I am interested in the role of experience in great ape and human tool use. Experience can have positive (i.e., facilitating) and negative effects on tool-use performance ("functional fixedness effect"). Related to this issue, it is still under debate whether great apes have enduring functional representations of tools, an intriguing research question. Finally, I am interested in differences in the structure of cognitive domains in different great ape species (bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans).
Postdoctoral Researcher Psychological Methods, Department of Psychology Philipps University of Marburg
Postdoctoral Researcher Lifespan Psychology, Institute of Psychology I University of Lübeck (temporary position, maternity leave replacement)
2019 - 2020
Postdoctoral Researcher Project "Evolution of Brain Connectivity" Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology & Department of Primatology Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
2014 - 2019
Ph.D. Psychology School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews (Scotland) and Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Research Assistant Research Group “Comparative Cognitive Anthropology” Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Student Assistant Research group “Evolutionary Psychology” Freie Universität Berlin
2010 - 2013
M.Sc. Neurobiology and Behaviour Freie Universität Berlin
2011 - 2012
Erasmus exchange program M.Sc. Behavioural, Neuro- and Cognitive Biology University of Vienna
Ebel, S. J., Völter, C., Sánchez Amaro, A., Helming, A. K., Herrmann, E., & Call, J. (submitted). Functional fixedness in great apes.
Ebel, S. J., Zeidler, H., Duguid, S., Eckert, J., Völter, C., Call, J., & Herrmann, E. (submitted). Food or tool - does social experience modulate object knowledge in children and chimpanzees?
Ebel, S. J., Völter, C. J., & Call, J. (2021). Prior experience mediates the usage of food items as tools in great apes (Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, and Pongo abelii). Journal of Comparative Psychology,135(1), 64-73. DOIBibTeXEndnote
Kopp, K. S., Ebel, S. J., Wittig, R. M., Haun, D. B. M., & Crockford, C. (2021). Small mirrors do the trick: A simple, but effective method to study mirror self-recognition in chimpanzees. Animal Behavior and Cognition,8(3), 391-404. Open AccessDOIBibTeXEndnoteDownloads
Ebel, S. J., Kopp, K. S., & Liebal, K. (2020). Object preferences in captive Sumatran orang-utans (Pongo abelii). Behavioural Processes,170: 103993. DOIBibTeXEndnote
Ebel, S. J. (2019). Tool use in great apes and human children: The impact of prior experience and visual feedback. PhD Thesis, University of St Andrews, St Andrews. BibTeXEndnote
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. DOIBibTeXEndnote
Ebel, S. J., Schmelz, M., Herrmann, E., & Call, J. (2019). Innovative problem solving in great apes: The role of visual feedback in the floating peanut task. Animal Cognition,22(5), 791-805. Open AccessDOIBibTeXEndnoteDownloads
Ebel, S. J., & Call, J. (2018). The interplay of prior experience and motivation in great ape problem-solving (Gorilla gorilla, Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, and Pongo abelii). Journal of Comparative Psychology,132(3), 294-305. DOIBibTeXEndnote
Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology