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Non-human Cognition


Admission Requirements

Bachelor diploma


Modern humans are often seen as superior to other animals in a wide range of cognitive and behavioural domains. Researchers have adopted comparative approaches to find out which mechanisms underlying human intelligence, social cognition, communication and other complex behaviours are shared with other species. In this course we will take an interdisciplinary look at studies investigating the behaviour of non-human animals as well as studies from the field of Artificial Intelligence which can teach us about cognition. To what extent can we find parallels for complex human behaviour in non-human species? What can we learn about human cognition and behaviour from the comparative approach? To what extent can complex human behaviours be operationalised and implemented in AI systems? And how can we use AI applications to study animal behaviour? Issues such as the emergence of culture, social imitation, language, domestication and ethics will be addressed using data on various species including birds, primates and dolphins.

We will read and discuss literature on animal and computational cognition and gain hands-on practice with the design and presentation of a scientific poster, which will be displayed at a poster festival in the last week of the course. We will also discover how animal cognition research is conducted in practice during a class field trip.

Course Objectives

This course will give an overview of the comparative approach towards an understanding of human and non-human cognition.

Time Table

The dates are included in the Media Technology calendar

Mode of Instruction

lectures and self study

Assessment Method

Poster presentation, homework assignments, student participation in class



Reading List

Study materials will be provided by the lecturer during the course


Via program coordinator Media Technology: Nanda Milbreta:, 071-527 6994

Signing up for classes and exams in uSis

You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including re-exams) in uSis. Check this link to find the information and activity codes.
How to sign up for classes and exams

Contact Information

Nanda Milbreta:

Important Links

Curriculum link