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Johanna Eckert

Postdoctoral Researcher

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

phone: +49 (0) 341 3550 406
email: johanna_eckerteva.mpgde

Thesis title: The evolutionary roots of intuitive statistics

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae
Research Awards & Funding

Research Interests

  • Comparative psychology
  • Animal cognition
  • Primates (great apes and monkeys)
  • Early cognitive development
  • Physical and social cognition
  • Statistical reasoning, probabilities and quantities
  • Zoo and Sanctuary 
  • Psychophysiological methods

Curriculum Vitae

Career & Education
Since 11/2019Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
03/2019 - 11/2019Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Los Angeles
10/2018 - 03/2019Visiting Scholar
Department of Behavioral Physiology & Sociobiology
University of Würzburg

10/2014 - 09/2018

PhD Biology
University of Göttingen; Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Thesis: “The evolutionary roots of intuitive statistics”
Advisors: Hannes Rakoczy, Josep Call
10/2012 - 09/2014M.Sc. Biology
University of Würzburg; German Primate Center, Göttingen
Thesis: “Social comparison in long-tailed macaques”
Advisors: Julia Fischer, Johannes Spaethe
10/2009 - 09/2012B.Sc. Biology
University of Würzburg
Thesis: “Visual learning in stingless bees” 
Advisor: Johannes Spaethe
Practical Experience
09/2019 - 10/2019Research stay at Kumamoto Sanctuary, WRC, Kyoto University, Japan
01/2019 - 02/2019
03/2012 - 06/2012 
Research stays at Tropical Field Station La Gamba, Costa Rica
01/2018 - 02/2018
04/2017 - 06/2017
10/2016 - 11/2016
Research stays at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Uganda
08/2013 - 10/2013Research stay at African Elephant Sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa (collaboration with University of Vienna)
02/2013 - 04/2013Internship: “Cognitive Research with long-tailed macaques”, Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center in Göttingen
Since 2019Committee member of the MPI EVA Institute Seminar
10/2016 - 12/2017“Animal Cognition Reading Group”
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany
04/2016Seminar “Comparative Psychology/Primate Cognition”
Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, Germany
  • German (native)
  • English (fluent)
  • Spanish (basic)


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?

Eckert, J., Rakoczy, H., Duguid, S., Herrmann, E., & Call, J. (in press). The ape lottery: Chimpanzees fail to consider spatial information when drawing statistical inferences. Animal Behavior and Cognition.
Open Access   

Eckert, J., Winkler, S. L., & Cartmill, E. A. (2020). Just kidding: The evolutionary roots of playful teasing. Biology Letters, 16(9): 20200370.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Eckert, J., Call, J., Hermes, J., Herrmann, E., & Rakoczy, H. (2018). Intuitive statistical inferences in chimpanzees and humans follow Weber’s law. Cognition, 180, 99-107.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Placì, S., Eckert, J., Rakoczy, H., & Fischer, J. (2018). Long-tailed macaques (Maraca fascicularis) can use simple heuristics but fail at drawing statistical inferences from populations to samples. Royal Society Open Science, 5(9): 181025.
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.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Eckert, J., Rakoczy, H., & Call, J. (2017). Are great apes able to reason from multi-item samples to populations of food items? American Journal of Primatology, 79(10): e22693.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Schmitt, V., Federspiel, I., Eckert, J., Keupp, S., Tschernek, L., Faraut, L., Schuster, R., Michels, C., Bugnyar, T., Mussweiler, T., & Fischer, J. (2015). Do monkeys compare themselves to others? Animal Cognition. doi: 10.1007/s10071-015-0943-4

Spaethe, J., Streinzer, M., Eckert, J., May, S., & Dyer, A. (2014). Behavioural evidence of colour vision in free flying stingless bees. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 200(6), 485-496. doi: 10.1007/s00359-014-0886-2


Invited talk at LFE workshop “Methoden der Erfassung sozialer Interaktion”, University of Leipzig, Germany, 2020

Invited talk at the Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA, 2019

Invited talk at Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK, 2017

Talk at Behaviour Conference Estoril, Portugal, 2017

Talk at International Primatological Conference (IPS), Chicago, USA, 2016

Poster at 5th Rovereto Workshop on Cognition and Evolution (CogEvo), Rovereto, Italy, 2016

Poster at Behaviour Conference Cairns, Australia, 2015

Talk at Second European Student Conference on Behaviour and Cognition, Zurich, Switzerland, 2015

Poster at CRC Symposium Evolution of Social Behaviour, Göttingen, Germany, 2014  

Research Awards & Funding

10/2019: Outstanding dissertation award of the Universitätsbund Göttingen e.V.

01/2019: Ulrike Goldschmid-Grant for research work at the tropical field station La Gamba, Costa Rica

10/2016: Outgoing-Grant of Leibniz-ScienceCampus Primate Cognition

07/2016: Abstract award of the Rovereto Workshop on Cognition and Evolution

03/2012: DAAD promos scholarship (German Academic Exchange Service)