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Evolution, Mind, and Behavior Conference at UCSB

Spring Quarter 2005


Joint UCLA-UCSB Conferences held quarterly by

UCSB’s Evolution, Mind, and Behavior Program (EMB)  and

UCLA’s Human Nature and Society Program (HNAS)


Saturday 7 May 2005

Location: Flying A Studio, University Center (UCEN), UCSB

(see directions below)


10:00  AM  Breakfast buffet opens

10:30  AM  First talk: John Endler, Testing hypotheses about sexual selection in Australian Bowerbirds using principles of visual physiology and sensory ecology

12:00  PM  Lunch (UCEN, no host)

  1:30  PM  Second talk:  Gary Charness, Experimental economics and social behavior.

  3:00  PM  Coffee break

  3:30  PM  Third talk:  Rose McDermott, Biological factors in a simulated crisis game.

  5:30  PM Adjourn for no-host dinner, Ming Dynasty (see below)




John Endler   UCSB Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology  email

Testing hypotheses about sexual selection in Australian Bowerbirds using principles of visual physiology and sensory ecology



Abstract. Animals see very differently than we do, and birds have much better color vision than humans. In order to address any questions about color in studies of sexual selection, especially when we cannot see all of the details ourselves, we need to make use of what is known about visual processing and make quantitative predictions about color using these mechanisms. Luckily the basic principles of visual processing are the same in all vertebrates, and many of them even work in invertebrates. This forces us to look at color more objectively than just using human-based color names. The same calculations allow explicit definitions and tests about elaboration and innovation in sexually selected traits that would be impossible without making use of visual principles. I will discuss these ideas and illustrate them using my work on Australian Bowerbirds, species in which males build and decorate their bowers (used only in attracting females) with colored objects.


Lunch, UCEN



Gary Charness   UCSB Department of Economics email

Experimental economics and social behavior.


Abstract. For relevant papers, see Promises and Partnerships and Individual behavior and group membership



Blood sugar break




Rose McDermott    UCSB Political Science  email

Biological Factors in a Simulated Crisis Game


Abstract. Our psychological mechanisms evolved for the small-scale and now vanished world of ancestral hunter-gatherers, but how does it affect our thinking about modern political crises? To investigate this question, I conducted a series of experiments at Harvard between 2002-2003, looking at various biological factors in the context of a simulated crisis game. In this game, subjects role-played leaders in conflict over some diamond mines on disputed territories. In several rounds of play, each subject made decisions about how many weapons to buy or eliminate, took an action that included a variety of options from doing nothing to going to war, sent and received messages from another subject/opponent and made assessments about their own and their adversary's levels of competitiveness, hostility, trustworthiness, aggressiveness, intelligence and skill. We had subjects
play the game in both same-sex and mixed-sex dyads. At the outset of the experiments, we xeroxed hands to examine 2D:4D ratios, administered several different personality inventories, and obtained various demographic information. During the course of the game, we collected saliva samples
from subjects at three specific intervals; these samples were then analyzed for levels of testosterone and cortisol. I will report the findings from this study.



Self-funded dinner at Ming Dynasty

(Ming Dynasty 805-968-1308, 290 Storke Road, at the intersection of Storke and Hollister in Goleta. In the unlikely event you are coming from 101, take Storke exit North of UCSB).


Cosponsored by the UCSB Center for Evolutionary Psychology and the UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution and Culture. This event is organized as a working seminar for faculty and graduate students. For their generous support of this conference, we thank the UCSB Division of Math, Life, and Physical Sciences, the Division of Social Sciences, and the College of Letters and Sciences. For more information, please contact Leda Cosmides or John Tooby or call 805-893-8720.


UCLA and UCSB will hold a  conference once a quarter, alternating between the two campuses.


Map of the UCSB campus (University Center is at coordinate F3)

There may be car pools coming from UCLA; ask Alan Fiske and Clark Barrett.



Take 101 North toward Santa Barbara. There is a double exit (Patterson; then 217 UCSB / Airport). Take the 217 UCSB exit. Follow the signs to campus (when road forks, take the left fork)

When you come into UCSB from 217, there is a UCSB gate & kiosk. Stop there to get a campus map. Turn left onto Lagoon Road (ocean on your left), then RIGHT onto Ucen road, and park in one of the lots.



UCSB will honor parking stickers issued by UCLA, as long as these are prominently displayed on the lower left side of your windshield. If you do not have a UCLA sticker, please note that parking has changed at UCSB.  You cannot park in places marked "Enforced 24 hours".  Other spaces are numbered and you need to get a ticket, which can be bought from a machine in the parking lot. The closest lot is #3 (but this has a number of illegal spaces, so be careful). Other close lots are #7, 9, and 4.  See map for lot location.