Alice Auersperg (Head of Lab)

Alice Auersperg [Link 1] established the Goffin Lab shortly after her PdD in 2011. She is in involved in all animal management and experimental supervision. Alice joined the Messerli Institute in April 2016 and is currently PI of two ongoing FWF projects. She is interested in comparative cognition, physical cognition and tool use.


Mark O'Hara (Field Project)

Mark started working in the Goffin Lab by introducing the touchscreen computer to the cockatoos. In a first project he was looking at the effect of neophilia and exploration in a simple discrimination learning task. With this information he managed to devise a method to test for inference by exclusion, as well as other important processes underlying decision making, on the touchscreen. Recently he, together with Berenika Mioduszewska, organized a field expedition to the Tanimbar Islands in Indonesia, which are the natural habitat of the Goffin's cockatoos. In this project, and in collaboration with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), they managed to gain first insights into the cockatoos' ecological background, which might help us understand the evolution of their remarkable cognitive abilities. In the future they hope to establish a long term study site on Tanimbar to gain even more information on the ecology and the behaviour of wild Goffin's cockatoos.


Berenika Mioduszewska (Field Project)

Together with Mark O’Hara, Berenika conducted a pilot field expedition to investigate Goffin cockatoos’ behaviour and feeding ecology in their natural habitat of Tanimbar Islands, Indonesia. Goffins are endemic to these islands, yet little is known about their ecology and wild behaviour. In the future they hope to establish a long-term study site on Yamdena Island to further investigate the ecology, behaviour, and cognition of wild Goffin cockatoos. An important part of their work on Tanimbar is also educational outreach and conservation related projects involving the local communities.


Isabelle Laumer (PhD student)

Isabelle is a PhD Student at the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna. In the course of her master thesis she investigated impulse control in Goffin cockatoos using the food exchange paradigm. Her current research aims lie in investigating the cognitive abilities of Goffin cockatoos and orang-utans with a focus on the mechanisms underlying decision-making.


Cornelia Habl (Master student)

Cornelia is a Master student at the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna. She currently investigates the influence of unrewarded object play on tool selection in Goffin’s Cockatoos

She is interested in whether and how non-specialised tool using Goffin’s cockatoos transfer knowledge about object properties gained during unrewarded object play (shape matching) to a functional tool selection tasks.


Isabella Beinauer (Master Student)

Isabella is currently working on her master’s thesis at the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna. She is studying prospective and retrospective tool selection in Goffin’s cockatoos. Her experiment investigates how far the animals can reflect upon prospective and retrospective cues during binary decision making.