Primate Social Cognition, Evolution & Behavior: A Second-Century Initiative

2CI – Primate Social Cognition, Evolution & Behavior
University Second Century Initiative Program


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GSU 2CI PSCEB News and Notes

Announcements (e.g., recruitment, research opportunties)

News and Notes: Return to this website for more information on Primate Social Cognition, Evolution and Behavior at Georgia State University.

November 2014: Professor J. David Smith to join Georgia State University

Professor J. David Smith

The Department of Psychology and the 2CI-PSCEB Search Committee are pleased to announce that J. David Smith has accepted our offer and will join the university as its latest professor hired through the Second Century Initiative. Dr. Smith is currently a Professor of Psychology at the University of Buffalo (SUNY). He is an internationally recognized expert in comparative cognition, examining primates’ (humans, rhesus monkeys, capuchin monkeys, chimpanzees) and other animals’ (e.g., dolphins, rats) abilities in the areas of learning, judgment and decision making, categorization/concept formation, and metacognition. Professor Smith’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and he has attracted previous support from other federal and private agencies as well. We are fortunate to have attracted a scholar with this record of research creativity and productivity to our university, and we look forward to the transition of Dr. Smith and his research team–including his spouse and collaborator Dr. Barbara Church, a Senior Research Scientist, and an accomplished scholar in her own right–to Georgia State University next Fall.

September 2014: PSCEB Fellows and faculty participate in Social Mind symposium honoring the career and contributions of Frans de Waal

The Social Mind poster

April 2014: PSCEB Fellows participate in second annual 2CI University Doctoral Fellows Poster Day

PSCEB Poster Day 2014

The 2CI University Doctoral Fellows in PSCEB joined with Fellows in Neurogenomics, Neuroethics, and Neuroimaging for a poster day, highlighting some of the research accomplishments for these diverse scholars. Doctoral students from all four Fellowship programs displayed their research posters in Kell Hall, and then had lunch together to discuss their interests. For the PSCEB Fellows, the poster day capped off another productive year, which featured 8 publications, 14 professional presentations at regional/national/international conferences, two prestigious fellowships (see below), and several other honors. Anna Gonsiorowski and Sara Price also successfully defended their respective M.A. thesis projects this year. Two other students proposed thesis work, and two successfully proposed dissertation projects that are ongoing. In light of these academic and professional accomplishments, Georgia State University announced that 2CI University Doctoral Fellowships have been renewed for the 2014-2015 academic year for Anna Gonsiorowski, Melissa Hrabic, Bethany MacDonald, Audrey Parrish, Sarah Pope, Laurent Pretot, and Sara Price!

April 2014: Kendall Davidek named newest University Doctoral Fellow in PSCEB

Kendall Davidek, who will begin the doctoral program in Neuroscience in the Fall, 2014 term, has been recommended and approved as the latest 2CI University Doctoral Fellow in Primate Social Cognition, Evolution and Behavior. Kendall will graduate this semester with a B.S. from the Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity program at the University of California, Davis. She has completed dual minors in Psychology and in Evolutionary Anthropology. Kendall has extensive research experience at UC-Davis and at the California National Primate Research Center, including research on the social behavior of rhesus monkeys (with Dr. Brenda McCowan, Dr. Brianne Beisner, and Dr. Darcy Hannibal), studies of the effects of oxytocin on the social behavior of voles (with Dr. Karen Bales), and studies of the social behavior of coppery titi monkeys (with Dr. Bales and Dr. Tamara Weinstein). She has also participated in field research in Madagascar. At Georgia State University, Kendall will work in Dr. Bill Hopkins’s laboratory.

Check this site often to see updates on the research and academic accomplishments by Ms. Davidek–and all 8 of the University Doctoral Fellows in PSCEB!

March 2014: Audrey Parrish honored by Department of Psychology

PSCEB Fellow Audrey Parrish was awarded the Richard Morrell Outstanding Graduate Student in Psychology. With more than 100 graduate students in psychology, this honor is based on the doctoral student’s record in the areas of research/professional development, instruction, and service. In addition to Audrey’s exceptional scholarly output, she was highly effective in her first course as instructor of record, and provided extensive service to the university and to the discipline. CONGRATULATIONS, AUDREY!

