Prof. Dr. Katja Liebal

Since 2009, I am working at Freie Universität Berlin, first as Assistant Professor for Evolutionary Psychology, and since 2015 as Full Professor for Comparative Developmental Psychology. My research interests center on the cognitive and communicative skills that might be uniquely human and those shared with other primate species, and the developmental trajectories of these skills. I use a cross-species, cross-cultural approach to study emotion expression, multimodal communication and prosocial behavior in human children of different cultural contexts and several species of nonhuman great apes, by combining observational and experimental, non-invasive methods. 


Current projects

  1. Mother-infant-interactions in humans and different ape species (with Manuela Ersson-Lembeck)
  2. Sharing in children from different cultural contexts (with Daniel Haun)
  3. Compositional structures in multimodal chimpanzee communication (GRAMBY, ERC-funded project by Wendy Sandler, with Linda Oña)
  4. Researchers' affects when studying other cultures or species (funded by VolkswagenStiftung)
Katja_Website_s_w

Department of Education and Psychology

Comparative Developmental Psychology

Professor

Address
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Room JK24/121
14195 Berlin

Office hours

From 30.10.19 onwards, office hours will be on Wednesdays from 4.15 to 5.15 pm. For alternatives, please send an email (katja.liebal@fu-berlin.de) to arrange an appointment.


Please download CV


Education

2007–2008

The Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGCLTHE), University of Portsmouth

2001-2005

PhD (Biology), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Leipzig and University of Leipzig

Social communication in great apes

07/2001

Diploma (Biology), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology and University of Leipzig



Professional History

2015-present  Full professor for Comparative Developmental Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Department of Education and Psychology
2009-2015 Assistant professor for Evolutionary Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Cluster Languages of Emotion, Department of Education and Psychology
2008-2012 Honorary Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, UK
2008-2009 Research position at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology
2005-2008 Senior lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, UK
2001-2004 PhD position at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology
1999 Student assistant at the Yerkes Primate Center, Field Station, Atlanta, USA
1999-2001 Student assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology
1998-1999 Student assistant and academic tutor (Zoology), University of Leipzig 

    


 Awards

2018

Selected member of AcademiaNet: Leading Women in Science

2016 Price for “Best teaching” in Psychology, FU Berlin
2011-2012 Selected participant of the “ProFiL Program” (Professionalization of Women in Research and Teaching: Mentoring - Training - Networking)
1998-2001 Fellowship Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes

       

Journal articles (peer-reviewed)

Oña, L. S., Sandler, W., & Liebal, K. (2019). A stepping stone to compositionality in chimpanzee communication. PeerJ7, e7623.

Liebal, K., & Haun, D. B. M. (2018). Why cross-cultural psychology is incomplete without comparative and developmental perspectives. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 49(5), 751-763, https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022117738085

Liebal, K. & Oña, L. (2018). Mind the gap – moving beyond the dichotomy between intentional gestures and emotional facial and vocal signals of nonhuman primates. In Arbib, M., How the Brain Got Language. Towards a New Road Map, 19:1/2, pp. 121–135, https://doi.org/10.1075/is.17040.lie 

Kopp, K. S., & Liebal, K. (2018). Conflict resolution in socially housed Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii). PeerJ, 6, e5303, https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5303

Liebal, K., & Oña, L. (2018). Different Approaches to Meaning in Primate Gestural and Vocal Communication. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 478, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00478

Liebal, K., Schneider, C., & Errson-Lembeck, M. (2018). How primates acquire their gestures: evaluating current theories and evidence. Animal Cognition, 1-14,  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-018-1187-x

Halina, M., Liebal, K., & Tomasello, Michael (2018). The goal of ape pointing. PLoS ONE13(4); pe0195182, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195182

Lubrich, O., Stodulka, T., & Liebal, K. (2018). Affekte im Feld-Ein blinder Fleck der Forschung?, Interdisziplinäre Anthropologie, 179-197. 

Faria, R. Triant, D., Perdomo‑Sabogal, A., Overduin, B., Bleidorn, C.,  Bermudez Santana, C.I., Langenberger, D., Dall’Olio, G. M., Indrischek, H.,  Aerts, J., Engelhardt, J., Engelken, J. Liebal, K., Fasold, M., Robb, S., Grath, S., Rohit Raj Kolora, S., Carvalho, T., Salzburger, W., Jovanovic, V., Nowick, K. (2018). Introducing evolutionary biologists to the analysis of big data: guidelines to organize extended bioinformatics training courses. Evolution Education & Outreach, 11:8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12052-018-0080-z

Ullrich, R., Mittelbach, M., & Liebal, K. (2017). Scala naturae: the impact of historical values on current ‘evolution of language’ discourseJournal of Language Evolution.

