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
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.
unique visitors since 23 November 2008
Department of Comparative Human Development
Institute for Mind and Biology
Committee on Evolutionary Biology
Animal Behavior Research Group
Center for Health and the Social Sciences
1126 East 59th Street 327 Institute for Mind and Biology
University of Chicago 940 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637 Chicago, IL 60637