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


Scheibe, K. M.; Schleusner, T.; Berger, A.; Eichhorn, K.; Langbein, J.; Dal Zotto, L.; Streich, W. J. (1998):
ETHOSYS(R) - new system for recording and analysis of behaviour of free-ranging domestic animals and wildlife. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 55: 195-211
Langbein, J.; Scheibe, K. M.; Eichhorn, K. (1998):
Investigations on periparturient behaviour in free-ranging mouflon sheep (Ovis orientalis musimon). J. Zool. 244: 553-561
Langbein, J.; Scheibe, K.-M.; Eichhorn, K. (1998):
Untersuchungen zur Aktivitätsrhythmik beim europäischen Wildschaf (Ovis ammon musimon). Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege in Brandenburg 38-42
Langbein, J.; Raasch, M.-L.; König, I. (1998):
Untersuchungen zur frühen Mutter-Kind-Beziehung in der extensiven Mutterkuhhaltung - das Kalb des Rindes als Ablieger. KTBL - Schrift 382: 31-41
Langbein, J.; Scheibe, K. M.; Eichhorn, K. (1997):
Daily pattern of behaviour and behavioural budget in free ranging European mouflons (Ovis ammon musimon PALLAS, 1811). Zeitschrift fur Jagdwissenschaft 43: 35-47
Langbein, J.; Scheibe, K. M.; Eichhorn, K. (1997):
Seasonal changes in the circadian behaviour patterns in European mouflons (Ovis ammon musimon Pallas, 1811). Int. J. Mammal. Biol 62: 117-123
Langbein, J.; Scheibe, K. M.; Eichhorn, K.; Lindner, U.; Streich, W. J. (1996):
An activity-data-logger for monitoring free-ranging animals. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 48: 115-124
Langbein, J.; Scheibe, K.-M.; Eichhorn, K. (1995):
Langzeiterfassung und biorhythmische Feinanalyse der Aktivität beim europäischen Wildschaf (Ovis ammon musimon). Der Ornithologische Beobachter 92: 353-357
Langbein, J.; Nichelmann, M. (1993):
Comparative study of rectal temperature and of the 24-hours activity in cattle (Holstein Friesian and Siboney de Cuba) on tropical pasture. Zool. Jb. Physiol 97: 173-185
Langbein, J.; Nichelmann, M. (1993):
Differences in behaviour of free-ranging cattle in the tropical climate. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 37: 197-209