Gretscher, H., Tempelmann, S., Haun, D. B., Liebal, K., & Kaminski, J. (2017). Prelinguistic human infants and great apes show different communicative strategies in a triadic request situationPLoS ONE, 12(4), e0175227. 

Pritsch, C., Telkemeyer, S., Mühlenbeck, C., & Liebal, K. (2017). Perception of facial expressions reveals selective affect-biased attention in humans and orangutans.Scientific Reports, 7. 

Liebal, K., & Rossano, F. (2017). The give and take of food sharing in Sumatran orang-utans, Pongo abelii, and chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes. Animal Behaviour, 133, 91-100. 

Liebal, K. (2017). What is a gesture? A lesson from comparative gesture research. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40.

Schneider, C., Liebal, K., & Call, J. (2017). “Giving” and “responding” differences in gestural communication between nonhuman great ape mothers and infants. Developmental Psychobiology, 59(3), 303-313. 

Townsend, S. W., Koski, S. E., Byrne, R. W., Slocombe, K. E., Bickel, B., Boeckle, M., ..., Liebal, K., . . . Gaunet, F. (2017). Exorcising Grice's ghost: an empirical approach to studying intentional communication in animals. Biological Reviews, 92(3), 1427-1433.

Mühlenbeck, C., Jacobsen, T., Pritsch, C., & Liebal, K. (2017). Cultural and species differences in gazing patterns for marked and decorated objects: a comparative eye-tracking studyFrontiers in Psychology, 8, 6.

Damerius, L. A Forss, S., Kosonen, Z.K., Willems, E.P., Burkart, J.M., Call, J., Galdikas, B.M.F., Liebal, K., Haun, D.B.M., and van Schaik, C.P. (2017). Orientation toward humans predicts cognitive performance in orang-utansScientific Reports 7: 40052.

Kopp, K. S., & Liebal, K. (2016). Here you are!—Selective and active food sharing within and between groups in captive Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 1-15.

Mühlenbeck, C., Liebal, K., Pritsch, C., & Jacobsen, T. (2016). Differences in the visual perception of symmetric patterns in orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus abelii) and two human cultural groups: a comparative eye-tracking studyFrontiers in Psychology, 7, 408.

Scheider, L., Waller, B. M., Oña, L., Burrows, A. M., & Liebal, K. (2016). Social Use of Facial Expressions in HylobatidsPloS One, 11(3), e0151733.

Liebal, K. (2016). The ontogeny of great ape gesture-not a simple story. Comment on" Towards a Computational Comparative Neuroprimatology: Framing the language-ready brain" by Michael A. Arbib. Physics o Life Reviews, 16, 85-87.

Lubrich, O. & Liebal, K. (2016). King Kong in the mist: Travel, knowledge, and emotion. KulturPoetik. 16 (1), 49-63

Koelsch, S., Jacobs, A. M., Menninghaus, W., Liebal, K., Klann-Delius, G., von Scheve, C., & Gebauer, G. (2015). The quartet theory of human emotions: an integrative and neurofunctional model. Physics of Life Reviews, 13, 1-27.

Liebal, K., Vaish, A., Haun, D., & Tomasello, M. (2014). Does sympathy motivate prosocial behaviour in great apes?. PLOS ONE, 9(1), e84299.

Scheider, L., Liebal, K., Oña, L., Burrows, A., & Waller, B. (2014). A comparison of facial expression properties in five hylobatid species. American Journal of Primatology. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22255

Reddy, V., Liebal, K., Hicks, K., Jonnalagadda, S., & Chintalapuri, B. (2013). The emergent practice of infant compliance: an exploration in two cultures. Developmental Psychology, 49(9), 1754-1762.

Waller, B.M., Warmelink, L., Liebal, K., Micheletta, J., & Slocombe, K.E. (2013). Pseudoreplication: A widespread problem in primate communication research. Animal Behaviour, 86(2), 483–488.

Luëf, E. M., Liebal, K. (2013). Development of a communicative gesture in gorillas (Gorilla gorilla). Interaction Studies, 14(1), 44-61.

Tempelmann, S., Kaminski, J., & Liebal, K. (2013). When apes point the finger - Three great ape species fail to use a conspecific's imperative pointing gesture. Interaction Studies, 14(1), 7-23.

