Ljerka Ostojić

Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology

University of Rijeka


Social cognition

Navigating our social environment may be more complex than navigating our physical surroundings: other animate beings move more and in more unpredictable ways than objects, they have an internal life, and they interact with us in ways objects cannot. My research broadly focuses on the question what exactly differs between interactions with other agents and actions towards objects and whether navigating these different situations relies on different cognitive mechanisms. To date, my empirical research focused on the perception of others, behavioural coordination with others, attention to others’ outcomes (for example rewards others receive), as well as the ability to respond to others’ internal states such as what another individual may know or what they may want. The majority of this work is conducted using behavioural experiments with human participants, birds of the crow family (most notably, Eurasian jays), domestic dogs, and – more recently, and through collaborations – also cephalopods.

Metascience for Comparative Cognition

A more recent strand of my research concerns questions about how we conceptualise, conduct, analyse, report, and discuss research, particularly in behavioural studies of the human and animal mind. Most of our research in this area involves looking at published literature to investigate the way authors use statistical tests, make inferences, report their results, and make claims in their papers. We also look at the use of Open Science principles and tools developed by Open Science communities. In addition, we also use survey-based methods to ask researchers about their perceptions and experiences with bias, risk, and quality management in science.

Since 2020

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Rijeka, Croatia


Researcher, Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE)


Visiting Researcher, Centre for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC), University of Trento, Italy

2012 – 2019

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK


PhD in Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK


MSc in Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria

I have supervised and co-supervised 4 PhD students (Dr. Piero Amodio, currently a Leverhulme Trust-funded postdoctoral researcher at the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Napoli, Italy; Dr. Katharina Brecht, Dr. Rachel Crosby, currently working as a Medical Writer at Mtech Access; Dr. Benjamin Farrar, currently working at BMJ), 4 Masters students (Dr. Michelle Spierings, currently at the University of Vienna, Austria; Dr. Jolle Jolles, currently at the Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Application in Barcelona, Spain; Arne Dits, currently working as an Executive Trader, Analyst and Developer at Duyfken Trading, Netherlands; Yvette Kalaba, currently working as an educational psychologist in Zadar, Croatia) and over 30 internship and final project students.

  • 2020: Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) Education grant (with Emma Tecwyn and Sarah-Elizabeth Byosiere)

  • 2018: ASAB Research Grant

  • 2017: Returning Carers Scheme to conduct fieldwork with Alpine choughs, University of Cambridge, UK

  • 2015: ASAB Research Grant

  • 2010: INCORE Integrating Cooperation Research Across Europe – Collaboration Grant