Psychology Research - A Common Thread: Video Transcript

Chris Makaroff [Dean of the College of Arts and Science; Professor of Chemistry]: Research is important for all students. Research gives them the opportunity to utilize the knowledge that they've learned in class to solve real-world problems. But you can do research in any area, whether it's in the humanities, the social sciences, or the natural sciences.

Emily Laska [Psychology major]: I took Dr. Hall's psychology seminar class. It was just for freshmen, and throughout it I really loved what I was learning. And she said, "I know Dr. Ward over in the kinesiology department, and she does great research."

Rose Marie Ward [Professor of Kinesiology and Health]: This project is just one of many projects that we do in the lab, and Emily actually approached me.

Emily Laska: I wanted to look at the academic consequences, the academic sides of drinking.

Professor Rose Marie Ward: We've collected our data, and we're in data analysis. She is analyzing it to present at a conference.

Emily Laska: One of my favorite memories so far has been going to NCUR, which is the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. I've really been taught so much by Dr. Ward. She's been a phenomenal mentor throughout my years at Miami. She also gives us the opportunity to work on our own research projects, which I think is really unique and has been really beneficial.

Dean Chris Makaroff: That's sort of a common thread that weaves through independent study and research. Students learn how to solve problems, and that's what employers are looking for, and that's what we teach and try to develop in the College of Arts and Science.

Jordan Scott Martin [Biology and Psychology majors]: I started out at Miami as a psychology major, and I took a course on primate behavior and became particularly fascinated with primates and primatology in general.

Virginia Wickline [Associate Professor of Psychology]: I met Jordan a year and a half ago in my personality class, and he approached me afterwards saying he had some ideas about comparative work with humans and other primate species.

Jordan Scott Martin: Essentially, chimpanzees and bonobos are equally related to humans, and they are our closest living relatives. I was reading some research on face perception and how that related to personality.

Associate Professor Virginia Wickline: He wanted to extend that research to see if, likewise, humans could pick up cues from the facial morphology of bonobos, in order to be able to interpret aspects of their personalities.

Jordan Scott Martin: Our second goal is to actually look at bonobo faces objectively and use different measurements of their facial structure to see whether certain aspects of their morphology actually predict behavioral differences between them. I think it is cool just to see how human-like they are in certain ways, and how people that have no experience with primatology really cue into that. This potentially suggests that chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans share the similar keys to personality due to their common ancestry.

Associate Professor Virginia Wickline: What I am really excited about for Jordan's project is how many different directions he's going to be able to take this research.

Jordan Scott Martin: We're actually collaborating with researchers at various institutions, other primatologists that are helping us with this data set that we're using. I intend to go on and be a primatologist in my career, so just meeting other researchers and getting to know them and learning how to network with them is really valuable.

[April 2016]