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Christoph Völter

Christoph Völter received his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Konstanz in 2008. Following this, he completed a master’s degree course in Neuro-cognitive Psychology at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. In 2011, he began his PhD at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig where he studied the problem-solving abilities of human children and nonhuman primates.

After the completion of his PhD in 2014, he continued his research with nonhuman great apes as a postdoc at the MPI in Leipzig. During this postdoc, he also conducted studies on the cognitive underpinnings of cooperative activities in chimpanzees, orangutans, and other taxa (including two otter species).

In 2016, Christoph moved to the University of St Andrews (UK) as a Research Fellow. Together with Dr Amanda Seed and Professor Josep Call, he developed a test battery for the investigation of executive functions in chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys. During his time at the University of St Andrews, he also worked as Associate Lecturer within the School of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Christoph joined the Messerli’s Comparative Cognition Unit in 2019 as scientific staff member. His empirical and theoretical work is concerned with the evolutionary origins of flexible behaviour and abstract thought. Ongoing projects focus on elucidating the structure of individual differences in domain-general cognitive abilities such as inhibitory control and working memory. Besides, his research at the Messerli Research Institute will examine anticipatory looking in dogs and information seeking in dogs, keas, and pigs.


  • –present
    Scientist, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna