BA (20012) Columbia University
Research Interests: Developmental plasticity, social perception, oxytocin, vasopressin, social behavior, mating strategies
Social interactions require behavioral specializations (e.g., conspecific recognition, social signaling, formation of bonds…etc.) which are enabled by the evolution of specific neurobiological mechanisms. My research uses an ethological framework to study how neurobiological function is related to variation in social behaviors in mammals.
My research in the Ophir lab focuses on how the early social environment contributes to later mating strategies. More specifically, I am asking whether differences in vasopressin receptors underlie this developmental relationship.
This project builds on my previous dissertation work, where I identified factors contributing to the development of individual differences in social behavior in the rhesus macaque. More specifically I investigated whether infant carriers of a 5-HTTLPR genotype associated with susceptibility to adverse rearing, are responsive to enhanced maternal care. Additionally, I tested the relationships between markers of oxytocin and vasopressin function, differences in the perception of socially-relevant stimuli, and variation in sociality.
Papers (from the lab):
Madrid JE, Parker KJ, Ophir AG (2020) Variation, plasticity, and alternative mating tactics: Revisiting what we know about the socially monogamous prairie vole. Advances in the Study of Behavior. 52, 203-242.