Waller, B., Liebal, K., Burrows, A., & Slocombe, K. (2013). How can a multimodal approach to primate communication help us understand the evolution of communication? Evolutionary Psychology, 11(3): 538-549.

Liebal, K., & Haun, D. (2012). The importance of Comparative Psychology for Developmental Science. International Journal for Developmental Science, 6(1), 21-23.

Liebal, K. & Kaminski, J. (2012). Gibbons (Hylobates pileatus, H. moloch, H. lar, Symphalangus syndactylus) follow human gaze, but do not take the visual perspective of others. Animal Cognition, 15(6), 1211-1216.

Gretscher, H., Haun, D., Liebal, K., & Kaminski, J. (2012). Orangutans rely on orientation cues and egocentric rules when judging others’ perspectives in a competitive food task. Animal Behaviour, 84(2), 323–331.

Waller, B.M., Lembeck, M., Kuchenbuch, P., Burrows, A.M., & Liebal, K. (2012). GibbonFACS: A muscle-based facial movement coding system for the monogamous small apes. International Journal of Primatology, 33(4), 809-821.

Schneider, C., Call, J., & Liebal, K. (2012). What role do mothers play in the gestural acquisition of Pan paniscus and Pan troglodytesInternational Journal of Primatology, 33, 246–262.

Schneider, C., Call, J., & Liebal, K. (2012). Onset and early use of gestural communication in nonhuman great apes. American Journal of Primatology, 74(2), 102-113.  

Luëf, E. M., & Liebal, K. (2012). Infant-directed communication in lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla): Do older animals scaffold competence in infants. American Journal of Primatology, 74(9), 841-852.

Liebal, K. & Call, J. (2012). The origins of nonhuman primates’ manual gestures. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 367(1585), 118-128.

Slocombe, K., Waller, B., & Liebal, K. (2011). The language void: the need for multimodality. Animal Behaviour, 81, 919–924.

Tempelmann, S., Kaminski, J., & Liebal, K. (2011). Focus on the essential: all great apes know when others are being attentive. Animal Cognition, 14, 433–439.

Burrows, A. M., Diogo, R., Waller, B. M., Bonar, C. J., & Liebal, K. (2011). Evolution of the muscles of facial expression in a monogamous ape: Evaluating the relative influences of ecological and phylogenetic factors in Hylobatids. The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, 294(4), 645–663.

Liebal, K., Reddy, V., Hicks, K., Jonnalagadda, S., & Chintalapuri, B. (2011). Socialization goals and parental directives in infancy: The theory and the practice. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 10(1), 113-131.

Schneider, C., Call, J., & Liebal, K. (2010). Do bonobos say NO by shaking their head? Primates, 51(3), 199-202.

Arbib, M., Liebal, K. & Pika, S. (2008). Primate vocalization, gesture and the evolution of human language. Current Anthropology, 49 (6): 1064‐1065.

Liebal K., Pika S., Tomasello M. (2006). Gestural communication of orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus). Gesture 6 (1), 1-38.

Pika. S., Liebal, K., Tomasello M (2005). Gestural communication in subadult bonobos (Pan paniscus): Repertoire and use. American Journal of Primatology, 65 (1), 39-61.

Liebal, K., Pika, S., Call, J., Tomasello, M. (2004). To move or not to move: how apes alter the attentional state of others. Interaction Studies, 5(2), 199-219.

Liebal, K., Call, J., Tomasello, M. (2004). The use of gesture sequences in chimpanzees. American Journal of Primatology, 64(4), 377-396.

Liebal, K., Pika, S., Tomasello, M. (2004). Social communication in siamangs (Symphalangus syndactylus): use of gestures and facial expressions. Primates, 45(1): 41-57.

Pika, S., Liebal, K., & Tomasello, M. (2003). Gestural communication in young gorillas (Gorilla gorilla): gestural repertoire, learning, and use. American Journal of Primatology, 60(3), 95-111.

 


 

Book chapter

Ullrich R. & Liebal, K. (2018). Times change, values change: Criteria for attributing language in species comparative research. In E. Luef & M. M. Marin (Eds.), The talking species: Perspectives on the evolutionary, neuronal, and cultural foundations of language. Graz: Unipress Graz-Verlag. 

Liebal, K. (2018). What gestures can and can not tell us about language evolution. In: Boë, L.-J., Fagot, J., Perrier, P. & Schwartz, J.-L. (eds.). Origins of Human Language: Continuities and Discontinuities with Nonhuman Primates.

