Liza R. Moscovice

Postdoctoral Fellow

Emory Anthropology

Education

  • BA, Neuroscience, Oberlin College
  • PhD, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Biography

Liza R. Moscovice is a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Adrian Jaeggi in the Anthropology Department at Emory. Her research interests are in the biological bases of social relationships and cooperation. Her methods have integrated observational and experimental approaches with non-invasive genetic and hormonal sampling to characterize social relationships across a broad range of primate species and social systems. She received her PhD in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to her current position, she was based at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where she initiated a long-term study of the behavioral endocrinology of social relationships among wild female bonobos. She also has prior teaching experience as a visiting assistant professor at Binghamton University.

Research

Currently Liza Moscovice is investigating the form and function of cooperative social relationships among non-kin in bonobos (Pan paniscus), a species that shares a recent evolutionary history and similarities in social structure with humans. For this project, she collects corresponding behavioral data and non-invasive hormone samples under varied social contexts in captive and field settings. Her research aims are to: 1) Characterize the strength and stability of different types of female social relationships, 2) Test between different hypotheses to explain the emergence of cooperation among unrelated females, 3) Identify social and ecological benefits of peaceful inter-group encounters for female bonobos and 4) Characterize physiological responses to affiliation and cooperation with in-group and out-group members. This research is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Barbara Fruth and Dr. Gottfried Hohmann, co-directors of the LuiKotale field site, Democratic Republic of Congo, and with Dr. Adrian Jaeggi at Emory University. Research is supported by Emory University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and by grants from the Leakey Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation.