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Psychologist’s ‘outstanding accolade’

A psychologist with an interest in animal communication at the University of St Andrews, has been awarded an ‘outstanding accolade’ for scientific achievement.

Dr Klaus Zuberbühler, of the University’s School of Psychology has been awarded a Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology by the American Psychological Association (APA). The award recognises excellent young psychologists and Klaus was one of only seven to receive an award this year.

The body is the scientific and professional organisation that represents psychology in the United States, and with more than 150,000 members, it is the largest association of psychologists worldwide. Dr Zuberbühler has been recognised in particular for his contributions in the area of Animal Learning and Behaviour.

Dr Zuberbühler conducts research on the cognitive capacities of non- human primates.

He said: “Humans are the only primate species that have a highly complex, flexible, and open communication system: language. However, recent genetic data suggest that our capacity for spoken language it is a fairly recent invention, a few 100,000 years old at best. The logical consequence is that many of the cognitive capacities underlying speech must be much older, having evolved in the primate lineage over millions of years.

“My research focuses on the natural cognitive capacities underlying primate communication in today’s living primates. I’m particularly interested to what extent non-human primates possess semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic abilities and why and how these abilities have evolved.”

He will formally receive the $1,000 award at the APA’s annual convention, to be held this summer (28th July – 1st August) in Honolulu, Hawaii. During the convention, Dr Zuberbühler will have the opportunity to attend a reception hosted by the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) and the Science Directorate and to chair and introduce one of the 2004 recipients.

On hearing of the award, Dr Zuberbuhler said: “I was very surprised when I heard I had been chosen for the award; fieldwork with non-human primates is typically not considered part of mainstream psychology. It’s nice to know that this type of work is beginning to make a valuable contribution to the field.”

ENDS

Weblinks:

http://psy.st- andrews.ac.uk/people/lect/kz3.shtml http://www.apa.org/science/psychsci ence_awd.html.

NOTE TO EDITORS: DR ZUBERBUHLER IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW ON 01334 462080 OR EMAIL kz3@st- andrews.ac.uk

PICTURE EDITORS:

A JPEG OF DR ZUBERBUHLER AT WORK IN THE WILD IS AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: Klaus APA Award 230304 View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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