Katherine A. Cronin, Ph.D.


Animal Care & Horticulture


Animal Welfare Science Program


Director, Animal Welfare Science Program


Ph.D. – Psychology, University of Wisconsin
B.S. – Zoology, University of Wisconsin


Areas of Expertise

  • Animal welfare
  • Applied animal behavior
  • Primate behavior and cognition


Katie strives to understand the experience of animals living in non-wild settings and learn what people can do to enhance the welfare of animals in human care. Her research integrates the study of behavioral, hormonal, and emotional changes that occur in animals, and is geared toward practical, actionable insights. Her team oversees the development of ZooMonitor and the volunteer-based program that uses this app to monitor the behavior of Lincoln Park Zoo animals.

Previously, Katie was a staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute in the Netherlands for five years. She spent much of her time in Africa at a chimpanzee sanctuary, the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust in Zambia. Working together with local Zambian researchers, she and colleagues developed a long-term behavioral monitoring system to better understand chimpanzee behavior and promote their welfare. She joined the scientific staff at Lincoln Park Zoo in 2014 to work alongside practical scientists dedicated to improving welfare of animals in human care.

Katie advises research interns, undergraduate, and graduate students in projects in applied animal behavior and welfare. She is currently a faculty member of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago.


  • Fiore, A. M., Cronin, K. A., Ross, S. R., & Hopper, L. M. 2020. Food Cleaning by Japanese Macaques: Innate, Innovative or Cultural?. Folia Primatologica; International Journal of Primatology, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1159/000506127.
  • Cronin, K. A., Tank, A., Ness, T., Leahy, M., & Ross, S. R. 2020. Sex and season predict wounds in zoo-housed Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata): A multi-institutional study. Zoo Biology, Early View. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21533.
  • Cronin, K., & Ross, S. 2019. A cautionary note on the use of behavioural diversity (H-Index) in animal welfare science. Animal Welfare, 28, 157–164. https://doi.org/10.7120/09627286.28.2.157.
  • Egelkamp, C. L., Jacobson, S. L., Cronin, K. A., Wagner, K. E., Ross, S. R., & Hopper, L. M. 2019. A Comparison of Sequential Learning Errors Made by Apes and Monkeys Reveals Individual but not Species Differences in Learning. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 32. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/024578f5.
  • Saiyed, S. T., Hopper, L. M., & Cronin, K. A. 2019. Evaluating the Behavior and Temperament of African Penguins in a Non-Contact Animal Encounter Program. Animals, 9(6), 326. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060326.
  • Wark, J.D., Cronin, K.A., Niemann, T., Kao, A., Shender, M.A., Horrigan, A. & Ross, M.R. 2019. Monitoring the behavior and habitat use of animals to enhance welfare using the ZooMonitor app. Animal Behavior & Cognition, 6: 158-168.
  • Wark, J. D., Cronin, K. A., Niemann, T., Shender, M. A., Horrigan, A., Kao, A., & Ross, M. R. 2019. Monitoring the Behavior and Habitat Use of Animals to Enhance Welfare using the ZooMonitor App. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 6(3), 158–167. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.
  • Leeuwen, E. J. C. van, Cronin, K. A., & Haun, D. B. M. 2019. Reply to Farine and Aplin: Chimpanzees choose their association and interaction partners. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(34), 16676–16677. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1905745116.
  • Jacobson, S. L., Kwiatt, A. C., Ross, S. R., & Cronin, K. A. 2019. The effects of cognitive testing on the welfare of zoo-housed Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 212: 90–97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2018.12.014.
  • Woods, J. M., Ross, S. R., & Cronin, K. A. 2019. The Social Rank of Zoo-Housed Japanese Macaques is a Predictor of Visitor-Directed Aggression. Animals, 9(6), 316. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060316.
  • Hopper, L. M., Cronin, K. A., & Ross, S. R. 2018. A multi-institutional assessment of a short-form personality questionnaire for use with macaques. Zoo Biology, 37: 281-289. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21439.
  • Antonioni, A., Pereda, M., Cronin, K. A., Tomassini, M., & Sánchez, A. 2018. Collaborative hierarchy maintains cooperation in asymmetric games. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 5375. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-23681-z.
  • Cronin, K. A., Bethell, E. J., Jacobson, S. L., Egelkamp, C., Hopper, L. M., & Ross, S. R. 2018. Evaluating mood changes in response to anthropogenic noise with a response-slowing task in three species of zoo-housed primates. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 5(2), 209­–221. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.
  • van Leeuwen, E.J.C., Cronin, K.A., & Haun, D.B.M. 2018. Population-specific social dynamics in chimpanzees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115: 11393-11400.
  • Hopper, L. M., & Cronin, K. A. 2018. What Did You Get? What Social Learning, Collaboration, Prosocial Behaviour, and Inequity Aversion Tell Us About Primate Social Cognition. In L. D. Di Paolo, F. Di Vincenzo, & F. De Petrillo (Eds.), Evolution of Primate Social Cognition (pp. 13–26). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93776-2_2.
  • Cronin, K.A. & Hopper, L.M. 2017. A comparative perspective on helping and fairness. In J. Sommerville & J. Decety (Eds.), Frontiers in Developmental Science Series: Social Cognition. (pp. 26-45). Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis Group, London.
