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Daniel Hanus

Research Coordinator Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center & Global Primate Study Network

Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (0) 341 3550 420/620
email: hanus@[>>> Please remove the text! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae
Research Awards & Funding

Research Interests

  • Physical cognition
  • Causal understanding and reasoning
  • Visual and memory illusions
  • Numerical and probabilistic competence
  • Meta-Cognition
  • Visual perspective taking
  • Understanding of intentions

… in human and non-human primates

Curriculum Vitae

Career & Education

2019 - present

2014 - 2016

Co-Director of the Atlas of Comparative Cognition Project

Member of the interdisciplinary research group “Anthropology of Perception”
FEST, Heidelberg

2011 - 2012Research Fellow
Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld
Topic: “The Cultural Constitution of Causal Cognition: Re-Integrating Anthropology into the Cognitive Sciences”
2009 - presentResearch Coordinator
Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center, Leipzig
2009PhD Psychology
Humboldt University, Berlin
2004 - 2009PhD Student
Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
2003Diplom Psychology
University of Potsdam
Practical Experience
2019-presentEstablishing and coordinating research collaborations with African chimpanzee sanctuaries: Chimfunshi (Sambia), Tacugama (Sierra Leone), LCRP (Liberia)
2005 - 2017Recurrent research stays at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary (CSWCT) in Uganda and at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the Republic of Congo
2000 - 2001Field internship at the Taï-National Park (Côte d’Ivoire)
Department of Primatology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Topic: Habituation of a new chimpanzee community (east group)
2022Master Module "Introduction to Comparative Cultural Psychology" (Topic: ToM) at University of Leipzig
2016Experimental seminar “Cognitive Aspects of non-human behaviour” at Free University Berlin
2014International Max Planck Research School, Lecture on “Physical Cognition”
2013Lecture “Was ist der Mensch? Anthropologie im Spannungsfeld von Evolution, Kultur und Geschichte” at University of Tübingen (Dept. Of Philosophy)
2010/11Neuroethology guest lecture at University of Magdeburg (Dept. of Cognitive Biology)
  • Member of the International Primatological Society
Ad hoc reviewer
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Cognition
  • Biology Letters
  • Frontiers in Psychology
  • Interaction Studies
  • Journal of Comparative Psychology
  • PLoS ONE
  • Science
  • UK's AI & Simulation of Behaviour Society (Programe Committee for an Animal Cognition Cymposium)
  • German (native speaker)
  • English (fluent)
  • French (intermediate)


