Zsofia Viranyi, PhD


Curriculum Vitae

Studies in Budapest, Hungary, focusing on animal behavior and comparative cognition. MSc in Biology (2000) and PhD in Ethology (2004). Research visits at theMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig (2002), and at Kyoto University (2004). Leader of the Dog Therapy Program of the Dogs for HumansFoundation (2005 - 2006). Postdoctoral fellow at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution & Cognition Research, Altenberg, Austria (2006 - 2009). Coordinator of the ESF Research Networking Program “CompCog” (2008-2013). Co-founder and co-director of the Wolf Science Center and the Clever Dog Lab Society. Since 2012, Senior Researcher at the Comparative Cognition Unit of the Messerli Research Institute.


Main Fields of Research

Scientific study of dog behavior and dog-human interactions as well as its practical application

Wolf-dog and primate-dog comparisons, the behavioral effects of domestication

Problem solving and causal reasoning

Gestural communication, social learning, theory-of-mind, cooperative and agonistic interactions

Conceptual and methodological challenges of comparative cognition


Research Projects

  • The semantics of talking with the eyes and gestures: the hormonal and cognitive underpinnings of comprehending cooperative communication in domestic dogs and wolves. WWTF Cognitive Science grant 2011 

  • Cognitive tools and emotional context in the development of canine cooperation (FWF 21244)

  • Cognitive development and aging in pet dogs

  • ESF Research Networking Programme “The Evolution of Social Cognition” (www.compcog.org)



Kis, A./Gácsi, M./Range, F./Virányi, Zs. (2012): Object permanence in adult Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) – not everything is an “A-not-B” error that seems to be. Animal Cognition, 15, 97-105

Kis, A./Topál, J./Gácsi, M./Range, F./Huber, L./Miklósi, Á./Virányi, Zs. (2012): Does the A-not-B error in dogs indicate sensitivity to human communication? New data support social inference. Animal Cognition, 15(4), 737-743

Virányi, Zs./Range, F. (2011): Evaluating the logic of perspective taking experiments. Learning and Behavior. DOI 10.3758/s13420-011-0040-8

Range, F./Hentrup, M./Virányi, Zs. (2011): Dogs are able to solve a means-end tasks. Animal Cognition. doi:10.1007/s10071-011-0394-5

Range, F./Virányi, Zs. (2011): Development of gaze following abilities in wolves (Canis familiaris). PLoS ONE, 6, e16888

Faragó, T./Pongrácz, P./Miklósi, Á./Virányi, Zs./Range, F. (2010): Dogs’ expectation about signalers’ body size by virtue of their growls. PLoS ONE, 5: e15175

Faragó, T./Pongrácz, P./Range, F./Virányi, Zs./Miklósi, Á. (2010): ‘The bone is mine’: affective and referential aspects of dog growls. Animal Behaviour, 79: 917-925

Gácsi, M./Győri, B./Virányi, Zs./Kubinyi, E./Range, F./Belényi, B./Miklósi, Á. (2009): Selection for developmental shift explains dog-wolf difference in utilizing human pointing gestures. PLoS ONE 4(8):e6584. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006584

Huber, L./Range, F./Voelkl, B./Szucsich, A./Virányi, Zs./Miklósi, Á. (2009): The evolution of imitation: what do the capacities of non-human animals tell us about the mechanisms of imitation? Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B , 1–11, doi:10.1098/rstb.2009.0060

Range, F./Heucke, S./Gruber, C./Konz, A./Huber, L./Virányi, Zs. (2009): The effect of ostensive cues on dogs’ performance in a manipulative social learning task. Applied Animal Behaviour Sciences, 120: 170-178

Topál, J./Miklósi, Á./Gácsi, M./Dóka, A./Pongrácz, P./Kubinyi, E./Virányi, Zs./Csányi, V. (2009): The Dog as a Model for Understanding Human Social Behavior. Advances in the study of behaviour, 39: 71-116

Range, F./Horn, L./Virányi, Zs./Huber, L. (2009): Effort and reward: Inequity aversion in domestic dogs? PNAS, 106: 340-345

Virányi, Zs./Gácsi, M./Kubinyi, E./Topál, J./Belényi, B./Ujfalussy, D./Miklósi, Á. (2008): Comprehension of human pointing gestures in young human-reared wolves and dogs, Animal Cognition, 11: 373-387

Range, F./Virányi, Zs./Huber, L. (2007): Selective imitation in dogs. Current Biology, 17: 868-872

Kubinyi, E./Virányi, Zs./Miklósi, Á. (2007): Comparative social cognition: From wolf and dog to humans. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 2: 26-46

Erdőhegyi, Á./Topál, J./Virányi, Zs./Miklósi, Á. (2007): When dogs seem to use inferential reasoning. Animal Behaviour, 74: 725-736

Topál, J./Miklósi, Á./Kubinyi, E./Gácsi, M./Dóka, A./Pongrácz, P./Virányi, Zs./Csányi, V. (2007): Alternatív funkcionális modell a humán viselkedésevolúció tanulmányozásában. A kutya. Magyar Pszichológiai Szemle, 62: 139-158

Pákozdy, Á./Leschnik, M./Nell, B./Kolmi, U. S./Virányi, Z./Belényi, B./Molnár, M. J./Bilzer, T. (2007): Myotonic dystrophy in two European grey wolves (Canis lupus). Acta Veterinaria Hungarica, 55: 87-95

Virányi, Zs./Topál, J./Miklósi, Á./Csányi, V. (2006): A nonverbal test of knowledge attribution: a comparative study of dogs and children. Animal Cognition, 9: 13-26

Gácsi, M./Győri, B./Miklósi, Á./Virányi, Zs./Kubinyi, E./Topál, J./Csányi, V. (2005): Species-specific differences and similarities in the behavior of hand raised dog and wolf puppies in social situations with humans. Developmental Psychobiology, 47: 111-122

Topál, J./Gácsi, M./Miklósi, Á./Virányi, Zs./Kubinyi, E./Csányi, V. (2005): Attachment to humans: a comparative study on hand-reared wolves and differently socialized dog puppies. Animal Behaviour, 70: 1367-1375

Virányi, Zs./Topál, J./Gácsi, M./Miklósi, Á./Csányi, V. (2004): Dogs respond appropriately to cues of humans’ attentional focus. Behavioural Processes, 66: 161-172

Miklósi, Á./Kubinyi, E./Topál, J./Gácsi, M./Virányi, Zs./Csányi, V. (2003): A simple reason for a big difference: Wolves do not look back at humans, but dogs do. Current Biology, 13: 763-766


Book chapters

Virányi, Zs./Range, F./Huber, L. (2008): Attentiveness toward others and social learning in domestic dogs. In Learning from animals? (eds. Röska-Hardy, L. & Neumann-Held, E. M.) Psychology Press, London, pp. 141-153

Virányi, Zs./Topál, J./Gácsi, M./Miklósi, Á./Csányi, V. (2004): Dog-human communication: effect of the owner’s attentional state on the dogs’ response to verbal commands. (in Hungarian) In: Az észleléstöl a nyelvig. edited by Cs. Pléh, Gy. Kampis & V. Csányi, Gondolat Kiadó: Budapest, pp. 292-305

Virányi, Zs./Topál, J./Csányi, V. (2001): Social intelligence: Do dogs know what is in the owners’ mind? Investigating knowledge attribution in pet dogs and children by nonverbal method (in Hungarian) In: Evolúció és megismerés, edited by Gy. Kampis & L. Ropolyi, Typotex: Budapest, pp. 15-34



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