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Carleton’s Neiworth Awarded NIH Grant for Work in Comparative Cognition

September 20, 2012

Northfield, Minn.–– Julie Neiworth, Carleton College professor of psychology and director of neuroscience, has been awarded an Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) grant of $344,204 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for her research “Revisiting Challenged Findings to Determine Social and Cognitive Abilities in Tamarins.”

Neiworth will test tamarins, a new world monkey species, on several aspects of cognition contested in psychology due to the retraction or correction of work from former Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser. The topics include recognition of human speech, theory of mind, and social learning. Five undergraduate collaborators/student researchers assisted with the work this summer; ten students will continue that work this fall.

The research involves Carleton’s colony of 13 tamarins that are all adults and have been reared in social groups. Neiworth notes tamarins are prized in comparative research when considering primates and the evolution of mind since they co-parent and mate for life, and thus they are the only primate species that share those traits with humans.

This is the third round of NIH funding for Neiworth, totaling $669,700. Her research has included nearly 100 undergraduate collaborators and resulted in more than a dozen publications and presentations.

More information on her study, research team and the tamarin colony is available at https://apps.carleton.edu/curricular/psyc/primates/

Watch the Carleton News site for a more extensive video story on Neiworth and her students continuing research later this fall term.