Dr. rer. nat. Jan Langbein

+49 38208 68-802
Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN)
Institute of Behavioural Physiology
Applied Ethology Unit
Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2
18196 Dummerstorf

Research interests

  • Animal husbandry is currently characterized by increasing levels of automation and introduction of advanced self-management systems. Animals have to learn automated routines and processes of different level of complexity. Various studies have shown that animals can learn such procedures often on the basis of associative learning. Until now, a general paradigm in research of learning in animals is to test single individuals in a specific learning environment and under human supervision. We go a different way.
  • To study various aspects of visual discrimination learning in dwarf goats, we apply an approach of individual self controlled learning in normal social setting by using a fully automated, learning device, which is integrated in the animals home pen. This corresponds better with animal learning under husbandry conditions.
  • In a long term project we investigate how goats learn to discriminate simple and complex visual signs and how flexible their learning behaviour and memory is. We search for evidence of higher learning abilities in goats like concept learning (oddity, match to sample). We want to test the influence of external (e.g. management practices) and internal (e.g. dominance status, temperament) factors on learning. Further, we want to quantify stress related to learning – both acute mental stress and long lasting psychological stress. Moreover, we investigate if successful learning of cognitive challenges has a positive effect on animal welfare in the long run (cognitive environmental enrichment). To evaluate stress related to learning online, we apply telemetric measurement of heart beat activity and analyse heart rate and heart rate variability. Other research interests are higher cognitive capabilities and emotions of farm animals, temperament in cattle and spatial-temporal pattern of behaviour of cattle in loose housing systems.

Curriculum Vitae

  • 2002-present: Senior scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN) Dummerstorf, Institute of Behavioural Physiology (FBN), Applied Ethlogy Unit
    Research Topics: learning behaviour and cognitive abilities of dwarf goats and pigs; cognitive enrichment; positive emotions; social dominance and aggression; temperament of cattle; analysis of heart rate variability in relation to stress and pain
  • 1997-2001: Institute for Applied Agroecology, Research Group Farm Animal Ecology, Rostock
    Research Topics: mother-young bond in cattle; ethological aspect of farm management of game species; hear rate variability in cattle – indication of stress
  • 1992-1997: Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research (IZW), Berlin
    Research Topics: biorhythms in free ranging large ungulates; perinatal behaviour and mother-lamb relationship in free ranging mouflons; time and space pattern in wild ungulates
  • 1991-1992: Humboldt University of Berlin, Department of Biology, Institute of Behavioural Sciences
    Research Topics: bioacoustics in mammals
  • 1990-1992: Doctoral Thesis (Ph.D.), Humboldt University of Berlin, Department of Biology, Institute of Behavioural Sciences
    "Comparative investigations on the grazing behaviour of cattle (Holstein Friesien and Siboney de Cuba) at the tropical pasture (Cuba)"
  • 1984-1989: Master Thesis (Diplom), Humboldt University of Berlin, Department of Biology, Institute of Behavioural Sciences
    "Investigations on the ontognesis of the function of the thermoregulation system in Cairina moschata peri partum"
  • 1981-1984: Military service
  • 1978-1981: Professional training as cattle breeder
  • Birth date: 21.04.1962, birth place: Staaken (Germany)


  • Agrar- und umweltwissenschaftliche Fakultät der Universität Rostock
    Ethology; Behaviour of cattle; Behaviour of swine; Animal welfare


