Dr. Alice Auersperg


Curriculum Vitae

Alice Auersperg graduated in Zoology at the University of Edinburgh in 2007. In January 2011 she finished her PhD thesis on the technical cognition in the New Zealand kea at the University of Vienna.

After her doctorate she started her first Postdoc position at the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna and initiated the Goffin Lab. Meanwhile she tested problem solving strategies on the four great apes at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

From 2013-2015 she worked as an Erwin Schrödinger fellow at the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford on a comparative project on object play and physical cognition in corvids and parrots. She, thereafter, spent a return phase of six months at the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna.

In April 2016 she became the PI of two FWF stand-alone projects on innovativeness and tool manufacture in the Goffin's cockatoo and moved to the Goffin Lab 2 to the Messerli Research Institute.


Main Fields of Research

Comparative Cognition

Technical Cognition


Tool Use

Object Play


Research Projects

  • September 2019 The cognitive ecology of the Goffin's cockatoo. Funded by FWF (Co-investigator; PI: Mark’O’Hara).

  • September 2016 - August 2019 Technical innovativeness in the Goffin's cockatoo. Funded by FWF.

  • April 2016 - March 2019 Tool manufacture in the Goffin's cokatoo. Funded by FWF.

  • October 2014 - October 2017 Decision making in Goffin's cockatoos and orangutans. fundey by Uni:docs stipendium, Förderungsprogramm für Doktoranten der Universität Wien. PhD-Thesis by Isabelle Laumer.



Mioduszeska, BM; O’Hara MC, Haryoko, T, Auersperg, AMI, Huber, L, Prawiradilaga, DM (2019). Treubia 45, 85-102.

Laumer, I., Auersperg, A.M.I., Bugyar, T. Call, J. Flexible tool use in Orangutans. Plos One.Accepted

Pelayo-van-Buuren, M., Auersperg, A.M.I., Tebbich, S., Gajdon, G. & von Bayern, A. (2019) The mirror self-recognition test in kea and cockatoos. Behaviour.Published online.

Beinauer I., Bugnyar, T. Auersperg, A.M.I. (2019)Prospective but not retrospective tool selection in the Goffin’s cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana). BehaviorPublished online.

O’Hara, M., Mioduszewska, B., Haryoko, T., Prawiradilaga, D., Huber, L., Auersperg, A.M.I. (2019) Extraction without tooling around -The first comprehensive description of the foraging- and socio- ecology of wild Goffin's cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana). BehaviorPublished online.

Von Bayern, A.M.P, Danel, S., Mioduszewska, B., Auersperg, A.M.I., Kacelnik, A.( 2018) The Construction of compound tools by New Caledonian crows. Scientific Reports 8(1) 15676.

Laumer. I., Call, J., Auersperg, A.M.I. (2018) Spontaneous innovation of hook bending and in Orang Utans (Pongo abelii). Scientific Reports. 8(1) 16518.

Auersperg, A.M.I., Köck, C., Bugnyar, T., Huber, L., (2018) Adjusting length but not width during tool manufacture in Goffin’s cockatoos. Plos ONE. 13(11) s0205429.

Osuna-Mascaro, A.J.O. & Auersperg, A.M.I. (2018) On the brink to tool use: How object combinations foster functional behaviour in feral Goffin’s cockatoos. Animal Behaviour and Cognition.  5(2):229–234.

Habl C. & Auersperg A.M.I. (2017) Finding the right key: Limited influence of combinatory object play on performance in a tool use task in Goffin's cockatoos. Plos ONE. 12(11), e0186859.

Laumer, I., Bugnyar, T., Reber, S., Auersperg, A.M.I. (2017) Can hook bending get off the hook? Bending and unbending of pliant tools by cockatoos. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284(1862), 20171026.

O’Hara, M. & Auersperg, A.M.I (2017) Object play in parrots and corvids. Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences. 16, 119-125.

O'Hara, M., Mioduszewska, B., von Bayern, AMP, Auersperg, AMI, Bugnyar, T., Wilkinson, A., Huber, L., Gajdon, G.K. (2017) The temporal dependence of exploration on neotic style in birds. Scientific Reports. 7, 4742.

Auersperg, A.M.I., Köck, C., Pledermann A., O’Hara, M., Huber, L. (2017) Safekeeping of tools in Goffin’s cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana). Animal Behaviour. 128, 125-133.

Auersperg, A.M.I., Borasinski, S., Laumer, I, Kacelnik, K (2016) Goffin's cockatoos make the same tool type from different materials. Biology Letters. 12, 20160689.

