Katherine A. Cronin, Ph.D.

Animal Care & Horticulture
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 is an animal welfare scientist and primatologist who 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. She has a background in primatology and has since expanded her research to focus on a broader range of species, including those that have been historically under-studied. Her research integrates the study of behavioral and emotional changes that occur in animals and is geared toward practical, actionable insights. She oversees the Animal Welfare Science Program.

Previously, Katie was a staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute in the Netherlands and a faculty member of the University of Chicago’s Committee on Evolutionary Biology. She joined the scientific staff at Lincoln Park Zoo in 2014 to work alongside practical scientists dedicated to improving our understanding of animals and the welfare of animals in human care.


  • Alba, A. C., Ferrie, G. M., Schook, M. W., Leahy, M., & Cronin, K. A. (2023). Gender and age, but not visual context, impact wildlife attitudes and perceptions of animals in zoos. Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens, 4(1), 118–131. https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg4010013  
  • Englund, M. D., & Cronin, K. A. (2023). Choice, control, and animal welfare: definitions and essential inquiries to advance animal welfare science. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 10. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2023.1250251
  • Freund, C. A., Cronin, K. A., Huang, M., Robinson, N. J., Yoo, B., & DiGiorgio, A. L. (In Press). Effects of captions on viewers’ perceptions of images depicting human-primate interaction. Conservation Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.14199
  • O’Brien, S. L., & Cronin, K. A. (2023). Doing better for understudied species: Evaluation and improvement of a species-general animal welfare assessment tool for zoos. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 264, 105965. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2023.105965
  • Cairo-Evans, A., Wierzal, N.K., Wark, J.D., & Cronin, K.A. (2022). Do zoo-housed primates retreat from crowds? A simple study of five primate species. American Journal of Primatology.
  • Cronin, K.A., Leahy, M., Ross, S.R., Schook, M.W., Ferrie, G., & Alba, A. (2022). Younger generations are more interested than older generations in having non-domesticated animals as pets. PLOS One, 17(1), e0262208.
  • Ramont, M., Leahy, M., & Cronin, K.A. (2021). The welfare of domestic goats (Capra hircus) in a zoo-based animal-visitor interaction program. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 8(4), 493-506.
  • Doelling, C.R., Cronin, K.A., Ross, S. R., & Hopper, L.M. (2021). The relationship between personality, season, and wounding receipt in zoo‐housed Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata): A multi‐institutional study. American Journal of Primatology, 83(12), e23332.
  • Cronin, K.A. (2021). Working to supply the demand: Recent advances in the science of zoo animal welfare (Editorial). Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens, 2(3), 349-350.
  • Wark, J.D., Wierzal, N.K., & Cronin, K.A. (2021). Gaps in live inter-observer reliability testing of animal behavior: A retrospective analysis and path forward. Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens, 2(2), 207-221.
  • DeTroy, S.E., van Leeuwen, E.J.C., Ross, C.T., Cronin, K.A., Haun, D.B.M. (2021). Cofeeding tolerance in chimpanzees depends on group composition: A longitudinal study across four communities. iScience, 24(5), 102175.
  • Ramont, M., Leahy, M., & Cronin, K.A. (2021). Domestic animal welfare at the zoo: The impact of an animal visitor interaction program on chickens. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 8(1), 1-14.
  • Woody, S.M., Santymire, R.M. & Cronin, K.A. (2021). Posture as a non-invasive indicator of arousal in American toads (Anaxyrus americanus). Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens. 2(1), 1-9.
  • Cronin, K.A. & Hopper, L.M. (2020). Do monkeys care what’s fair? Frontiers for Young Minds, 8, 550299.
  • Cronin, K.A. & Ross, S.R. (2020). When is “natural” better? The welfare implications of limiting reproduction in captive chimpanzees. In L.M. Hopper & S.R. Ross (Eds.), Chimpanzees in Context, University of Chicago Press, 509-523.
  • Binding, S., Farmer, H., Krusin, L., & Cronin, K.A. (2020). The status of welfare research in zoos and aquariums: Where are we, where to next? Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 8(3), 166-174.
  • Wark, J.D., Wierzal, N.K., & Cronin, K.A. (2020). Mapping shade availability and use in zoo environments: A tool for evaluating thermal comfort. Animals, 10(7), 1189.
  • Fiore, A. M., Cronin, K. A., Ross, S. R., & Hopper, L. M. (2020). Food cleaning by Japanese macaques: Innate, innovative or cultural? Folia Primatologica, 91(4), 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, 39(3), 147-155. 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(2), 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., 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.
  • Van 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(5), 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(45), 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). Springer Cham. 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). London: Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • 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(12), 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: Basic concepts, methods, neural substrate, and behavior (pp. 915-929). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
  • 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(9), 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, K.A., Acheson, D.J., Rojas, P.H., and Sanchez, A. (2015). Hierarchy is detrimental for human cooperation. Scientific Reports, 5. 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(11), e80945.
  • Nettle, D., Cronin, K.A., & Bateson, M. (2013). Responses of chimpanzees to cues of conspecific observation. Animal Behaviour, 86(3), 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(3), 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. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 279(1746), 4362-4367.
  • Cronin, K.A. (2012). Prosocial behaviour in animals: the influence of social relationships, communication and rewards. Animal Behaviour. 84(5), 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(5), 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(1701), 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(4), 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(3), 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(1), 245-257.
  • Snowdon, C.T. & Cronin, K.A. (2007). Cooperative breeders do cooperate. Behavioural Processes, 76(2), 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(4), 267-277.
  • Cronin, K.A., Kurian, A.V. & Snowdon, C.T. (2005). Cooperative problem solving in a cooperatively breeding primate. Animal Behaviour, 69(1), 133-142.
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