Noah Snyder-Mackler

Doctoral Candidate
Department of Psychology
University of Pennsylvania

Institute for Research in Cognitive Science
University of Pennsylvania
3401 Walnut, Suite 400A
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228
email:   snydern (at)

2008   M.A.   Psychology, Animal Behavior, University of Pennsylvania
2007   B.A.   Psychology, University of Pennsylvania




GELADAS (Theropithecus gelada)
In collaboration with the University of Michigan Gelada Research Project (UMGRP), I study the socio-genetic structure of geladas. My research incorporates both laboratory and field techniques. In collaboration with Dr. Susan Alberts at Duke University I use non-invasive genetic sampling techniques to determine relatedness between individuals and groups. Using this two-pronged approach I can examine the interactions between genetics, relatedness, and social behaviors in a complex society.


For my MA thesis I studied the interaction between sociality and song development in the brown-headed cowbird. Male cowbirds produce many different song types. I researched how song functions in different social contexts (i.e. male-female, male-male). I also studied how the social environment affects the development of all aspects of song (song potency, repertoire size), and the hormonal correlates, in juvenile cowbirds.



  • Snyder-Mackler, N, Alberts, SC & Bergman TJ – The effect of relatedness on the evolution of the multi-level society of geladas (Theropithecus gelada). in prep

  • Le Roux, A, Snyder-Mackler, N, Roberts, EK, Beehner, JC & Bergman TJ – Sneaky Simian Sex: Evidence for tactical concealment in a wild primate. in prep

  • Snyder-Mackler, N, Alberts, SC & Bergman TJ – Limited kin preference for cooperation in a species with high within-group relatedness. in prep

  • Snyder-Mackler N, Alberts SC & Bergman TJ. Concessions of an alpha male: Cooperative reproductive transactions in a polygynous primate. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences under revision

  • Pappano DJ*, Snyder-Mackler N*, Bergman TJ & Beehner JC (2011). Social predators in a multi-level primate society. Animal Behaviour under review

  • Snyder-Mackler N, Beehner JC & Bergman TJ (2011). Defining Higher Levels in the Multilevel Societies of Geladas (Theropithecus gelada) International J. Primatology in press. doi: 10.1007/s10764-012-9584-5

  • White DJ, Gersick AS & Snyder-Mackler N “Social networks and the development of social skills in cowbirds.” – Phil. Transactions B- accepted

  • Gersick AS, Snyder-Mackler N, White DJ (2011). Ontogeny of social skills: social complexity improves mating and competitive strategies in male brown-headed cowbirds. Animal Behaviour in press. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.02.005

  • Snyder-Mackler N & White DJ (2011). The developmental ecology of acoustic sensitivities: reactions to song playbacks by male cowbirds change across their first year of life. Behaviour, 148:7, 747-764. doi: 10.1163/000579511X575951

  • White DJ, Gersick AS, Freed-Brown SG & Snyder-Mackler N (2010). The ontogeny of social skills: experimental increases in social complexity enhance reproductive success in adult cowbirds. Animal Behaviour , 79:2, 385-390. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.11.014

* co-first authors

New York Times Scientist at Work blog
APA gradPSYCH: Research Roundup

Advisors & Collaborators
Drs. Robert Seyfarth & Dorothy Cheney - University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Thore Bergman - University of Michigan
Dr. David White - University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Susan Alberts - Duke University
Dr. Eduardo Fernandez-Duque - University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Jacinta Beehner - University of Michigan