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Department of Psychology
University of New Mexico


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Research Interests

In my work I explore a wide range of topics at the intersection of human behavior, evolution, and development. My approach is interdisciplinary and driven by the quest for theoretical synthesis. Over the years I have developed some broad, integrative models: the Adaptive Calibration Model (ACM) of individual differences in stress responsivity (with Bruce Ellis and Birdie Shirtcliff); an evolutionary-developmental model of sex differences in attachment styles; a general motivational architecture (GAM) for human and animal personality; and a unifying life history framework for evolutionary psychopathology (for an overview, you can watch this video, read this brief introduction, or check out this sample chapter from my book).

My main research themes are the evolution of personality, motivation, and self-regulation, with a special focus on attachment styles; the evolutionary study of psychopathology; the evolution and measurement of sex differences in personality and behavior; the function and developmental mechanisms of middle childhood; the role of stress in development; and the theory of developmental plasticity and differential susceptibility. More recently, I have started pursuing a new line of research in evolutionary immunology. Some of my work has a focus on statistics and methodology.

On top of these core interests, I often make one-off contributions on particular issues that fascinate me. Some examples are: a conflict analysis of fetal programming by maternal stress; a model of the conditions for visual experience before birth; a canalization hypothesis on the early development of mirror neurons; the first biologically informed analysis of the baffling phenomenon of cryptic pregnancy; and a conceptual synthesis of functional trade-offs in cognition.

For these and more topics, visit my publications page!


In 2016 I was granted the Early Career Award of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES).