University of Wisconsin–Madison

Allyson Bennett

Associate Professor

438a Psychology

Research Area(s)
Biology of Brain and Behavior

Research Interests
My research centers on how the interplay between early environments, experiences, and genes contribute to individual variation in psychological and physical health across the lifespan. A longitudinal and multidisciplinary research approach with nonhuman primates provides a controlled experimental avenue for better understanding the long-term consequences of early experiences and environments, as well as areas of plasticity and potential for recovery. A central question in my work is how aspects of physical and social environments affect biobehavioral development. Thus, part of my research takes a comparative approach to evaluate specific features of the environments and experiences of laboratory animals. In turn, the work provides empirical evidence to inform evolving standards for animal welfare, particularly those that also affect scientific outcomes. The quality and progress of both science and animal welfare depend on policies and practices that are evidence-based. My expertise in psychological science, coupled with a commitment to science education allow me to contribute to public dialogue and collaboration with diverse stakeholders in evolving standards for humane and responsible research to promote health for people and nonhuman animals.

Representative Publications
Bennett, A.J., Lesch, K.P., Heils, A., Long, J.C., Lorenz, J.G., Shoaf, S.E., Champoux, M., Suomi, S.J., & Higley, J.D. (2002). Early experience and serotonin transporter gene variation interact to influence primate CNS function. Molecular Psychiatry, 7, 118-122. PMID: 11803458

Corcoran, C.A., Pierre, P.J., Haddad, T., Bice, C.J., Suomi, S.J., Grant, K.A., Friedman, D.P., & Bennett, A.J. (2011). Long-term effects of differential early rearing in rhesus macaques: Behavioral reactivity in adulthood. Developmental Psychobiology, 54(5), 546-55. PMID: 22072233

Provencal, N.*, Suderman, M.J., Cuillemin, C., Wang, D., Ruggiero, A., Bennett, A.J., Pierre, P.J., Hallett, M., Tremblay, R.E., Suomi, S.J., & Szyf, M. (2012). Signature of maternal rearing in the methylome in rhesus macaque prefrontal cortex and T cells. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(44), 15626-42. PMID: 2311597

Bogart, S.L.*, Bennett, A.J., Schapiro, S.J. Reamer, L., & Hopkins, W.D. (2013). Early differential rearing experience has long-term effects on cortical organization in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Developmental Science. PMID: 24206013

Bennett, A.J., Perkins, C.M., Harty, N.M., Niu, M., Buelo, A., Luck, M.L., & Pierre,P.J. (in press). Moving evidence into practice: Assessment of foraging devices as a model for decision-making in nonhuman primate environmental enrichment. Journal of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science.

Bennett, A.J. & Pierre, P.J. (2010). Nonhuman Primate Research Contributions to Understanding Genetic and Environmental Influences on Phenotypic Outcomes Across Development. The Handbook of Developmental Science, Behavior, and Genetics, Kathryn Hood, Carolyn Tucker Halpern, Gary Greenberg, and Richard Lerner (Eds.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

More here: