Liza Rose Moscovice, Ph.D.

Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN)
Working group Psychophysiology
Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2
18196 Dummerstorf

Research interests

I use a psychobiological framework to investigate the underlying mechanisms and adaptive function of social relationships and prosociality in animal models, ranging from primates to pigs. My research investigates why individuals vary in their propensities to affiliate and cooperate with others and how this variation influences their fitness. This work has broader implications for understanding the evolution of cooperation and the mechanisms by which social support provides health benefits.

Main research topics:

  • Comparative models of prosociality and empathy in farm animals
  • Understanding the link between social relationships, stress and health outcomes
  • Investigating hormonal underpinnings of social relationships and cooperation

Curriculum Vitae

  • since 2019: Research Scientist, Institute of Behavioural Physiology, Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology, Germany
  • 2016-2018: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Anthropology Department, Emory University, USA
  • 2011-2016: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany
  • 2009-2011: Visiting Assistant Professor, Biology Department, Binghamton University, USA
  • 2006-2009: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biology Department, University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • 1999-2006: PhD, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • 1997-1999: Lab technician, Neurology Department, University of Minnesota, USA
  • 1993-1997: BA, Neuroscience, Oberlin College, USA


Moscovice, L. R.; Sobczak, B.; Niittynen, T.; Koski, S. E.; Gimsa, U. (2024):
Changes in salivary oxytocin in response to biologically-relevant events in farm animals: method optimization and usefulness as a biomarker.
Frontiers in Physiology 15: 1370557, 1-12
Nurmi, N.; Sonnweber, R.; Schülke, O; Moscovice, L. R.; Deschner, T.; Hoffmann, G. (2023):
Bonobo mothers have elevated urinary cortisol levels during early but not mid or late lactation. PRIMATES 64: 215-225
Clay, Z.; Moscovice, L. R.; Gruber, T. (2022):
Bonobo Sexual Behavior and Psychology. In: The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Sexual Psychology (Todd K. Shakelford, Hrsg.) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge ( 978-1-108-94358-1): 370-400
Moscovice, L. R.; Hohmann, G.; Trumble, B.; Fruth, B.; Jaeggi, A. (2022):
Dominance or Tolerance? Causes and consequences of a period of increased intercommunity encounters among bonobos (Pan paniscus) at LuiKotale. Int J Primatol 43: 434-459
Moscovice, L. R.; Gimsa, U.; Otten, W.; Eggert, A. (2022):
Salivary Cortisol, but Not Oxytocin, Varies With Social Challenges in Domestic Pigs: Implications for Measuring Emotions. Front Behav Neurosci 16: 899397, 1-15
Nittynen, T.; Riihonen, V.; Moscovice, L. R.; Koski, S. (2022):
Acute changes in oxytocin predict behavioral responses to foundation training in horses. Appl Anim Behav Sci 254: 105707, 1-10
Düpjan, S.; Moscovice, L. R.; Puppe, B. (2021):
The role of enrichment in optimizing pig behaviour and welfare. In: Understanding the behaviour and improving the welfare of pigs (Edwards, Sandra (ed.), Newcastle University, UK, Hrsg.) Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, Cambrigde (978-1-78676-443-0): 1-27
Moscovice, L. R.; Sueur, C.; Aureli, F. (2020):
How socio-ecological factors influence the differentiation of social relationships: an integrated conceptual framework. Biol Letters 16 (9): 20200384, 1-6
Düpjan, S.; Krause, A.; Moscovice, L. R.; Nawroth, C. (2020):
Emotional contagion and its implications for animal welfare. CAB Reviews 15: 046, 1-6
Moscovice, L. R.; Surbeck, M.; Fruth, B.; Hohmann, G.; Jaeggi, A.; Deschner, T. (2019):
The cooperative sex: Sexual interactions among female bonobos are linked to increases in oxytocin, proximity and coalitions. Horm Behav 116: 104581, 1-9
Moscovice, L. R.; Douglas, P. H.; Martinez-Inigo, L.; Surbeck, M.; Vigilant, L.; Hohmann, G. (2017):
Stable and fluctuating social preferences and implications for cooperation among female bonobos at LuiKotale, Salonga National Park, DRC. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 163: 158-172
Douglas, P. H.; Moscovice, L. R. (2015):
Pointing and pantomime in wild apes? Female bonobos use referential and iconic gestures to request genito-genital rubbing. Scientific Reports 5: Artn 13999
Moscovice, L. R.; Deschner, T.; Hohmann, G. (2015):
Welcome Back: Responses of Female Bonobos (Pan paniscus) to Fusions. Plos One 10: Artn e0127305
Kitchen, D. M.; Cheney, D. L.; Engh, A. L.; Fischer, J.; Moscovice, L. R.; Seyfarth, R. M. (2013):
Male baboon responses to experimental manipulations of loud "wahoo calls": testing an honest signal of fighting ability. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 67: 1825-1835"
Moscovice, L. R.; Ziegler, T. E. (2012):
Peripheral oxytocin in female baboons relates to estrous state and maintenance of sexual consortships. Horm. Behav. 62: 592-597
Cheney, D. L.; Moscovice, L. R.; Heesen, M.; Mundry, R.; Seyfarth, R. M. (2010):
Contingent cooperation between wild female baboons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107: 9562-9566
Moscovice, L. R.; Di Fiore, A.; Crockford, C.; Kitchen, D. M.; Wittig, R.; Seyfarth, R. M.; Cheney, D. L. (2010):
Hedging their bets? Male and female chacma baboons form friendships based on likelihood of paternity. Anim. Behav. 79: 1007-1015
Moscovice, L. R.; Mbago, F.; Snowdon, C. T.; Huffman, M. A. (2010):
Ecological features and ranging patterns at a chimpanzee release site on Rubondo Island, Tanzania. Biol. Conserv. 143: 2711-2721
Petrzelkova, K. J.; Hasegawa, H.; Appleton, C. C.; Huffman, M. A.; Archer, C. E.; Moscovice, L. R.; Mapua, M. I.; Singh, J.; Kaur, T. (2010):
Gastrointestinal Parasites of the Chimpanzee Population Introduced onto Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania. Am. J. Primatol. 72: 307-316
Silk, J. B.; Beehner, J. C.; Bergman, T. J.; Crockford, C.; Engh, A. L.; Moscovice, L. R.; Wittig, R. M.; Seyfarth, R. M.; Cheney, D. L. (2010):
Female chacma baboons form strong, equitable, and enduring social bonds. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 64: 1733-1747