In 2014, European Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA) and the Human Evolution and Behavior Network (HEBEN) organized a post-conference to the EHBEA conference on evolution and human behavior research in Belgium and the Netherlands, entiteled the 'Evolution & Human Behavior in the Low Countries - Prosocial Behavior, Culture and Media 2014 Event'. It was a great opportunity to meet new colleagues within this interdisciplinary field. 

Day 1: presentations

Evolution and Prosocial behaviour

  • What affects the affect heuristic? An evolutionarily informed proposal. By Blancke, S. & Tybur, J. 
  • From hitting to tattling to gossip: An evolutionary rationale for the development of indirect aggression. by Ingram, G.
  • Cooperation, group identity and the evolution of visual arts. By Seghers, E. & De Smet, D. 
  • Pupil synchronization and trust. By Kret, M.
  • Charismatic leadership and prosociality. By Grabo, A. & van Vugt, M. 
  • Introduction talks for future collaboration

Day 2: presentations

Evolution, Culture and Media

  • The butterfly effect: the role of eyespots for aesthetics and conservation attitudes. By Manesi, Z., Van Lange, P. & Pollet, T. 
  • Dark consumption runs deep. Youngsters’ unhealthy behaviour as a short-term mating strategy. By Vincke, E.       
  • Content or prestige bias? Potential proximate and ultimate causes of art appreciation. By Verpooten, J. & Dewitte, S. 
  • Meat in the media: examining effects of different information on perceptions of meat. By Tybur, J. 
  • Plenary session: 'Natural selection shapes developmental mechanisms, which adapt individuals to local environmental conditions?' by Prof. dr. Willem Frankenhuis

Additional information about plenary session: Fused together, evolutionary and developmental science can generate predictions about: (1) what traits to expect at different life stages; (2) what phenotypic variation to expect depending on ecology; (3) what patterns of ontogenetic change to expect depending on ecology. In this talk, Prof. dr. Willem Frankenhuis discussed theory and data bearing on these topics.  He focused on recent models showing that natural selection can result in mechanisms that produce sensitive periods in development.  Such models may illuminate the roles of chronological age and previous life experiences in shaping plasticity across the human life span.  In addition, he presented recent data suggesting that developmental systems fine-tune human reasoning abilities to contents that are locally important.  Specifically, individuals from harsh conditions (e.g., violent neighborhoods) appeared more skilled at memorizing social dominance relations (e.g., Jim dominates John) than chronological age relations (e.g., Jim is older than John); in contrast, students did not appear to show this content effect.  However, both students and harsh-adapted individuals appeared more skilled at reasoning about social dominance relations than about chronological age relations.  Demonstrations of cognitive adaptation to harsh environments have implications for policy, education, and interventions.