Bohn, M., Eckert, J., Hanus, D., Lugauer, B., Holtmann, J., & Haun, D. B. M. (2023). Great ape cognition is structured by stable cognitive abilities and predicted by developmental conditions. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 7, 927-938.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Hanus, D., Truppa, V., & Call, J. (2023). Are you as fooled as I am? Visual illusions in human (Homo) and nonhuman (Sapajus, Gorilla, Pan, Pongo) primate species. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 137(2), 80-89.
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ManyPrimates, Aguenounon, G., Allritz, M., Altschul, D., Ballesta, S., Beaud, A., Bohn, M., Bornbusch, S., Brandão, A., Brooks, J., Bugnyar, T., Burkart, J., Bustamante, L., Call, J., Canteloup, C., Cao, C., Caspar, K., da Silva, D., de Sousa, A., DeTroy, S., Duguid, S., Eppley, T., Fichtel, C., Fischer, J., Gong, C., Grange, J., Grebe, N., Hanus, D., Haun, D., Haux, L., Héjja-Brichard, Y., Helman, A., Hernadi, I., Hernandez-Aguilar, R. A., Herrmann, E., Hopper, L., Howard, L., Huang, L., Huskisson, S., Jacobs, I., Jin, Z., Joly, M., Kano, F., Keupp, S., Kiefer, E., Knakker, B., Kóczán, K., Kraus, L., Kwok, S. C., Lefrançois, M., Lewis, L., Liu, S., Llorente, M., Lonsdorf, E., Loyant, L., Majecka, K., Maurits, L., Meunier, H., Mobili, F., Morino, L., Motes-Rodrigo, A., Nijman, V., Ihomi, C., Persson, T., Pietraszewski, D., Reátiga Parrish, J., Roig, A., Sánchez Amaro, A., Sato, Y., Sauciuc, G.-A., Schrock, A., Schweinfurth, M., Seed, A., Shearer, C., Šlipogor, V., Su, Y., Sutherland, K., Tan, J., Taylor, D., Troisi, C., Völter, C., Warren, E., Watzek, J., & Zablocki-Thomas, P. (2022). The Evolution of primate short-term memory. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 9(4), 428-516.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Bohn, M., Eckert, J., Hanus, D., Lugauer, B., Holtmann, J., & Haun, D. B. M. (2022). Probing the structure, stability and predictability of great ape cognition. PsyArXiv.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Bruno, D., Pope-Caldwell, S. M., Haberl, K., Hanus, D., Haun, D., Leisterer-Peoples, S., Mauritz, S., Neldner, K., Sibilsky, A., & Stengelin, R. (2022). Ethical guidelines for good practice in cross-cultural research. Leipzig: Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology, Max Planck Institute for evolutionary anthropology.
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ManyPrimates, Altschul, D., Bohn, M., Canteloup, C., Ebel, S., Hanus, D., Hernandez-Aguilar, R. A., Joly, M., Keupp, S., Petkov, C., Llorente, M., O'Madagain, C., Proctor, D., Motes-Rodrigo, A., Sutherland, K., Szabelska, A., Taylor, D., Völter, C., & Wiggenhauser, N. G. (2022). Collaboration and open science initiatives in primate research. In B. L. Schwartz, & M. J. Beran (Eds.), Primate cignitive studies (pp. 584-608). Cambridge: Cambridge university Press.
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Bräuer, J., Hanus, D., Pika, S., Gray, R. D., & Uomini, N. (2020). Old and new approaches to animal cognition: There is not “One Cognition”. Journal of Intelligence, 8(3).
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ManyPrimates, Altschul, D. M., Beran, M. J., Bohn, M., Call, J., DeTroy, S., Duguid, S. J., Egelkamp, C. L., Fichtel, C., Fischer, J., Flessert, M., Hanus, D., Haun, D. B. M., Haux, L. M., Hernandez-Aguilar, R. A., Herrmann, E., Hopper, L. M., Joly, M., Kano, F., Keupp, S., Melis, A. P., Motes Rodrigo, A., Ross, S. R., Sánchez Amaro, A., Sato, Y., Schmitt, V., Schweinfurth, M. K., Seed, A. M., Taylor, D., Völter, C. J., Warren, E., & Watzek, J. (2019). Establishing an infrastructure for collaboration in primate cognition research. PLoS One, 14(10): e0223675.
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Ebel, S. J., Hanus, D., & Call, J. (2019). How prior experience and task presentation modulate innovation in 6-year-old-children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 180, 87-103.
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Tennie, C., Völter, C. J., Vonau, V., Hanus, D., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2019). Chimpanzees use observed temporal directionality to learn novel causal relations. Primates, 60, 517-524.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Eckert, J., Rakoczy, H., Call, J., Herrmann, E., & Hanus, D. (2018). Chimpanzees consider humans' psychological states when drawing statistical inferences. Current Biology, 28(12): e3, pp. 1959-1963.
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Bender, A., & Hanus, D. (2017). Die sozio-kulturelle Matrix menschlicher Wahrnehmung. In G. Hartung (Ed.), Interdisziplinäre Anthropologie: Jahrbuch 4/2016: Wahrnehmung (pp. 51-58). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
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Hanus, D. (2016). Causal reasoning versus associative learning: A useful dichotomy or a strawman battle in comparative psychology? Journal of Comparative Psychology, 130(3), 241-248.
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Le Guen, O., Samland, J., Friedrich, T., Hanus, D., & Brown, P. (2015). Making sense of (exceptional) causal relations. A cross-cultural and cross-linguistic study. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1645.
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Carducci, P., Trapanese, C., Hanus, D., & Truppa, V. (2015). Does the Presentation Format Affect Learning Speed in Visual Discrimination Tasks? A Study on Tufted Capuchin Monkeys ( Sapajus spp.). Folia primatologica, 86(4), 257.
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Hanus, D., Truppa, V., & Call, J. (2015). Visual illusions in great apes, monkeys and humans. Folia primatologica, 86(4), 290.
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Truppa, V., Carducci, P., Trapanese, C., & Hanus, D. (2015). Does presentation format influence visual size discrimination in tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.)? PLoS One, 10(4): e0126001.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Hanus, D., & Call, J. (2014). When maths trumps logic: Probabilistic judgements in chimpanzees. Biology Letters, 10(12): 20140892.
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Braeuer, J., & Hanus, D. (2012). Fairness in non-human primates? Social Justice Research, 25(3), 256-276.
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Hanus, D., & Call, J. (2011). Chimpanzee problem-solving: contrasting the use of causal and arbitrary cues. Animal Cognition, 14(6), 871-878.
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Hanus, D., Mendes, N., Tennie, C., & Call, J. (2011). Comparing the performances of apes (Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus) and human children (Homo sapiens) in the floating peanut task. PLoS ONE, 6(6): e19555.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Seed, A., Hanus, D., & Call, J. (2011). Causal Knowledge In Corvids, Primates and Children: More Than Meets The Eye? In T. McCormack, C. Hoerl, & S. Butterfill (Eds.), Tool Use and Causal Cognition (pp. 89-110). Oxford: Oxford University Pr.
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Hanus, D. (2009). Great apes' causal cognition in the physical domain. PhD Thesis, Humboldt-Univ., Berlin.
BibTeX   Endnote   

