25.07.2017 - 18:48
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Contact

Department of Primatology

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 299

Haneul Jang

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Primatology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig
Germany

e-mail: haneul_jang@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Current Research

The aim of my Ph.D. research is to understand the nature of ecological intelligence of human foragers in the tropical rainforest by answering to the following questions: What is the extent of the spatio-temporal cognition that human foragers use to find food sources in the rainforest?  How does the spatio-temporal cognition of human foragers and the closest living relatives of humans, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) compare? How similar and different the spatial abilities across people living in different environments (e.g. tropical rainforests and open environments like savanna) are?

This study focused on the three aspects of cognition including:

1.   Spatial mental map

2.   Orientation abilities

3.   Long-term episodic memory

Under the supervision of Dr. Karline R. L. Janmaat and Prof. Dr. Christophe Boesch, I conducted a behavioral-ecological field study with BaMbendjele Yaka rainforest foragers in the northwestern Congo basin (ROC), who rely on forest resources for daily survival. We recorded the ranging and foraging behaviour of five adult women for 28 consecutive days each within two consecutive years during the same fruiting seasons. For the valid comparisons, we used the same data collection methods which were used to study spatio-temporal cognition of the Taï chimpanzees in Côte d’Ivoire (Janmaat et al. 2013a; Janmaat et al. 2013b; Normand and Boesch 2009), and a similar experimental approach as earlier studies that tested orientation abilities of the people living in different environments (Hadza: Cashdan et al. 2012; Twe and Tjimba: Vashro and Cashdan 2015; Tsimane: Trumble et al. 2015). To our knowledge, this study is the first long-term study that attempts to quantify the spatio-temporal cognition of human rainforest foragers, and we expect that this study will provide novel insights in the benefits of cognitive abilities, the effects of experience in their development, and the origins of human intelligence.