College of Letters & Science | Psychology
Hometown: Greendale, WI
Allyson Bennett’s research centers on how the interplay between early environments, experiences, and genes contribute to individual variation in psychological and physical health across the lifespan. A longitudinal and multidisciplinary research approach with nonhuman primates provides a controlled experimental avenue for better understanding the long-term consequences of early experiences and environments, as well as areas of plasticity and potential for recovery. A central question in her work is how aspects of physical and social environments affect biobehavioral development. Thus, part of her research takes a comparative approach to evaluate specific features of the environments and experiences of laboratory animals. In turn, the work provides empirical evidence to inform evolving standards for animal welfare, particularly those that also affect scientific outcomes. The quality and progress of both science and animal welfare depend on policies and practices that are evidence-based. Her expertise in psychological science, coupled with a commitment to science education allows her to contribute to public dialogue and collaboration with diverse stakeholders in evolving standards for humane and responsible research to promote health for people and nonhuman animals.