Hanus, D., & Call, J. (2008). Chimpanzees infer the location of a reward on the basis of the effect of its weight. Current Biology, 18(9), R370-R372.
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Hanus, D., & Call, J. (2007). Discrete quantity judgments in the great apes (Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, Pongo pygmaeus): The effect of presenting whole sets versus item-by-item. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 121(3), 241-249.
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Mendes, N., Hanus, D., & Call, J. (2007). Raising the level: orangutans use water as a tool. Biology Letters, 3(5), 453-455.
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Warneken, F., Hare, B., Melis, A. P., Hanus, D., & Tomasello, M. (2007). Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children. PLoS Biology, 5(7), 1414-1420.
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Hanus, D., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2003). Quantity-based judgments by orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and bonobos (Pan paniscus). Folia primatologica, 74(4), 196-197.
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Comparative Psychology And Its Challenges. Public talk at the Symposium „Tier-Mensch-Verhältnis“, Hochschule Darmstadt, 2022.

Phylogenetic and ontogenetic pathways to being tricked. Presented at the Workshop “Brain and Behavioral Evolution in Primates”, Erice, Italy, 2019.

Organization of the Comparative Cognition Workshop, University of Zurich, Switzerland, 2019.

Leipziger Primatenforschung im 21. Jahrhundert. Public Talk at ‘Seniorenkolleg’ of the University of Leipzig, 2019. 

Köhlers Erbe - Affenforschung im 21. Jahrhundert. Public Talk at Naturkundemuseum Leipzig, 2018.

Der Meta-Affe – Von Affen, die wissen und Menschen, die wissen, dass sie wissen. Philosophical seminar, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany, 2018.

Anthropomorphism or Anthropodenial – What should be the null-hypothesis in compa¬rative psychology? Presented at the Workshop ‘The Evolution of the Social Brain’, Forum Scientiarum, Universtity of Tuebingen, Germany, 2017.

Modern Approaches to Animal Cognition – Empirical Arguments and the Question of Parsimony. Presented at the 20th Conference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology, Potsdam, Germany, 2017

Inferential reasoning in apes. Presented at the SPP Preparation Meeting (DFG) “Tool Choosing and Tool Using”, Cologne, Germany, 2017

Probabilistic judgments in chimpanzees. Presented at the 5th Workshop on Cognition and Evolution, Rovereto, Italy, 2016

Approaches to Animal Cognition: A Question of Truth or Taste? Presented at the Evidence for Animal Minds Meeting, Durham, UK, 2016.

Visual Illusion in Three Primate Species. Presented at the 6th Congress of the European Federation for Primatology, Rome, Italy, 2015.

Social Causality in Apes. Presented at the reunion workshop of the interdisciplinary research group ‘The Cultural Constitution of Causal Cognition’, Bergen, Norway, 2015.

Do Chimpanzees Understand Intentions Behind Behavior? Presented at the 25th International Primatology Society Congress, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2014

Causal Reasoning vs. Associative Learning in Animals - A Useful or a Strawman Dichotomy? Presented at the Animal Cognition Meeting , Gent, Belgium, 2013.

Chances and Challenges of Comparative Psychology. Presented at the Workshop “Exploring the Cultural Constitution of Causal Cognition: Theoretical Foundations and Empirical Approaches”, Bielefeld, 2013.

Das Menschliche Gehirn – Einzigartig? Panel Discussion at the BrainFair, ETH-Zürich, Switzerland, 2013.

Less is (sometimes) more – probabilistic judgment in chimpanzees. Presented at the 24th International Primatology Society Congress, Cancun, Mexico, 2012.

Causal Cognition in non-human primates. Presented at the “Netzwerktreffen” at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF)”, Bielefeld, 2011.

Weight matters – Causal inference in Chimpanzees. Presented at the 23rd International Primatology Society Congress, Kyoto, Japan, 2010.

Visual Illusions in Great Apes. Presented at the 5th European Conference on Behavioural Biology, Ferrara, Italy, 2010.

Animal Cognition. Invited talk at the neuropsychological colloquium, University of Freiburg, Germany, 2010.

Great Apes Causal Cognition. Presented at the psychological colloquium, Humboldt University, Berlin Germany, 2009.

Contrasting the use of causal and arbitrary cues in chimpanzee problem solving. Presented at the 1st Workshop on Cognition and Evolution, Rovereto, Italy, 2009.

The Mueller-Lyersche and the Ebbinghaus illusion in chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. Presented at the 22nd International Primatology Society Congress, Edinburgh, UK, 2008.

Chimpanzees infer the location of a reward based on the effect of its weight. Presented at the 2nd Congress of the European Federation for Primatology, Prague, 2007.

Chimpanzees’ understanding of gravity. Presented at the international workshop on “The mind of the chimpanzee”, Chicago, USA, 2007.

Do peanuts float? Apes understanding of causality in a volume displacement task. Presented at the 21st International Primatology Society Congress, Entebbe, Uganda, 2006.

Numerical Abilities in Great Apes. Invited lecture at the University of Tokyo, Japan, 2005.

Quantity Based Discrimination in Great Apes (Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus, Gorilla gorilla). Presented at the 2nd International Workshop for Young Psychologists on Evolution and Development of Cognition, Kyoto, Japan, 2005.

Quantity Based Judgments by Orangutans, Gorillas and Bonobos. Presented at the 20th International Primatology Society Congress, Turin, Italy, 2004.

Research Awards & Funding

2015: Grant from Klaus Tschira Foundation for the development and implementation of an interactive face-recognition device for chimpanzees - a project in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute IDMT & IIS and the Zoo Leipzig.

2009: Winner of the poster competition at the 1st Workshop on Cognition and Evolution, Italy.

2007: Travel-grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for “The mind of the chimpanzee” workshop, USA.

2003: Winner of the poster competition at the National Conference of the German Primatological Society, Leipzig, Germany.