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You can download the programme here. In addition, if you register to this website you will receive an invitation to download an app (Spaces by Wix) to make your own programme on your phone.

Book of Abstracts of talks given during the conference, organized by days and sessions.

Book of Abstracts of posters presented during the Poster Session (Wednesday's eve), organized by author's name.


Malin Ah-King

The Female Turn – how evolutionary science shifted perceptions about females


This talk traces the history of how evolutionary biology transformed its understanding of females from being coy, reserved and sexually passive, to having active sexual strategies and often mating with multiple males. Why did it take so long to discover female active sexual strategies? What prevented some researchers from engaging in sexually active females, and what prompted others to develop this new knowledge?

Based on the scientific literature on sexual selection and in-depth interviews with leading researchers, pioneers and feminist scientists in the field, I analyse how conclusions drawn about sex were formed by the researchers’ scientific interests, theoretical frameworks, specific study animals, technological innovations, methodologies and feminist insights. Thereby, my analysis shows how and why certain researchers gained knowledge about active females, and also how ignorance was and continues to be produced.

Coralie Chevalier

The social gradient in time and risk preferences and its implications for access to higher education


Recent behavioral research shows that childhood adversity is associated with reduced somatic investment, accelerated reproduction, and increased risk aversion in both humans and nonhuman animals. These behavioral consequences can have profound effects on people's life trajectories and, consequently, on societal dynamics. In this talk, I will focus on the social gradient in access to higher education. Young people from the top income decile are nearly three times more likely to have access to higher education than those from the bottom decile. The gap is identical in France and the United States, despite very different university systems and incentive structures (high-tuition, high-aid vs. low-tuition, low-aid model). I will suggest that part of the gap is due to the uncertainties of higher education (uncertainties about costs, uncertainties about the likelihood of graduation, uncertainties about social inclusion), and that these uncertainties loom larger for underpriviledged youths. Finally, I will emphasize the importance of considering the behavioral variability associated with adverse environments and its implications for public policy and inequalities in higher education.



Yasuo Ihara

Mathematical models of primate coalition and their implications to human evolution


Social interaction between individuals has been a prime selective force shaping animal behaviors. As the most fundamental building block, dyadic interactions have been the subject of numerous studies on the evolution of social behavior. A new dimension that opens up by extending our view beyond dyadic interactions is coalition formation, in which two or more individuals acting jointly against a third party in an aggressive or competitive context. Coalition formation is interesting partly because it may have played a role in some animal species, including hominins, to promote the evolution of triadic awareness and the capacity of sharing intentions with others to establish the "we-mode." Three-player coalition games have been used as the minimal framework to investigate triadic interactions. I will review some of these models, focusing on their predictions about the configuration of primate coalitions and the force of social selection that may result. I will also discuss their implications about the evolution of human behavior.


David W. Lawson

The Social Learning of Gendered Conflict


Sexual conflict refers to conflict between the fitness interests of females and males, such that the optimal state for one sex imposes costs on the other. Applying this framework to human behavior has proven controversial, not least because of a churlish tendency to frame evolutionary explanation as superior to wider social science scholarship on gender. Here, I propose a more conciliatory framework of ‘gendered conflict’ that centers cultural transmission and builds upon, rather an opposes, the notion of gender as socially constructed. To this end, I present a case study of the social learning of men’s gender role ideology in an urbanizing Tanzanian community. Men are acutely aware of the costs of violating prevailing norms and characterized by a feedback loop of (i) overestimating peer support for gender inequity; and (ii) strategically performing patriarchal ideology in public interaction, even when contrary to private beliefs and behavior. Urbanization introduces novel role models deemed relatively supportive of women, but their influence is offset by elders upholding tradition. Overall conformity and prestige bias render inequitable norms resistant to change. In contrast, rising community support for women’s empowerment is primarily driven by socioecological shifts that align women’s and men’s interests and counterbalance costs of norm violation.


Maxime Derex

On the shoulders of dummies?

Humans have successfully adapted to nearly every terrestrial habitat on Earth by developing complex and diverse material technologies. These technologies are often so beautifully adapted to the problem that they intend to solve that it is commonplace to take them as evidence for sophisticated cognitive mechanisms. However, an emerging body of work has emphasized that humans’ problem-solving abilities heavily rely on a cumulative cultural process by which small improvements are gradually accumulated over many generations. According to recent accounts, this process might have played a more significant role in humans’ remarkable achievements than individual problem-solving abilities, opening the possibility that humans managed to colonize the world by standing on the shoulders of dummies. In this talk, I will present a series of experiments that aim at understanding the socio-cognitive factors that underlie humans’ abilities at solving complex problems. I will highlight how features of the population that individuals are a part of shape the gradual improvement of solutions, and I will show that this process can occur even when individuals don’t understand what they are doing. In the second part of the presentation, I will discuss the extent to which this process can account for the ecological success of the human species and will highlight some of its implications for human evolution.


Sarah Mathew

The normative underpinnings of human sociality


Normativity is fundamental to understanding how humans organize themselves into cooperative societies, and the selective pressures that have shaped human social behaviors. I will illustrate how norms, meta-norms, and  informal norm enforcement works to sustain large-scale cooperation and social order among politically decentralized pastoralists in Kenya. I will highlight how the process of competition between culturally differentiated populations has shaped the evolution of norms regulating transient interactions with strangers. I will discuss how certain features of combat-related trauma can be analyzed as a psychological adaptation to culturally-structured normative landscapes. Lastly, I will posit that norms are essential not only to maintain large-scale cooperation, but also to maintain pairwise reciprocal cooperation. 


Daniel Redhead

Social Structure and the Evolutionary Ecology of Inequality


The evolution of inequality is a perennial topic of interest across the social, behavioural and evolutionary sciences. Major advances have been made about the cultural and ecological conditions, and individual differences, that allow differences in access to social, informational and material resources to emerge and persist. Researchers have recently started to explore the ways in which the patterning of social interactions and relationships (i.e., social networks) can act alongside cultural and ecological conditions to produce or constrain different forms of inequality. However, the mechanisms through which social networks produce inequality remain unclear. I will present an interdisciplinary approach for understanding inequality, and will present some recent methodological advances in social network analysis for empirically testing this theory. To do this, I will demonstrate how cooperation networks are structured by—and create differences in—social status among the Tsimané of Lowland Bolivia, and that reputation guides choices during network-structured field experiments in four rural Colombian communities. I will then outline how certain networks provide a platform for attaining social status and acquiring material resources in a broader, comparative setting. Together, this body of work shows how cultural and ecological conditions can produce distinct network structure, and how the structure of such networks can create and maintain different levels of inequality across these different conditions.

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