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Faculty

Isabelle Laumer


Postdoctoral Scholar


Contact Information

Email    ilaumer@ucla.edu
Office  Haines Hall
Phone  

I have broad research interests in the field of animal cognition and comparative psychology. So far, my research focused on social cognition (prosociality, inequity aversion, delay of gratification) and extends to physical cognition (tool manufacture & use, tool innovation and decision making). 

I have intensively studied apes and parrots for the past eight years at the University of Vienna, Austria and at the Max-Planck-Institute in Leipzig, Germany. In the course of my master thesis I studied Goffin cockatoos´ ability to delay gratification in an adapted version of the famous marshmallow test in children. Thereafter I achieved a PhD fellowship and investigated the cognitive abilities underlying tool-related problem solving and tool innovation in Goffin cockatoos and orangutans in close collaboration with Thomas Bugnyar, Alice Auersperg and Josep Call. Furthermore, I conducted studies on prosociality and inequity aversion (for details see publications).

Currently I´m working as postdoc at Erica Cartmill´s lab at the Department of Anthropology, UCLA. The position is part of the research project entitled "Play, Humor, and Joy in Great Apes" funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation. The capacity for humor draws on many kinds of intelligences: social intelligence, an ability to anticipate the future and appreciate the violation of expectations and a capacity for joy. Humor has been intensively studied in humans, but we know little about the forms, structures, and varieties of humor in other animals. The project aims to build our understanding of the social cognition and phenomenological experience of joy, play and humor in our closest living relatives, the great apes.

Degrees

PhD in Cognitive Biology, Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Austria (2018)

Master of Science in Biology, Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Austria

Bachelor of Science in Biology, University of Vienna, Austria

Grants

Uni:docs fellowship for excellent doctoral candidates of the University of Vienna

Selected Publications

1. Laumer I.B., Massen J.J.M., Wakonig B., Lorck-Tympner M., Carminito C., Auersperg A.MI. (2019) Tentative evidence for inequity aversion to unequal work-efforts but not to unequal reward distribution in Goffin´s cockatoos. Ethology; 00:1-10.
 
Laumer I.B., Auersperg A.M.I., Bugnyar T., Call J. (2019) Orangutans (Pongo abelii) make flexible decisions relative to reward quality and tool functionality in a multi-dimensional tool-use task. PLoS One 14(2): e0211031. 
 
Laumer I.B., Call J., Bugnyar T., Auersperg A.M.I. (2018) Spontaneous innovation of hook-bending and unbending in orangutans (Pongo abelii). Scientific Reports 8:16518
 
Laumer I.B., Bugnyar T., Reber S.A., Auersperg A.M.I. (2017) Can hook-bending be let off the hook? Bending/unbending of pliant tools by cockatoos. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20171026.

Auersperg A.M.I, Borasinski S., Laumer I.B., Kacelnik A. (2016) Goffin’s cockatoos make the same tool type from different materials. Biology Letters. 12: 20160689.
 
Laumer I.B., Bugnyar T., Auersperg A.M.I. (2016) Flexible decision-making relative to reward quality and tool functionality in Goffin cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana). Scientific Reports. 6, 28380 (2016).
 
Auersperg A.M.I.*, Laumer I.B.*, Bugnyar T. (2013) Goffin cockatoos wait for qualitative and quantitative gains but prefer ‘better’ to ‘more’. Biology Letters 9: 20121092. 
*NOTE: both Auersperg & Laumer share the first authorship of this publication.

Selected conference talks

  • Behaviour 2017 Estoril, Portugal “Can hook bending be let off the hook? Bending/unbending of pliant tools by cockatoos and orangutans” Authors: Laumer I.B., Bugnyar T., Reber S.A., Call J., Auersperg A.M.I.
  • ISBE 2016 Exeter, England “Eat now or use tool? Decision-making in Goffin cockatoos and orangutans” Authors: Laumer I.B., Bugnyar T., Call J., Auersperg A.M.I.
  • ECBB 2016 Vienna, Austria “Decisions relative to reward quality and tool functionality in Goffin cockatoos and orangutans (Pongo abelii)” Authors: Laumer I.B., Bugnyar T., Call J., Auersperg A.M.I.
  • Corvid-get-together 2015 Jena, Germany “Tool related decision-making in Goffin cockatoos and orangutans: A comparison”. Authors: Laumer I.B., Bugnyar T., Call J., Auersperg A.M.I. 
  • Behaviour 2015 Cairns, Australia “Decisions relative to tool functionality and reward quality in Goffin cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana)”. Authors: Laumer I.B., Bugnyar T., Auersperg A.M.I.

Research

Comparative psychology; primate and avian cognition; behavioral biology; great apes; evolution of humor and play; prosociality; inequity aversion; delay of gratification; tool manufacture and innovation

Collaborators

  • Erica Cartmill, Department of Anthropology, UCLA
  • Alice Auersperg, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria
  • Thomas Bugnyar, Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Josep Call, School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St. Andrews, UK
  • Jorg Massen, Cognitive Psychology Unit, University of Leiden, NL
  • Sarah Jelbert, Comparative Cognition Lab, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Alex Taylor, Science Centre, University of Auckland, NZ