Adriana Luna

IMPRS Doctoral Student
Max Planck Research Group Schuppli

Main Focus

I am broadly interested in cognition, communication and individual differences.

My research focusses on understanding how cognitive development is influenced by personality traits, in particular curiosity. Exploration may have acted as a catalyst for behavioral innovations in our evolutionary lineage, favoring abilities such as problem-solving. Through a combination of observational and experimental studies, I will investigate the interplay between explorative tendency, cognitive performance and socio-ecological factors. By investigating how individuals interact with their environment, acquire new skills and transmit them within a population, we can ultimately gain insights into the intricacies of cognitive and cultural evolution.

I am interested in conducting comparative studies across populations and species to trace back the phylogeny of those skills. While I have experience with a wide range of birds and mammals, I am particularly interested in orangutan and great ape cognition. 

For my thesis I will collect behavioral data on on two orangutan species at Suaq Balimbing and Tuanan research stations in Indonesia. 

Curriculum Vitae


  • 2023 - Present: IMPRS Doctoral Student (MPI of Animal Behavior and University of Konstanz)
  • 2022 - 2023: Research assistant on “Communicative plasticity in chimpanzees’ joint action coordination” (University of Tübingen)
  • 2021-2022: Field assistant (Max  Planck Institute for Ornithology)



  • 2021 Research internship (Lund University Cognitive Science) “The development of social-  cognitive abilities in a Sumatran orangutan infant”
  • 2018 - 2020: Msc Biodiversity (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); Msc Thesis at Helsinki University
  • 2018 - 2020: Msc Applied Ethology (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); Msc Thesis at IKIAM University
  • 2014 - 2018: Bsc Psychology (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)


  • Sauciuc GA, Luna AM, Wester A, Hellgren T, Persson T (2021) Maternal behaviors that mediate skill development in Sumatran orangutans. [Paper  presentation] COGSCI 2021: Comparative Cognition — Animal Minds, July 2021, Vienna, pages 1-6.
  • Luna A, Thorogood R. & Kluen, E. (2021). Do range-expanding Reed warblers (Acrocephalus  scirpaceus) show a behavioural syndrome? SymBioSE 2021, Lisbon, Portugal.

            Awarded with Best Poster presentation Prize



  • Challenges in African conservation: National Parks in Central Africa (UAM –Spain, 2019)
  • Intensive course on primatology: Primate behaviour, Cognition, Ecology and Conservation (Centro Recupero di Animali Selvatici ed Esotici de Semproniano – Italy, 2018)
  • Workshop on Psychological resilience and mental health care services for refugees in Europe  (University of Bergen, 2017)
  • Theoretical-practical course on Primatology:  Communication in primates (Rainfer – Spain, 2017)
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