Julia Grabner

Department of Behavioral and Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna

■  Nationality: Austria

■  Supervisor: Michelle Spierings, PhD; Prof. Thomas Bugnyar

■  Key topics: Sound perception in common marmosets


PhD project:

My PhD thesis is part of the Dynamates project, in which researchers from cognitive biology, cognitive neuroscience and computational modelling are studying human and non-human primates' perception and prediction of acoustic stimuli moving through space and time. Under the supervision of Michelle Spierings, PhD and Prof. Thomas Bugnyar and together with Dr. Ruth Sonnweber my main focus will be on common marmosets' (Callithrix jacchus) ability to locate stationary and moving sound stimuli to ultimately get insight into their dynamic decision-making process and compare the underlying sensory predicion mechanisms to those found in humans. Furthermore I will investigate whether and how marmosets use vocal information to differentiate between unfamiliar and familiar conspecifics and humans.

Past experiences:

I have always been interested in animal behaviour and cognition, with a special focus on the connection between behaviour, information transmission and physiology in human and non-human primates. Following my interest I started studying Biology (specialising on behavioural Anthropology) and did two Master's in Evolutionary Anthropology and Behaviour, Neurobiology and Cognition, all at the University of Vienna. In my second Master´s thesis I looked at information transmission in common marmosets on which I want to build on in my PhD thesis.

Outside the lab:

In my free time I enjoy being outdoors and connecting to nature. Most of this time is filled with teaching this spirit and all the associated skills to children and teenagers as a scout leader. Additionally, I like to go hiking and love reading and playing boardgames.