoise, lizards), two bird (pigeons, keas), and two mammalian (dogs and marmosets) species. With the move to the Messerli Research Institute (MRI) his work became more narrowly focused on the cognitive and emotional processes of canines, and the perceptual and cognitive processes of parrots (keas and Goffin cockatoos). Together with Claus Lamm (Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna) he has started to use neuroimaging (fMRI) to compare the neuronal underpinnings of socio-cognitive abilities in humans and dogs. An important extension at the new Messerli Research Institute has been applied research on human-animal interactions and ethical issues, including the investigation of cognitive and emotional processes of farm animals (free-ranging pigs)

For more information see his webpage