Gitanjali Gnanadesikan

About Gitanjali Gnanadesikan

I am an evolutionary biologist and comparative psychologist who is interested in social behavior and cognition. I work with Evan MacLean in the Arizona Canine Cognition Center studying the development and evolution of behavior and cognition in dogs and wolves.

Selected Publications

Gnanadesikan, Gitanjali E., Elizabeth A. D. Hammock, Stacey R. Tecot, C. Sue Carter & Evan L. MacLean (2021). Specificity of Plasma Oxytocin Immunoassays: A Comparison of Commercial Assays and Sample Preparation Techniques Using Oxytocin Knockout and Wildtype Mice. Psychoneuroendocrinologydoi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2021.105368

Salomons, Hannah, Kyle Smith, Megan Callahan-Beckel, Margaret Callahan, Kerinne Levy, Brenda S. Kennedy, Emily Bray, Gitanjali E. Gnanadesikan, Daniel J. Horschler, Margaret Gruen, Jingzhi Tan, Philip White, Bridgett M. vonHoldt, Evan MacLean & Brian Hare (2021). Cooperative communication with humans evolved to emerge early in dogs. Current Biology, 31(14), 3137-3144.e11. doi: 10.1101/2021.01.12.425620

Bray, Emily E., Gitanjali E. Gnanadesikan, Daniel J. Horschler, Kerinne M. Levy, Brenda S. Kennedy, Tom R. Famula \& Evan L. MacLean (2021). Early-emerging and highly-heritable sensitivity to human communication in dogs. Current Biology, 31(14), 3132-3136.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.04.055

Bray, Emily E., Margaret E. Gruen, Gitanjali E. Gnanadesikan, Daniel J. Horschler, Kerinne M. Levy, Brenda S. Kennedy, Brian A. Hare & Evan L. MacLean (2021). Dog Cognitive Development: A Longitudinal Study across the First 2 Years of Life. Animal Cognition, 24, 311-328. doi: 10.1007/s10071-020-01443-7.

Gnanadesikan, Gitanjali E., Brian Hare, Noah Snyder-Mackler, Josep Call, Julianne Kaminski, Adam Miklosi & Evan MacLean (2020). Breed differences in dog cognition associated with brain-expressed genes and neurological functions. Integrative and Comparative Biology. doi: 10.1093/icb/icaa112
Bray, Emily E., Margaret E. Gruen, Gitanjali E. Gnanadesikan, Daniel J. Horschler, Kerinne M. Levy, Brenda S. Kennedy, Brian A. Hare & Evan L. MacLean (2020). Cognitive characteristics of 8-to-10-week-old assistance dog puppies. Animal Behaviour. 166, 193-206. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2020.05.019.
Gnanadesikan, Gitanjali E., Brian Hare, Noah Snyder-Mackler & Evan L. MacLean (2020). Estimating the Heritability of Cognitive Traits Across Dog Breeds Reveals Highly Heritable Inhibitory Control and Communication Factors. Animal Cognitiondoi: 10.1007/s10071-020-01400-4

Courses Taught

ANTH 170C2 - Animal Minds (TA)

Areas of Study

Cognitive evolution, sociality, animal behavior. Genetics, epigenetics, endocrinology.

Research Interests

My research focuses on cognitive evolution and social behavior, especially in domesticated species. I am particularly interested in designing studies that link biological mechanisms--spanning genetics, epigenetics, and endocrinology--with individual differences in cognitive and behavioral phenotypes.

Gitanjali Gnanadesikan's picture


M.A. Anthropology - University of Arizona - 2019

A.B. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - Princeton University - 2014