Life History Theory and the Fast-Slow Continuum

There are large variations in the socio-ecological niches of humans. Like other species, humans evolved phenotypic plasticity responses to the variability of their environment, and these plastic responses can explain a large part of the variability of human behaviors and cultures. Different environmental parameters have been proposed to explain differences in human behaviors (e.g. mortality, pathogens load).

A dominant framework to understand the diversity of phenotypes in humans in the fast-slow continuum. Inspired by comparison across species, the fast slow continuum framework studies how humans allocate resources between survival, growth and reproduction. Yet, the fast-slow continuum approach is not very satisfactory to explain variation in human behavior. A lot of traits do not cluster in the expected ways. There is also a lack of formal modeling to understand how environmental factors affect human phenotypes. Here, we try to investigate further the logic of human behavioral plasticity, and the origins of cultural variability across space and time.

Theoretical papers

Boon-Falleur, M., Baumard, N., & André, J. (in press). Risk-seeking or impatient? Disentangling variance and time in hazardous behaviors. Evolution and Human Behavior

Mell, H., Baumard, N., & André, J. B. (in press). Time is money. Waiting costs explain why selection favors steeper time discounting in deprived environments. Evolution and Human Behavior

Mell, H., Baumard, N., André, J.B., (2017) Both collection risk and waiting costs give rise to the behavioural constellation of deprivation (on Pepper and Nettle’s The Behavioral Constellation of Poverty”, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41

Sheskin, M., Chevallier, C., Lambert, S., and Baumard, N. (2014) Life-history theory explains childhood moral development, Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 18(12), 613-615.

Empirical papers

Jacquet, P.O., Pazhoohi, F., Findling C., Mell, H., Chevallier, C., Baumard, N. (in press) Predictive multivariate modelling of religiosity in 295 000 individuals from WEIRD and non-WEIRD populations, Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

Lettinga, N., Jacquet, P. O., André, J. B., Baumard, N., & Chevallier, C. (2020). Environmental harshness is associated with lower investment in collective actions. PlosOne 15(7): e0236715.

Jacquet P.O., Safra L., Wyart V., Baumard N., Chevallier C. (2018) The ecological roots of human susceptibility to social influence: a pre-registered study investigating the impact of early life adversity. Royal Society Open Science 5, 180454

Safra, L., Algan, Y., Grèzes, J., Tecu, T., Baumard, N. & Chevallier, C., (2017) Childhood harshness induces long-lasting preference for authoritarian leaders Evolution and Human Behavior, 38(5), 645-651.7.

Safra, L., Tecu, T., Lambert, S., Sheskin, M., Baumard, N., Chevallier, C. (2016). Neighborhood Deprivation Negatively Impacts Children’s Prosocial Behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1760

Mell, H., Safra, L. Algan, Y, Baumard, N and Chevallier, C. (2018) Childhood Environmental Harshness Predicts Coordinated Health and Reproductive Strategies: A Cross-sectional Study Of A Nationally Representative (France) Sample`. Evolution and Human Behavior, 39(1), 1-8.