The development of intelligence

Project leader

Dr. Caroline Schuppli (Postdoctoral researcher, AIM University of Zürich, CH)

Project staff

Anais van Cauwenberghe (MSc student, AIM University of Zürich & University of Utrecht)
Chigusa Renata Keller (Volunteer)


The cultural intelligence hypothesis states that individuals with more opportunities for social learning during ontogeny will later show a wider repertoire of learned skills as well as enhanced problem solving skills. Furthermore, from an ultimate point of view species with more opportunities for social learning are predicted to show an innate predisposition to be more exploratory and show an enhanced cognition. To test these predictions, we are comparing two populations of wild orangutans (Suaq in Sumatra and Tuanan in Borneo) that differ in their degree of sociality and hence opportunities for social learning. We are looking at the immatures’ learning behavior (different measures of independent exploration and social learning) and skill development (such as feeding skill and ranging competence).