Graduate Student

Georgia State University

Curriculum Vitae

Email: j.watzek@gmail.com

Research Interests: decision-making, "irrational" behavior, cost benefit, comparative cognition

J

I’m a PhD student in the Cognitive Sciences program at Georgia State University, working with Sarah Brosnan at the Comparative Economics and Behavioral Studies Lab (CEBUS Lab) and with Eyal Aharoni at the Cooperation, Conflict, & Cognition Lab (CCC Lab). I earned a MA in Psychology / Cognitive Sciences investigating how seemingly irrational behavior can be optimal in uncertain environments.

My research focuses on how animals and humans make adaptive decisions in uncertain environments. In particular, I am interested in understanding decision-making biases and seemingly irrational behavior in the context of an individual’s physical and social environment.

Previously, I worked with Dr. Frans de Waal at the Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution. While there, I managed three groups of chimpanzees and conducted behavioural tests of their social cognition as well as observational studies.

I earned a BS in Psychology for an experimental study on the understanding of discrete probabilities in chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas, which I carried out at the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center in Leipzig, Germany. I had the opportunity to work in the field for a year as well—as a research assistant on the Inkawu Vervet Project in South Africa, which focused on different aspects of vervet monkey behaviour, including social learning and inter-group encounters.