Liebal, K. (2018). Primate Communication. In J. Vonk & T. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior (pp. 1-10). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Liebal, K. (2018). What gestures of nonhuman primates can (and cannot) tell us about language evolution. In Boë, L.-J., Fagot, J., Perrier, P. & Schwartz, J.-L., Origins of Human Language: Continuities and Discontinuities with Nonhuman Primates. Peter Lang.

Lubrich, O., Liebal, K. (2018) „Gorillas im Zwielicht”, in: Wunsch, M., Böhnert, M., Köchy, K. (eds.), Philosophie der Tierforschung, Vol. 3: Milieus und Akteure, pp. 299-324.

Hawkes, K., Chisholm J.S., Fairbanks, L. A., Johow, J., Kalcher-Sommersguter, E., Liebal, K., Myowa, M., Sommer, V., Thierry, B., Finlay, B. (2017). Primate Infancies: Causes and consequences of varying care. In Keller, H. & Bard, K. (ed.) The Cultural Nature of Attachment. Contextualizing Relationships and Development, pp.69-108. Strüngmann Forum Reports, vol. 22, J. Lupp (series ed.), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, see also: https://www.esforum.dehttps://mitpress.mit.edu/books/cultural-nature-attachment

Liebal, K. (2016). Communication and cognition of small apes. In Reichard, U., H. Hirai, & Barelli, C. (Hrsg.) Evolution of Gibbons and Siamang. Phylogeny, Morphology, and Cognition. Springer, 311-345.

Liebal, K. (2017). Gestural communication. In Fuentes, A. (Hrsg.) International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley

Liebal, K. (2014). Emotionale Kommunikation nicht-menschlicher Primaten. In: Gebauer, G & Edler, M. (eds.) Sprachen der Emotion. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag 

Liebal, K. (2014). The psychology of gestures and gesture-like movements in non-human primates. In Müller, C., Cienki, A., Fricke, E., Ladewig, S.H., McNeill, D., & Tessendorf, S. (eds.) Body – Language – Communication: An international handbook on multimodality in human interaction. Volume 1. Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter Mouton. 

Koelsch, S., Jacobs, A. M., Menninghaus, W., Liebal, K., Klann-Delius, G., von Scheve, C., et al. (2013). Ein neurofunktionales Modell von Emotionen. In E. Schröger & S. Koelsch (Hrsg), Affektive und Kognitive Neurowissenschaft (Vol. 5 - Kognition, pp. 343-362). Göttingen, Bern, Toronto, Seattle: Hofgreve - Verlag für Psychologie.

Cross, I., Fitch, W. T., Aboitiz, F., Iriki, A., Jarvis, E.D., Lewis, J., Liebal, K., Merker, B., Stout, D., & Trehub, S. E. (2013). Culture and evolution. In Arbib, M. A. (Hrsg) Language, music, and the brain: A mysterious relationship, pp. 541 – 562. Strüngmann Forum Reports, vol. 10, J. Lupp (series ed.), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Tempelmann, S. & Liebal, K. (2012). Spontaneous use of gesture sequences in orangutans: A case for strategy? In: Pika, S., & Liebal K. (Hrsg). Developments in Primate Gesture Research. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 73 – 91.

Hopkins, W.D., Pika, S., Liebal, K., Bania, A., Meguerditchian, A., Gardner, M., & Schapiro S.J. (2012). Handedness for manual gestures in great apes: A meta-analysis. In: Pika, S., & Liebal K. (Hrsg). Developments in Primate Gesture Research. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 93 – 111.

Liebal, K. (2007). Gestural communication in siamangs. In: Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (Hrsg). The Gestural Communication of Apes and Monkeys. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Liebal, K. (2007). Gestural communication in orangutans. In: Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (Hrsg). The Gestural Communication of Apes and Monkeys. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Pika, S., Liebal, K., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2007). The gestural communication of apes.In: Gestural Communication in Nonhuman and Human Primates. In: Liebal, K., Müller, C. and Pika, S. (Hrsg), 35–45.



Books

Liebal, K., Lubrich, O. & Stodulka, T. (2019). Emotionen im Feld. transcript-verlag.

Liebal, K., Waller, B., Burrows, A. Slocombe, K. (2013). Primate Communication. A Multimodal Approach. Cambridge University Press.

Pika, S., & Liebal K. (Hrsg) (2012). Developments in Primate Gesture research. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

Liebal, K., Müller, C., & Pika, S. (Hrsg) (2007). Gestural Communication in Nonhuman and Human primates. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.