Cognitive scientist Marc Hauser will resign his post in the Harvard University psychology department as of 1 August, The Boston Globe reported yesterday.
Hauser is well-known for his research on the cognitive abilities of nonhuman animals and has been an admired teacher and mentor, as well as the author of several popular books on animal behavior. Nearly a year has passed since The Globe broke the news that he had been put on leave following a university investigation that found him guilty of eight instances of scientific misconduct. Exactly what those eight instances are remains unclear, and federal investigations into Hauser's conduct are still ongoing.
One paper authored by Hauser, a 2002 study in the journal Cognition, has been retracted, and questions have been raised about several others, including a 2007 Science paper on the ability of nonhuman primates to understand human gestures. Science recently published an apparent replication of the key findings from that study.
In April, Harvard psychology department faculty voted not to allow Hauser to return to teach at the university in the fall. In his resignation letter, Hauser does not refer to the teaching ban or misconduct investigation but says he plans to focus on "new and interesting challenges" that have come up during his year on leave, including "extremely interesting and rewarding work focusing on the educational needs of at-risk teenagers" and "exciting opportunities in the private sector."