Behavioral Biology and Cultural Evolution

Among both diverse human populations and non-human primates, HEB research on behavioral biology and culture applies evolutionary theory to understanding distinctive aspects of behavior, cognition, and motivations using a full range of methods drawn from across the biological and social sciences, including field observation, experimental tools, biological sampling, ethnographic techniques, comparative approaches and mathematical modeling.

Major research topics include:

  • Behavioral ecology of chimpanzees
  • Evolution of human diet, including consequences of food-processing
  • Evolution of violence
  • Cognitive evolution in humans and other primates
  • Comparative cognitive development across the lifespan
  • Canids as a comparative model for primate evolution
  • Behavioral biology of mother’s milk in humans and primates
  • Parental care and infant behavior in mammals
  • Comparative development of personality & temperament
  • Evolution and development of capacities for social learning
  • Cultural evolution, including technology, kinship, religion, and marriage 
  • Evolution of social status, including prestige, dominance and leadership
  • Evolution and development of cooperation, prosocial motivations and norms
  • Human psychological diversity
  • Gene-culture coevolution