Evolution & Human Behavior in the Low Countries - Prosocial Behavior, Culture and Media 2014 Event


In 2013, members of the 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. It was a great opportunity to meet new colleagues within this interdisciplinary field, and we have decided to turn this into an annual event.


Morning Session – Evolution and Prosocial behaviour

  • 09:00 – 09:30 – Welcome, coffee and registration
  • 9:30 – 9:50 – Blancke, S. & Tybur, J. What affects the affect heuristic? An evolutionarily informed proposal.
  • 9:50 – 10:10 – Ingram, G. From hitting to tattling to gossip: An evolutionary rationale for the development of indirect aggression.
  • 10:10 – 10:30 – Seghers, E. & De Smet, D. Cooperation, group identity and the evolution of visual arts.
  • 10:30 – 11:00 – Coffee Break
  • 11:00 – 11:20 – Kret, M. Pupil synchronization and trust.
  • 11:20 – 11:40 – Grabo, A. & van Vugt, M. Charismatic leadership and prosociality
  • 11:45-12:30 –  Introduction talks for future collaboration
    12:30 – 14u15 – Poster Session (lunch will be provided)

Afternoon Session – Evolution, Culture and Media

  • 14:15 – 14:35 – Manesi, Z., Van Lange, P. & Pollet, T. The butterfly effect: the role of eyespots for aesthetics and conservation attitudes
  • 14:35 – 14:55 – Vincke, E. Dark consumption runs deep. Youngsters’ unhealthy behaviour as a short-term mating strategy        
  • 14:55 – 15:15 – Verpooten, J. & Dewitte, S. Content or prestige bias? Potential proximate and ultimate causes of art appreciation
  • 15:15 – 15:35 – Tybur, J. Meat in the media: examining effects of different information on perceptions of meat
  • 15:35 – 16:15 – Coffee Break
  • 16:15 – 17:45 – Plenary – Prof. dr. Willem Frankenhuis
  • 19:00 – 20:00 – Reception at Antwerp’s Town Hall (city centre)
  • 20:30 - ??        - Dinner at Mie Katoen (city centre) 

Dinner is offered to all presenters. Other attendees are welcome (at their own expenses) to join, but must notify us at least one week in advance. 

Introduction Talks
The aim of this workshop is also to open up opportunities for future collaborations. Therefore we shall offer the opportunity to all attendees (including those who are not presenting) to briefly introduce themselves before the lunch break. Those who are interested in such a brief presentation are asked to prepare a 2-minute introduction of a specific research area/project  for which collaboration with other partners/countries is sought. This may be accompanied by 1 or 2 slides (please bring these on a USB-stick).

Professor dr. Willem Frankenhuis (Department of Developmental Psychology, Behavioural Science Institute (BSI), Radboud University Nijmegen) will give a lecture titled 'Natural selection shapes developmental mechanisms, which adapt individuals to local environmental conditions?'

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, I will discuss theory and data bearing on these topics.  I will focus 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, I will present 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) appear 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 do not appear to show this content effect.  However, both students and harsh-adapted individuals appear 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.


If you have any questions, contact Charlotte De Backer, who is organizing this year’s event.