Dr. rer. nat. Jan Langbein

Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN)
working group Animal Behaviour & Welfare
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


Gygax, L.; Reefmann, N.; Wolf, M.; Langbein, J. (2013):
Prefrontal cortex activity, sympatho-vagal reaction and behaviour distinguish between situation of feed reward and frustration in dwarf goats. Behav Brain Res 239: 104-114
Graunke, K. L.; Langbein, J.; Repsilber, D.; Schön, P.-Ch. (2013):
Objectively measuring behaviour traits in an automated restraint-test for ungulates: towards making temperament measurable. J Agr Sci 151 (1): 141-149
Meyer, S.; Nürnberg, G.; Puppe, B.; Langbein, J. (2012):
The cognitive capabilities of farm animals: categorisation learning in dwarf goats (Capra hircus). ANIM COGN 15 (4): 567-576
Puppe, B.; Zebunke, M.; Düpjan, S.; Langbein, J. (2012):
Kognitiv-emotionale Umweltbewältigung beim Hausschwein - Herausforderung für Tierhaltung und Tierschutz. Zuchtungskunde 84 (4): 307-319
Langbein, J. (2012):
Investigations on training, recall and reversal learning of a Y-maze by dwarfs goats (Capra hircus): The impact of lateralisation. Behav Process 89 (3): 304-310
Langbein, J.; Meyer, S.; Puppe, B. (2011):
Kognitive Fähigkeiten von Nutztieren und kognitive Umweltanreicherung - Implikationen für Haltung und Wohlbefinden. In: Tierschutz: Anspruch - Verantwortung - Realität, Tagungsbericht der 2. ÖTT-Tagung (Johannes Baumgartner, Daniela Lexer, Hrsg.) Sektion Tierhaltung und Tierschutz der ÖTT, Wien (ISBN 978-3-9502915-1-3): 15-23
Meyer, S; Langbein, J. (2011):
Auswirkungen von struktureller und kognitiver Umweltanreicherung auf Lernleistung und Verhalten von Afrikanischen Zwergziegen (Capra hircus). In: Aktuelle Arbeiten zur artgemäßen Tiehaltung 2011 (KTBL-Schrift , 489) KTBL, Darmstadt (978-3-941583-58-0): 23-33
Siebert, K.; Langbein, J.; Schön, P.-Ch.; Tuchscherer, A.; Puppe, B. (2011):
Degree of social isolation affects behavioural and vocal response patterns in dwarf goats (Capra hircus). Appl Anim Behav Sci 131 (1-2): 53-62
Nordmann, E.; Keil, N. M.; Schmied-Wagner, C.; Graml, C.; Langbein, J.; Aschwanden, J.; von Hof, J.; Maschat, K.; Palme, R.; Waiblinger, S (2011):
Feed barrier design affects behaviour and physiology in goats. Appl Anim Behav Sci 133 (1-2): 40-53
Puppe, B.; Zebunke, M.; Düpjan, S.; Langbein, J. (2011):
Kognition und Emotion bei Nutztieren - Relevanz für Haltung und Wohlbefinden. In: 12. Internationale Fachtagung zu Fragen von Verhaltenskunde, Tierhaltung und Tierschutz DVG Service GmbH, Giessen (ISBN 978-3-86345-018-2): 24-37
Düpjan, S.; Tuchscherer, A.; Langbein, J.; Schön, P.-Ch.; Manteuffel, G.; Puppe, B. (2011):
Behavioural and cardiac responses towards conspecific distress calls in domestic pigs (Sus scrofa). Physiol Behav 103 (5): 445-452
Zebunke, M.; Langbein, J.; Manteuffel, G.; Puppe, B. (2011):
Autonomic reactions indicating positive affect during acoustic reward learning in domestic pigs. Anim Behav 81 (2): 481-489
Langbein, J.; Thiede, N. (2010):
Zum Einfluss von Lateralität auf Lernen, Erinnern und Umkehrlernen im Y-Labyrinth bei Zwergziegen. KTBL-Schrift 482: 115-126
Meyer, S.; Puppe, B.; Langbein, J. (2010):
"Dumme Ziege" - Kategorielernen bei Zwergziegen.. KTBL-Schrift 482: 104-114"
Meyer, S.; Puppe, B.; Langbein, J. (2010):
Kognitive Umweltanreichung bei Zoo- und Nutztieren - Implikationen für Verhalten und Wohlbefinden der Tiere. Berl Munch Tierarztl 123 (11/12): 446-456
Langbein, J.; Siebert, K.; Nürnberg, G. (2009):
Zur Nutzung eines Lernautomaten durch eine Gruppe von Zwergziegen - Ziegen suchen kognitive Heruasforderungen.. KTBL-Schrift 479: 85-94
Langbein, J.; Siebert, K.; Nürnberg, G. (2009):
On the use of an automated learning device by group-housed dwarf goats: Do goats seek cognitive challenges? . Appl Anim Behav Sci 120 (3-4): 150-158
Manteuffel, G.; Langbein, J.; Puppe, B. (2009):
Increasing farm animal welfare by positively motivated instrumental behaviour . Appl Anim Behav Sci 118 (3-4): 191-198
Manteuffel, G.; Langbein, J.; Puppe, B. (2009):
From operant learning to cognitive enrichment in farm animal housing: bases and applicability. Anim Welfare 18 (1): 87-95
Langbein, J.; Siebert, K.; Nürnberg, G. (2008):
Concurrent recall of serially learned visual discrimination problems in dwarf goats (Capra hircus). Behav Process 79 (3): 156-164