Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Animal Physiology / Developmental Biology

Dr. Vanessa Schmitt

Dr. Vanessa Schmitt
Im Neuenheimer Feld 504
69120 Heidelberg
Fon +49 6221 54-0000
ed.grebledieh-inu.soc TEA ttimhcs.assenav

Research Interests:

Scientific Research at Zoos

Comparative Cognition, especially in nonhuman primates


Behavioural observations to monitor animal wellbeing

Environmental Enrichment 

Visitor Studies


To examine the phylogenetic origins of cognitive processes I compare the cognitive capacities of nonhuman animals (primarily primates), focusing on physical and social cognitive abilities, such as quantity discrimination, causality and communication. In cooperation with Zoo Heidelberg I develop new tools using Touchscreen technology to assess the cognitive capacities of zoo-housed animals and enhance animal welfare. Behavioural observations are conducted to monitor the wellbeing of zoo-housed animals.


Selected Publications:

Schmitt V, Schloegl C, Fischer F (2014) Seeing the experimenter influences the response to pointing cues in long-tailed macaques. Plos One 9(3): e91348. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091348

Schmitt V, Kröger I, Zinner D, Call J, Fischer J (2013) Monkeys perform as well as apes and humans in a size discrimination task. Animal Cognition. DOI 10.1007/s10071-013-0616-0

Schmitt V, Pankau B, Fischer J (2012) Old World monkeys compare to apes in the Primate Cognition Test Battery. PLoS One 7(4): e32024

Schmitt V, Fischer J (2011) Representational format determines numerical competence in monkeys. Nature Communications: 10.1038/ncomms1262

Schmitt V, Fischer J (2009) Inferential reasoning and modality dependent discrimination learning in olive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis).  Journal of Comparative Psychology 123: 316-325

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