February 2014 : Professor J. David Smith (U. Buffalo) visits campus for PSCEB talk

Distinguished cognitive scientists J. David Smith (U. Buffalo) visited Georgia State University to discuss his comparative research in a talk titled, “Toward a Natural History of Categorization.” Professor Smith lunched with many of the PSCEB Fellows during his visit

October 2013 : PSCEB Fellow Laurent Pretot receives research fellowship from Swiss National Science Foundation

Congratulations to Laurent Pretot, who received a competitive SNSF dissertation research fellowship, awarded to the most promising candidates to allow them to improve and to advance into their scientific development abroad. Laurent’s award will provide research support for his “permanent/ephemeral” comparative research with nonhuman primates and cleaner fish. This project investigates how animals use social cues in the selection of potential response options.

May 2013 : PSCEB Fellow Sarah Pope receives prestigious fellowship!

Congratulations to Sarah Pope, who has been named a 2013 Chateaubriand Fellow. Sarah is a first-year neuroscience student (working with Dr. Bill Hopkins) and 2CI University Doctoral Fellow in Primate Social Cognition, Evolution & Behavior. Her Chateaubriand Fellowship will support Sarah for one year to study the neural correlates of communication by baboons in France at the Aix-Marseille University. The Chateaubriand Fellowship is awarded by the Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States, and is designed to initiate or reinforce international collaborations or joint projects by encouraging scholarly exchange at the doctoral level.

April 2013 : First Annual PSCEB Poster Day

To recognize the scientific accomplishments of 2CI University Doctoral Fellows in PSCEB, research posters will be displayed from 9am – noon on the second floor of Kell Hall, near the PSCEB Laboratory Suite. PSCEB Fellows who are available on that day will discuss their work from 11am – noon that morning. This poster session provides a local opportunity to highlight some of the research that these doctoral students have presented at regional, national, and international conferences–including, but not limited to, the following professional presentations at the recent Southeastern Psychological Association meeting here in Atlanta:

Audrey Parrish – Rhesus monkeys strategically respond to variable partner play in a coordination game
Anna Gonsiorowski – Toddlers’ capacity for implicit social evaluations
Sara Price – Responses to an anti-coordination game in capuchin monkeys
Laurent Pretot – Cross-taxon comparison between the ecological and cognitive approaches to cognition
Casey Yarbrough – Executive attention and inhibitory control in rhesus monkeys
Melissa Hrabic – Three-year-olds versus adults: Source reliability on action and labeling tasks
Bethany MacDonald – The influence of social information on children’s perseverative errors

Click HERE or a full list of publications and professional presentations authored by the 2CI University Doctoral Fellows in PSCEB in FY’13


Holly Adams defended her MA thesis and passed her general examination

Sara Price successfully proposed her MA thesis project

Anna Gonsiorowski successfully proposed her MA thesis project

Audrey Parrish passed her general examination

Laurent Pretot passed his general examination

October, 2012: PSCEB Fellows and Faculty attend Jane Goodall lecture psceb at goodall

As part of the Georgia State University Distinguished Lecture Series, Dr. Jane Goodall visited campus on 8-October for a lecture and book-signing. PSCEB faculty and fellows were able to hear Dr. Goodall discuss her journey in primatology and her current interests in conservation, education, and environmental activism. Accompanied onstage by her trademark stuffed monkey “Mr. H.” (for “hope”), Dr. Goodall spoke to an overflow audience of students, faculty and staff about the importance of passion and persistence. Her 50+ years of field research in primatology has given way to a schedule that has her speaking around the world almost every day of the year as an ambassador for chimpanzees–and environmental causes more broadly–including activities sponsored through the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots and Shoots Program. For more information about Dr. Goodall’s visit, see the story and video by GSU University Relations.

Kate Talbot tells the PSCEB Fellows about the NSF fellowship program

August, 2012: First 2012-2013 2CI University Doctoral Fellows in PSCEB annual kick-off breakfast for 2CI University Doctoral Fellows in PSCEB

On August 20th, the inaugural class of Fellows (from right: Casey Yarbrough, Anna Gonsiorowski, Sara Price, Laurent Pretot, Holly Phillips, Audrey Parrish, Sarah Pope, Melissa Hrabic, Bethany MacDonald) convened at the Language Research Center to discuss the background of and expectations for the new 2CI University Doctoral Fellowships. Support for these Fellowships represents a significant step by Georgia State University toward several of the goals in its Strategic Plan, including growth in the number and quality of doctoral students. Senior doctoral student and NSF Fellow Kate Talbot discussed the NSF Gradate Fellowship program and her experience in obtaining competitive extramural support from NSF for her research and training (pictured, left). The Fellows were charged with the goals of excelling in academic performance, scholarly output, and participation in the PSCEB initiative–and were reminded that they will be asked to report annually on their progress in these areas. Each student is now a partner in promoting the reputation and standing of Georgia State University in the area of Primate Social Cognition, Evolution & Behavior.

