Allison Lau

PhD Candidate in Animal Behavior, UC Davis

As a graduate student in the Animal Behavior Graduate Group (ABGG), I focus my research on understanding individual variation in the vocal and visual communication of pair-bonded primates, specifically coppery titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus). By using a combination of observational and experimental studies in both captive and wild environments, I strive to investigate the communication modalities that allow for the formation and maintenance of pair bonds. Along with my dissertation work, I also study communication in a variety of other systems including gibbons, tarsiers, rhesus macaques, guinea pigs, prairie voles, seahorses, and coyotes to answer basic, applied, and translational research questions.

My interest in primate behavior and socioecology began my first quarter as an undergraduate at UC Davis in a primate comparative life history course. As an undergraduate, I studied the social behavior of multiple primate species under both Dr. Lynne Isbell and Dr. Meg Crofoot. I studied activity budgets in baboons, song in gibbons, alarm calling in vervet monkeys, and foraging strategies in rhesus macaques. After I graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity in 2017, I worked under Dr. Melissa Bauman on the Conte Center’s Maternal Immune Activation model of ASD and Schizophrenia.

My ongoing research program centers on the biological and behavioral mechanisms of pair bonding and social attachments more generally.

Please reach out at for any questions or research opportunity inquires.

Twitter: @AllisonRLau

Lau, A. R., Zafar, M., Ahmad, A. H., & Clink, D. J. (2022). Investigating temporal coordination in the duet contributions of a pair-living small ape. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 76(7), 1-11.

Arias del Razo, R., de Lourdes Velasco Vazquez, M., Turcanu, P., Legrand, M., Lau, A. R., Weinstein, T. A. R., Goetze, L. R., & Bales, K. L. (2022). Effects of chronic and acute intranasal oxytocin treat- ments on temporary social separation in adult titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus). Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 16.

Mederos, S. L., Duarte, R. C., Dennis, M., Mastoras, M., Settles, M., Lau, A. R., Scott, A., Woodward, K., Johnson, C., Seelke, A. M. H., & Bales, K. L. (2022). Effects of pairing on color change and central gene expression in lined seahorses. Genes, Brain and Behavior. e12812.

Clink, D. J., Lau, A. R., Kanthaswamy, S., & Bales, K. L. (2021). Moderate evidence for heritability in the duet contributions of a South American primate. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 35(1), 51-63.

Karaskiewicz, C. L., Witczak, L. R., Lau, A. R., Dufek, M. E., & Bales, K. L. (2021). Parenting costs time: Changes in pair bond maintenance across pregnancy and infant rearing in a monogamous primate (Plecturocebus cupreus). New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. 2021(180), 21-42.

Clink, D. J., Zafar, M., Ahmad, A. H., & Lau, A. R. (2021). Limited evidence for individual signatures or site-level patterns of variation in male Northern gray gibbon (Hylobates funereus) duet codas. International Journal of Primatology. 42(6), 896-914.

Witczak, L. R., Arias del Razo, R., Baxter, A., Conley, A. J., Cotterman, R., Dufek, M., Goetze, L. R., Lau, A. R., Mendoza, S. P., Savidge, L. E., & Bales, K. L. (2021). Relationships between cortisol and urinary androgens in female titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus). General and Comparative Endocrinology. 314, 113927.

Bales, K. L., Ardekani, C. S., Baxter, A., Karaskiewicz, C. L., Kuske, J. X., Lau, A. R., Savidge, L. E., Sayler, K. R., & Witczak, L. R. (2021). What is a pair bond? Hormones and Behavior. 136, 105062.

Safa, A.+, Lau, A. R.+, Aten, S.+, Schilling, K., Bales, K. L., Miller, V., Fitzgerald, J., Chen, M., Hill, K., Dzwigalski, K., Obrietan, K., Phelps, M. A., Sadee, W., and Oberdick, J. (2021). Pharmacological prevention of neonatal opioid withdrawal in a pregnant guinea pig model. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 11, 613328.

Lau, A. R., Grote, M. N., Dufek, M. E., Franzetti, T. J., Bales, K. L., & Isbell, L. A. (2021). Titi monkey neophobia and visual abilities allow for fast responses to novel stimuli. Scientific Reports. 11(1), 1-9.

Clink, D. J. & Lau, A. R.. (2020). Adherence to Menzerath’s Law is the exception (not the rule) in three duetting primate species. Biology Letters. 7(11), 201557.

Ryan, A. M., Murai, T., Lau, A. R., Hogrefe, C. E., McAllister, K., Carter, C. S., & Bauman, M. D. (2020). New approaches to quantify social development in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta): Integrating eye tracking with traditional assessments of social behavior. Developmental Psychobiology. 62(7), 950-962.

Lau, A. R., Clink, D. J., & Bales, K. L. (2020). Individuality in the vocalizations of adult and infant coppery titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus). American Journal of Primatology. 82(6), e23134.

Clink, D. J., Lau, A.R., & Bales, K. L. (2019). Pulse rate and duration of pulse elements in titi monkey duets reflect caller age and pair-bond length. Behaviour. 1: 1-24.

Ryan, A. M.+, Freeman, S. M.+, Murai, T.+, Lau, A. R., Palumbo, M. C., Hogrefe, C. E., Bales, K. L., & Bauman, M. D. (2019). Non-invasive eye tracking methods for New World and Old World monkeys. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 39.

Lau, A. R., Clink, D. J., Crofoot, M. C., & Marshall, A. J. (2018). Evidence for high variability in temporal features of male Bornean gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) codas. International Journal of Primatology. 39: 670-684.