Behavioral and Brain Sciences Labs - Cultural Evolution and Optimal Experience

Human evolving to computer use

Director: Dr. Leonard L. Martin

The Cultural Evolution and Optimal Experience lab explores the mismatch between basic human nature and modern culture. Our basic nature was formed, in part, during the Paleolithic era (i.e., 200,000 years ago) when our ancestors lived in small, nomadic, hunter-gatherer bands. This means that people may, at their core, be predisposed to live in small, egalitarian groups that practice a high level of sharing, and that live in relatively small temporal windows. That is not the way people live now, though. Human cultures started changing when people began to settle down in large-scale, permanent communities -- and things have changed dramatically and rapidly since then. Most of us now live in large, competitive, hierarchically-organized communities in which we exert immediate effort for delayed, uncertain payoffs (e.g., go to school 20 years in hopes of a job). Thus, modern cultures routinely ask people to engage in behavior for which they may not be biologically well-suited. Our lab studies the negative consequences of this biology-culture mismatch, as well as ways for people to thrive in the modern world while maintaining harmony with their basic human nature.


Amanda Rodrigue Awarded International Research Fellowship

The UGA Psychology Department would like to extend a big congratulations to graduate student Amanda Rodrigue, who was awarded the UGA Franklin College-University of Liverpool Doctoral Student Short-Term International Research Fellowship. Amanda traveled to the University of Liverpool earlier this month for a week give several talks about her research.  Way to go, Amanda!

Charter Lecture

UGA Chapel

We are delighted to host Professor Edward J. Larson as our 2015 Charter Lecturer. Dr. Larson will be speaking on “George Washington and America’s Second Revolution” on Thursday, April 23 at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel.

Following Dr. Larson’s remarks, Dean Stefanie Lindquist will moderate a Q&A session between Dr. Larson and a panel of talented UGA Honors students that will probe the complexities of Washington’s life. We look forward to welcoming Ed Larson back to campus for the Charter Lecture, and I ask that you mark your calendars for this important University event.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Larson, University Professor and Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a former UGA faculty member. His most recent book, The Return of George Washington, 1783-1789, reached The New York Times best sellers list this spring.

OIBR Research Talk

Tate Center, Room 137

Please join us for talk on "The Misperception of College Drinking: Pluralistic Ignorance and Campus Life" presented by Dr. William Sonnenstuhl.

Speaker Bio:

William J. Sonnenstuhl, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is also Associate Director of the Industrial and Labor Relations School's R. Brinkley Smithers Institute for Alcohol-Related Workplace Studies. Dr. Sonnenstuhl will be presenting the results of a decade-long study at Cornell University to create a constructive and realistic campus drinking environment. 

Click here for the flyer and more details.