Mackenzie (Smith) Webster
I am currently a PhD student in the Cognitive Sciences program at Georgia State University working with Dr. Sarah Brosnan. My interests largely lie within the domains of social behavior and cognition, using a comparative approach to study species across the Primate order (including humans). I am particularly interested in the evolution of emotions and affective states, and investigating the ways in which they impact our thoughts and behaviors. For my Master’s thesis, I am looking at how changes in affective state (both positive and negative) affect social behavior and cognition in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella).
I am also interested in decision-making research aimed at gaining a better understanding of how and why individuals make certain decisions, both within and outside of social situations. Over the past year I have been working on a study with capuchin monkeys, investigating the effects of Oxytocin on decision-making across several different economic games.
Before coming to Georgia State University, I earned my Bachelors degree in animal behavior from Bucknell University. During my time as an undergraduate I was able to work closely with both capuchin monkeys and lion-tailed macaques. For my honor’s thesis I was interested in how capuchins saw and responded to inequity, conducting a study looking at their responses to a modified ultimatum game.