Jill M. Mateo


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My research program focuses on the ontogeny and plasticity of adaptive behaviors. Because adaptations are specific to the environments in which they were selected, it follows that the development of these phenotypes is also linked to the specific environments, whether social, environmental or maturational, that organisms normally encounter. In my research I use both proximate and ultimate levels of analysis to explain the series of behaviors that developing animals exhibit.

I study the mechanisms of two adaptive behaviors: recognition of kin and anti-predator strategies. Although the functional significance of these behaviors is clear, how they develop in young animals remains largely unknown for most species. By identifying the physiological and social factors influencing the mechanisms and expression of these behaviors at each stage of development, one can better explain the functions of the behaviors, which are likely to change during ontogeny as an organism's needs and abilities change.

I study kin recognition in small mammals, such as young Belding's ground squirrels, as well as how stress (e.g. predators) influences learning of important survival behaviors by these animals. My research includes investigations of kin recognition in humans across development, and how this influences social preferences. My lab also studies how hormones and neuropeptides affect human cognition and social interactions.

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Associate Professor,
  Department of Comparative Human Development

  Committee on Evolutionary Biology

  GAANN - Evolutionary Environmental Biology

  Center for Health and the Social Sciences

  Education and Society Minor in the Social Sciences

  The College

305A Rosenwald
1126 East 59th Street                        jmateo(at)uchicago.edu
University of Chicago                        
Chicago, IL 60637