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Monkey Cognition

A long-tailed macaque closely monitoring a group member
A long-tailed macaque closely monitoring a group member

Previous attempts to understand the evolution of human intelligence focused on comparisons between apes and human infants, but less was known about the abilities of monkeys. Working with long-tailed macaques and Barbary macaques, we challenged the hypothesis of a cognitive „gap“ between apes and monkeys. Presently, we studying social comparison processes in monkeys and social and cognitive aging in macaques. 

Selected Projects

Comparative cognition

Comparative cognition

Cognition and aging

Cognition and aging
  • With increasing age, female Barbary macaques become socially more selective (Almeling et al. 2016)
  • The social motivation and the interest in the non-social domain reveal differential trajectories  (Almeling et al. 2016)
  • Activity patterns decrease and spatial reclusiveness increases with age (Almeling et al. 2017)


  • At the German Primate Center, we study a group of 28 long-tailed macaques. This allows us to employ state of the art touch-screen technology and interactive tests.
  • In the monkey park „La Forêt de Singes“ in Rocamadour, France, we study a population of 130 free-ranging Barbary macaques. We combine behavioural observations and field experiments.


  • MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
  • Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna
  • Social Cognition Group, University of Cologne