August, 2012: PSCEB Laboratory Suite opens in Kell Hall

To accommodate growth of the Primate Social Cognition, Evolution & Behavior research program, GSU campus space in Kell Hall has been renovated to provide laboratories for scientists in neuroscience, psychology, and (eventually) anthropology. The PSCEB Laboratory Suite currently includes research areas for Dr. Bill Hopkins and his team to examine neuroimaging-scan data from a wide range of primates in an attempt to understand how cerebral asymmetries in brain morphology relate to social, cognitive, and behavioral competencies. There is also a suite of rooms for Dr. Sarah Brosnan and her Comparative Economics and Behavioral Studies (CEBUS) laboratory, where researchers can, for example, observe and code the behavior of capuchin monkeys in inequity-exchange paradigms. A third component of the PSCEB Suite is Dr. David Washburn’s Individual Differences in Executive Attention (IDEA) laboratory, where undergraduate students are tested on many of the same cognitive tasks as are used with nonhuman primates. The PSCEB Suite also includes poster displays where research findings that were presented at professional conferences can be viewed. Further renovation of the Kell space will accommodate additional faculty hiring, new graduate students, and continued growth the PSCEB initiative.

April, 2012; July, 2012: Graduate students named 2CI University Doctoral Fellows in Primate Social Cognition, Evolution, & Behavior

In a new program supported by the Office of the Provost and in conjunction with the Second Century Initiative (2CI), Georgia State University is pleased to announce the following recipients of the 2012-2013 2CI University Doctoral Fellowships in PSCEB. Each of these graduate students will receive support for their research activities from the university and through the Psychology Department or the Neuroscience Institute. The inaugural class of Fellows includes Anna Gonsiorowski, Melissa Hrabic, Bethany MacDonald, Audrey Parrish, Holly Phillips, Sarah Pope, Laurent Pretot, Sara Price, and Casey Yarbrough. Congratulations to these outstanding young scholars!

October, 2011: “Primate Social Cognition” featured as theme for annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference

For the 11th annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) at Georgia State University, Primate Social Cognition was selected as the thematic co-sponsor. Although PURC posters span the entire range of psychological research, the student presentations of comparative research will be complemented by the plenary address. Professor Rob Hampton (Emory University) will discuss his studies of the cognitive and neural foundations of social behavior in the PURC Distinguished Lecture.

January, 2012: Dr. William (Bill) Hopkins to join Georgia State University faculty as professor of neuroscience, Fall 2012.

Recruited through the 2CI faculty search in Primate Social Cognition, Professor Hopkins is an internationally recognized expert in the brain structures that underlie behavioral and cognitive competencies in nonhuman primates. His research is focused on functional and neuroanatomical asymmetries in brains of humans, chimpanzees and monkeys. These studies of hemispheric specialization and localization have direct implications for the evolution of gestural communication and language, and for a wide range of developmental disorders. Professor Hopkins has published well over 200 refereed journal articles and chapters, and has attracted funding through multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health–including his ongoing role as a PI on the program project from NICHD that has supported much of the research at the Language Research Center.

2CI PSCEB Announcements

Georgia State University is pleased to announce new 2CI Doctoral Fellowships in Primate Social Cognition, Evolution and Behavior. These competitive fellowships will support graduate students for doctoral training and research on this topic with nonhuman primates. Students who are interested in learning more about the 2CI Doctoral Fellowships should contact David Washburn, Bill Hopkins, Sarah Brosnan, David Smith, or another LRC scientist. For more information about applying for graduate study at Georgia State University, please visit one of the following links:

Doctoral study in Psychology

Doctoral study in Neuroscience

Doctoral study in Biology

Masters program in Anthropology

College of Arts and Sciences – Apply for Graduate Study

College of Arts and Sciences – 2CI research and fellowships