FWF Project P-26806 (Die Evolution der prosozialen Einstellung)
Jorg Massen received his Master degree in Animal Behaviour Sciences at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. For his master thesis he did extensive fieldwork in the peat-swamp forests of Borneo, studying the development of feeding competence of immature wild orangutans. During his subsequent work as Ph.D.-candidate, again at Utrecht University, he furthered his primatological work, studying friendship and its underlying mechanisms in two species of macaques. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2010, he was awarded a research grant from the Lucy Burgers Foundation for Comparative Research allowing him to do post-doctoral research at the chimpanzee colony of Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem, the Netherlands. There he furthered his research on the pro-social preferences of animals and started his studies of animal personality. In 2012 he moved to the department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna, after he was awarded a Lise-Meitner grant form the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) to study cooperation and it's necessary cognition in ravens. In 2013 he was awarded a PRIMOCID grant from EUPRIM-Net under the EU contract RII3-026155 of the 6th Framework Programme to further his work on macaque pro-sociality. Finally, in 2014 he was awarded a Stand-alone grant from the FWF to study the evolution of pro-social concern, and a Young Investigators award by the faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Vienna.
Currently Jorg is studying the evolution of pro-sociality by making use of a comparative approach, including species with two distinct social features (cooperative breeding (CB) and social bonds (SB)). To control for effects of common ancestry, next to humans he will include two species per two phylogenetical different lineages (primates: common marmosets (CB: Uni Wien) vs. long-tailed macaques (SB: BPRC, the Netherlands); and corvids: Azure-winged magpies (CB: Haidlhof Research station) vs. common ravens (SB: Haidlhof Research station)). To do so, he recently also set-up the completely new Azure-winged magpie lab at the Haidlhof research station.