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Jorden S. Martin’s groundbreaking research as a Goldman Scholar

Jorden S. MartinWhen Jordan Martin signed up for his first cross-listed Anthropology-Biology course to study Biological
Anthropology, he did so not expecting it to alter the direction of his life. But like many before him,
Jordan found that studying with Miami’s world renowned primatologist, Dr. Linda Marchant, could be a
career launching opportunity. Fascinated by primates, Jordan later conducted undergraduate research
on captive Bonobos with Dr. Scott Suarez (work that is now published in one of the top journals in the
field, American Journal of Primatology, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajp.22670/full),
while continuing to hone his interests in primates in conversations with Dr. Marchant, ultimately
leading to a research proposal for the Joanna Jackson Goldman Memorial Prize to study prosociality
among marmosets.

The Joanna Jackson Goldman Memorial Prize is a highly competitive award, one of the largest of its kind
in the nation, providing s generous stipend to support a year of independent student scholarship after
graduation from Miami University. In addition to Dr. Marchant, Jordan gathered together two
additional mentors, Dr. Sonja Koski at the University of Helsinki and Dr. Jorg Massen at the University of
Vienna, who facilitated his research with five marmoset groups and hosted him at their respective
universities.

With his team of mentors supporting him, Jordan’s project was to explore the determinants of the social
behavior of the highly cooperative common marmoset, one of the world’s smallest new world primates.
Jordan was interested in whether and how common marmosets exhibit prosociality, which refers to a
tendency to help others without immediate benefit to oneself. Jordan conducted two experiments with
the marmosets to measure their prosocial and cooperative tendencies. In one experiment, one
individual has an opportunity to engage in prosocial behavior by providing food to another without
receiving any for himself. In the other experiment, two individuals must simultaneously pull on a string
that is looped through notches on a food tray. Pulling individually leads to failure as the string is loose
and will quickly become untethered from the platform, while cooperating on the task leads to a food
reward for both individuals. The goal in conducting these experiments was to (1) assess the degree of
cooperative and prosocial behavior exhibited by common marmosets, and (2) determine whether
individual variation in cooperation and prosociality are related. Jordan is currently in the process of
finishing multiple scientific manuscripts which are expected to make a significant contrition to our
understanding of marmoset social behavior.

Come autumn, Jordan will begin a PhD program in Biological Anthropology at Emory University, starting
his professional career with the privilege of personally knowing and collaborating with many of the best
scientists in his field, thanks to Miami University and the Goldman Prize.