Toni E. Ziegler

Senior Scientist


Toni Ziegler Wisconsin National Primate Research Center

Contact Information:

Curriculum Vitae:

Toni Ziegler's Curriculum Vitae

Other web pages:

Aligned research focus:

Neuroendocrine mechanisms promoting positive social bonding

Organ system/disease focus:

Neuroendocrine interactions in the pituitary, hypothalamus and other areas of the social brain

Research description:

Fathers who show positive involvement in their children have the potential to improve the physical and mental health of their child. The social attachment processes between a male, his mate and offspring converge to form the family system. My goal is to determine what promotes strong paternal-infant bonding. The common marmoset monkey, Callithrix jacchus, provides a model of social bonding in primates since its members are socially monogamous and cooperative breeders, as are humans. My lab has found pre-birth and post-birth changes in fathers due to olfactory signals from infants as well as from the expectant mate. Increased weight gain in expectant fathers and increased maternal-like hormones work to promote positive care of infants. Sensory cues from infants reinforce the positive infant care in males. The chemical/olfactory communication in marmosets provides an important mechanism for maintaining the bonds between individuals with their family groups. Experience with offspring has a profound effect on behavior and hormonal changes in male marmosets. Additional areas of study include social bonding in humans and other nonhuman primate species.

Selected references:

Ziegler TE, Peterson LJ, Sosa ME, Barnard AM. 2011. Differential endocrine responses to infant odors in common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) fathers. Hormones & Behavior . 59: 265-270 PMID: 21145893

Snowdon, C.T., Pieper, B.A., Boe, C.Y., Cronin, K.A., Kurian, A.V., Ziegler, T.E. 2010. Variation in oxytocin is related to variation in affiliative behavior in monogamous pairbonded tamarins. Hormones & Behavior 58:614-618. PMCID: PMC2933949

Seltzer, L,J., Ziegler, T.E., Pollak, S.D. 2010. Social vocalizations can release oxytocin in humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 277: 2661-2666. PMID 20462908