  • van Leeuwen, E.J.C., Mundry, R., Cronin, K.A., Bodamer, M. & Haun, D.B.M. 2017. Chimpanzee culture extends beyond matrilineal family units. Current Biology, 27: R588-R590.
  • Cronin, K.A. 2017. Comparative studies of cooperation: Collaboration and prosocial behavior in animals. In J. Call, G.B. Burghardt, I. Pepperberg, C.T. Snowdon, & T. Zental (Eds.), APA Handbook of Comparative Psychology. (pp. 915-929). American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.
  • Cronin, K. A., Jacobson, S. L., Bonnie, K. E., & Hopper, L. M. 2017. Studying primate cognition in a social setting to improve validity and welfare: a literature review highlighting successful approaches. PeerJ, 5, e3649.
  • van Leeuwen, E.J.C., Cronin, K.A., & Haun, D.B.M. 2017. Tool use for corpse cleaning in chimpanzees. Scientific Reports, 7, 44091. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep44091.
  • van Leeuwen, E.J.C., Mulenga, I.C., Bodamer, M. & Cronin, K.A. 2016. Chimpanzees’ responses to the dead body of a nine-year old group member. American Journal of Primatology. 78: 914-922.
  • Cronin, K.A., West, V., & Ross, S.R. 2016. Investigating the relationship between welfare and rearing young in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Applied Animal Behaviour Science 181, 166-172.
  • Cronin, K.A. 2016. Unnatural paradigm calls into question whether macaques’ social decisions represent empathy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.113 (10): E1331.
  • Cronin, K.A., De Groot, E., & Stevens, J.M.G. 2015. Bonobos Show Limited Social Tolerance in a Group Setting: A Comparison with Chimpanzees and a Test of the Relational Model. Folia Primatologica, 86(3), 164–177.
  • Cronin KA, Acheson DJ, Rojas PH, and Sanchez A. 2015. Hierarchy is detrimental for human cooperation. Scientific Reports 5, 18634; doi: 10.1038/srep18634.
  • Van Leeuwen, E. J. C., Cronin, K. A., & Haun, D. B. M. 2014. A group-specific arbitrary tradition in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Animal Cognition,17, 1421-1425. doi:10.1007/s10071-014-0766-8.
  • Keller, K. L., Fritz, R. S., Zoubek, C. M., Kennedy, E. H., Cronin, K. A., Rothwell, E. S., & Serfass, T. L. 2014. Effects of transport on fecal glucocorticoid levels in captive-bred cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, 88(2), 84-88.
  • Cronin, K. A., Van Leeuwen, E. J. C., Vreeman, V., & Haun, D. B. M. 2014. Population-level variability in the social climates of four chimpanzee societies. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35(5), 389-396. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.05.004.
  • Cronin, K. A., Pieper, B., Van Leeuwen, E. J. C., Mundry, R., & Haun, D. B. M. 2014. Problem solving in the presence of others: How rank and relationship quality impact resource acquisition in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). PLoS One, 9(4): e93204. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093204.
  • van Leeuwen, E.J.C., Cronin, K.A., Schuette, S., Call, J. & Haun, D.B.M. 2013. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) flexibly adjust their behavior in order to maximize payoffs, not to conform to majorities. PLOS ONE. 8: e80945.
  • Nettle, D., Cronin, K. A., & Bateson, M. 2013. Responses of chimpanzees to cues of conspecific observation. Animal Behaviour. 86: 595-602.
  • Cronin, K.A. 2013. Review of Chimpanzees of the Lakeshore: Natural History and Culture at Mahale, by Toshisada Nishida, Cambridge University Press. Animal Behaviour, 85: 685-686.
  • van Leeuwen, E.J.C., Cronin, K.A., Haun, D.B.M., Mundry, R. & Bodamer, M.D. 2012. Neighbouring chimpanzee communities show different preferences in social grooming behavior. roceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 279: 4362-4367.
  • Cronin, K.A. 2012. Prosocial behaviour in animals: the influence of social relationships, communication and rewards. Animal Behaviour. 84: 1085-1093.
  • Cronin, K.A. & Sanchez, A. 2012. Social dynamics and cooperation: The case of nonhuman primates and its implications for human behavior. Advances in Complex Systems, 15: 1250066.
  • Cronin, K.A., van Leeuwen, J.C., Mulenga, I.C. & Bodamer, M.D. 2011. Behavioral response of a chimpanzee mother toward her dead infant. American Journal of Primatology, 73: 415-421.
  • Cronin, K.A., Schroeder, K.K.S. & Snowdon, C.T. 2010. Prosocial behaviour emerges independent of reciprocity in cottontop tamarins. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 277: 3845-3851.
  • Snowdon, C.T., Pieper, B.A., Boe, C.Y., Cronin, K.A., Kurian, A.V. & Ziegler, T.E. 2010. Within-species variation in oxytocin is related to variation in affiliative behavior. Hormones and Behavior, 58: 614-618.
  • Snowdon, C.T. & Cronin, K.A. 2009. Comparative cognition and neuroscience. In G. Berntson & J. Cacioppo (Eds.), Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Sciences. (pp. 32-55). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Cronin, K.A., Schroeder, K.K.E., Rothwell, E.S., Silk, J.B. & Snowdon, C.T. 2009. Cooperatively breeding cottontop tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) do not donate rewards to their long-term mates. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 123: 231-241.
  • Cronin, K.A. & Snowdon, C.T. 2008. The effects of unequal reward distributions on cooperative problem solving by cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). Animal Behaviour, 75: 245-257.
  • Snowdon, C.T. & Cronin, K.A. 2007. Cooperative breeders do cooperate. Behavioural Processes, 76: 138-141.
  • Cronin, K.A., Mitchell, M.A., Lonsdorf, E.V. & Thompson, S.D. 2006. One year later: An evaluation of PMC-recommended births and transfers. Zoo Biology, 25: 267-277.
  • Cronin, K.A., Kurian, A.V. & Snowdon, C.T. 2005. Cooperative problem solving in a cooperatively breeding primate. Animal Behaviour, 69: 133-142.