Human Behavioral Ecology
at the
University of California, Santa Barbara
  Dr. Michael Gurven, Dept. of Anthropology, Director

What is human behavioral ecology? Human behavioral ecology (HBE) applies the principles of evolutionary theory and optimization to the study of human behavioral and cultural diversity. Behavioral ecology examines the adaptive design of traits, behaviors, and life histories in an ecological context. Behavioral ecology overlaps with evolutionary psychology, human or cultural ecology, biodemography and decision theory. One aim of modern human behavioural ecology is to determine how ecological and social factors influence and shape behavioral flexibility within and between populations. Among other things, HBE attempts to explain variation in behavior as adaptive solutions to the competing life-history demands of growth, development, reproduction, parental care, and mate acquisition.

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Current research foci of group:

social and economic aspects of cooperation / testing models of human longevity / social learning of subsistence and social strategies / human foraging behavior / evolution of human growth and ecological variation / social and human capital in small-scale societies / biodemography and life history / fertility transitions and decision-making / social status, networks, and leadership / mate guarding and behavioral implications of sexual proprietariness /evolutionary medicine / evolution of immune function / intergenerational transfers


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