Soon Young Park, DVM


Curriculum Vitae

After finishing her bachelor studies in Veterinary Medicine at Konkuk University in Seoul, Soon Young Park gained her Master's degree in Neuroscience and Cognition with emphasis on Behavioral Neuroscience at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. During her first nine months there she worked on the two projects "Social behavior development of pigs" and "Spatial memory acquisition of pigs" as parts of the program "Emotion and Cognition".

The two projects drew her interest to visual perception in social interaction and she spent the rest of the Master's studies in the project "Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) effect on the perception of grasping-relevant visual stimuli" and on writing her Master's thesis on "Visual perceptual skill learning after long-term blindness". Her research interest is the broad field of interspecies social interaction and its underlying evolutionary and cognitive mechanism.

Since October 2012 she has been a PhD student at the Messerli Research Institute, currently working in the WWTF-funded project "The semantics of talking with the eyes and gestures", supervised by Dr. Zsófia Virányi, Prof. Dr. Ludwig Huber and Dr. Pamela Burger. The aim is to answer questions related to the evolutionary origin and cognitive and genetic mechanisms which domestic dogs possess for processing social information originating from humans, dogs and others animal species. The results of the project will help to better understand the evolution of human communication as well as the way dogs interact with humans.


Main Fields of Research

Interspecies interaction

Evolution of social behavior and the underlying cognitive mechanisms

Innovative behavior research tools and their application


Research Projects



Gutteling TP, Park SY, Kenemans JL, Neggers SWF. (2013) TMS of the anterior intraparietal area selectively modulates orientation change detection during action preparation. Journal of Neurophysiology

Gieling ET, Park SY, Nordquist RE, van der Staay FJ. (2012) Cognitive performance of low- and normal-birth-weight
piglets in a spatial hole-board discrimination task. Pediatric Research 71: 71-76.



Soon Young Park DVM