Melzer, N.; Langbein, J. (2018):
Digitalisierung im Rinderstall : Neue Technologien zur automatischen, tierindividuellen Erfassung des Verhaltens im Laufstall. Leibniz Nordost 2018 (26): 8-9
Cauchoix, M.; Chow, P.; Van Horik, J.; Atance, C.; Barbeau, E.; ..., ; Langbein, J.; ..., ; Nawroth, C.; Oesterwind, S.; ..., (2018):
The repeatability of cognitive performance: a meta-analysis. Philos T R Soc B 373 (1756): 20170281, 1-13
Langbein, J. (2018):
Motor self-regulation in goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) in a detour-reaching task. PeerJ 6: e5139
Langbein, J.; Krause, A.; Nawroth, C. (2018):
Human-directed behaviour in goats is not affected by short-term positive handling. ANIM COGN 21: 795-803
Zebunke, M.; Kreiser, M.; Melzer, N.; Langbein, J.; Puppe, B. (2018):
Better, not just more - contrast in qualitative aspects of reward facillitates impulse control in pigs. Front Psychol 9: 2099, 1-12
Fóris, B.; Zebunke, M.; Langbein, J.; Melzer, N. (2018):
Evaluating the temporal and situational consistency of personality traits in adult dairy cattle. Plos One 13 (10): e0204619
Kreiser, M.; Puppe, B.; Langbein, J.; Melzer, N.; Zebunke, M. (2018):
Der Einfluss des Alters auf Diskriminierungslernen und Impulskontrolle bei Schweinen. In: Aktuelle Arbeiten zur artgemäßen Tierhaltung 2018 : Vorträge anlässlich der 50. Internationalen Arbeitstagung Angewandte Ethologie bei Nutztieren der Deutschen Veterinärmedizinischen Gesellschaft e.V. (DVG), Fachgruppe Ethologie und Tierhaltung, vom 22. bis 24. November 2018 in Freiburg im Breisgau (KTBL-Schrift , 514) KTBL, Darmstadt (ISBN 978-3-945088-60-9): 251-253
Friedrich, J.; Brand, B.; Graunke, K. L.; Langbein, J.; Schwerin, M.; Ponsuksili, S. (2017):
Adrenocortical expression profiling of cattle with distinct juvenile temperament types. Behav Genet 47 (1): 102-113
Langbein, J.; Puppe, B. (2017):
Comment on "Ducklings imprint on the relational concept of 'same or different'". Science 355 (6327): 806, 1-2"
Krause, A.; Puppe, B.; Langbein, J. (2017):
Coping style modifies general and affective autonomic reactions of domestic pigs in different behavioral contexts. Front Behav Neurosci 11: 103, 1-13
Nawroth, C.; Langbein, J. (2017):
Taking livestock psychology back to the barn : commentary on Marino and Allen (2017), the psychology of cows. Animal Behavior and Cognition 4 (4): 519-521
Langbein, J. (2017):
Motorische Verhaltensregulation von Zwergziegen im Zylinder-Test. In: Aktuelle Arbeiten zur artgemäßen Tierhaltung 2017 : Vorträge anlässlich der 49. Internationalen Arbeitstagung "Angewandte Ethologie bei Nutztieren" der vom 23. bis 25. November 2017 in Freiburg im Breisgau (KTBL-Schrift , 513) KTBL, Darmstadt (978-3-945088-53-1): 50-61"
Zebunke, M.; Langbein, J.; Puppe, B. (2017):
Können kognitive Umweltanreicherungen Nutztiere glücklicher machen?. In: Emotionen und Stimmung bei Nutztieren (Nutztierhaltung im Fokus , Herbst 2017) Internationale Gesellschaft für Nutztierforschung (IGN), München (978-3-9524555-5-5): 8-13
Wirthgen, E.; Höflich, C.; Spitschak, M.; Helmer, C.; Brand, B.; Langbein, J.; Metzger, F.; Hoeflich, A. (2016):
Quantitative Western ligand blotting reveals common patterns and differential features of IGFBP-fingerprints in domestic ruminant breeds and species. Growth Horm IGF Res 26: 42-49
Krause, A.; Zebunke, M.; Bellmann, O.; Mohr, E.; Langbein, J.; Puppe, B. (2016):
Surgical implantation and functional assessment of an invasive telemetric system to measure autonomic responses in domestic pigs. Vet J 207: 140-146
Friedrich, J.; Brand, B.; Ponsuksili, S.; Graunke, K. L.; Langbein, J.; Knaust, J.; Kühn, Ch.; Schwerin, M. (2016):
Detection of genetic variants affecting cattle behaviour and their impact on milk production: a genome-wide association study. Anim Genet 47 (1): 12-18
Oesterwind, S.; Nürnberg, G.; Puppe, B.; Langbein, J. (2016):
Impact of structural and cognitive enrichment on the learning performance, behavior and physiology of dwarf goats (Capra aegagrus hircus). Appl Anim Behav Sci 177: 34-41
Patt, A.; Gygax, L.; Wechsler, B.; Hillmann, E.; Langbein, J.; Keil, N. M. (2016):
Context specificity of the ANS stress response during two regrouping experiments in goats. Front Vet Sci 3: 58, 1-10
Nawroth, C.; von Borell, E.; Langbein, J. (2016):
'Goats that stare at men' - revisited: do dwarf goats alter their behaviour in response to eye visibility and head direction of human?. ANIM COGN 19 (3): 667-672
Krause, A.; Puppe, B.; Langbein, J. (2016):
Der Coping-Typ beeinflusst die autonome Reaktion in unterschiedlichen Verhaltenskontexten beim Schwein. In: Aktuelle Arbeiten zur artgemäßen Tierhaltung 2016 (KTBL-Schrift , 511) KTBL, Darmstadt (978-3-945088-25-8 ): 208-220