Laumer, I., Bugnyar, T., Auersperg, A.M.I. (2016) Flexible decision-making relative to reward quality and tool functionality in Goffin’s cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana). Scientific Reports 6, 28380.

Szabo, B., Bugnyar, T., Auersperg, A.M.I. (2016) Within-group relationships and lack of social enhancement during object manipulation in captive Goffin cockatoos. Learning and Behavior. . 

O‘Hara, M., Auersperg, A.M.I., Bugnyar, T. Huber, L. (2015). Inference by exclusion in Goffin cockatoos (Cacatua goffini). Plos ONE. 10(8):e0134894. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134894.

Auersperg, A.M.I, Oswald, N., Domansegg, M., Bugnyar, T. (2015) Combinatory actions during object play in parrots. Animal Behavior and Cognition 2015, 1(4): 470-488. DOI: 10.12966/abc.11.05.2014.

Auersperg, A.M.I, van Horik, J., Bugnyar, T., Kacelnik, K., Emery, N., von Bayern, A.M.P. (2015) Combinatory actions during object play in psittaciformes (Diopsittaca nobilis, Pionites melanocephala, Cacatua goffini) and corvids (Corvus corax, C. monedula, C. moneduloides). Journal of Comparative Psychology. 129(1): 62-71.

Auersperg, A.M.I, von Bayern, A.M.P., Weber, S., Szapari, A., Bugnyar, T. Kacelnik, A. (2014) Social Transmission of Tool Use in the Goffins cockatoo. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B. 281(1793), 20140972. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0972. 

Auersperg, A.M.I., Kacelnik, A., von Bayern, A.M.P. (2013) Explorative learning and functional inferences on a five-step mechanical problem in juvenile Goffin’s cockatoos (Cacatua goffini). Plos ONE. 8(7): e68979. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068979.

Auersperg, A.M.I., Szabo, B., Bugnyar, T.A (2013) Object permanence in the Goffin’s cockatoo (Cacatua goffini). Journal of Comparative Psychology. Published Online. DOI:10.1037/a0033272.

Auersperg, A.M.I., Laumer, I., Bugnyar, T. (2013) Goffin cockatoos wait for qualitative and quantitative gains but prefer 'better' to 'more'. Biology Letters 9(3):20121092. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.1092.

Auersperg, A.M.I., Szabo, B. von Bayern, A.M.P., Kacelnik, A. (2012) Spontaneous innovation of tool manufacture and use in a Goffin’s cockatoo. Current Biology. 22(21): 903 - R904.

Auersperg A.M.I., Gajdon G.K., von Bayern, A.M.P., (2012) A New Approach to Comparing Problem Solving, Flexibility and Innovation. Journal of Communicative and Integrative Biology. 5(2):140-5. DOI: 10.4161/cib.18787.

Auersperg A.M.I., Gajdon G.K., Huber L. (2011) Navigating a tool end in a specific direction: stick-tool use in kea (Nestor notabilis). Biology Letters.DOI:0.1098/rsbl.2011.0388.

Auersperg, A.M.I., von Bayern, A.M.P., Gajdon, G.K., Huber, L., Kacelnik, A. (2011) Flexibility in problem solving and tool use of kea and New Caledonian crows in a Multi Access Box paradigm. PLoS ONE 6(6): e20231.

Auersperg, A.M.I., Gajdon, G.K., Huber, L. (2010) Kea, Nestor notabilis, produce dynamic relationships between objects in a second-order tool use task. Animal Behaviour, 80, 783-789. DOI:10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.08.007. 

Auersperg, A.M.I., Gajdon, G. K. & Huber, L. (2009) Kea (Nestor notabilis) consider spatial relationships between objects in the support problem. Biology Letters, 5, 455-458. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0114


Book chapters

Rössler, T., Mioduszewska, B., Auersperg, A.M.I. Parrot Innovation. In: Kaufman, J. Call, J. & Kaufman, A. The Cambridge Handbook of Animal Cognition IN PREP

Rössler, T., Auersperg, A.M.I. Comparative Cognition. In: Vonk, J. & Shackelford, T.  Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer. In Press.

Auersperg, A.M.I., Teschke, I. & Tebbich, S. 2015 Folk Physics for birds. In: ten, Cate, C., Healy, S. (Eds.) Avian Cognition. Elsevier, Academic Press. In Press. 

Auersperg, A.M.I. Exploration technique and technical innovations in corvids and parrots. In: Kaufman, J. & Kaufman, A. (Eds.) Animal Innovation and Creativity, Chapter 3 pp. 45-69. Elsevier Academic Press.


Priv.-Doz. Dr.rer.nat. Alice Isabel Marie Auersperg
E-Mail to Alice Isabel Marie Auersperg