I am an evolutionary anthropologist whose principal focus is contemporary humans.
Combining anthropological, psychological, and biological theories and methods, I approach a variety of aspects of human behavior, experience, and health from an integrative perspective in which humans are viewed as both the products of complex evolutionary processes and the possessors of acquired cultural idea systems and behavioral patterns.
When colleagues are being polite, they refer to my research interests as “eclectic”. Labels applied to my work include evolutionary psychology, biological anthropology, and evolutionary medicine.
My research, itself an ever-evolving process, currently focuses on a number of domains, including: prosociality and cooperation; conflict, aggression, and risk-taking; emotions; morality; cultural transmission; disease avoidance; food and eating; and sex and reproduction. A recent audio essay, for a popular audience, presents my perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic and how we can respond to it. An earlier short written essay, also for a popular audience, summarizes my views on the relationship between evolution and morality.
Students interested in pursuing research in the above areas may want to peruse my musings on lessons I’ve learned thus far in my career. For more information on the UCLA graduate program in biological anthropology, see our BioAnthro website.
I have the great privilege of serving as the inaugural Director of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute.
I think scientists ought to be judged by their research, not their pedigrees, but since people get irritated if I don’t post it, here’s my CV.