Grounded in evolutionary reasoning, our research generally surrounds three inter-related areas:
Hormonal influences on behavior
In addition to being responsible for differences between the sexes, hormones govern and define the major developmental stages in our lives, from prenatal development, puberty, pregnancy, and childbirth, all the way to menopause/andropause. Still, many people are unaware of the important, active role hormones play in our daily lives. Whether it is having a baby, related to menstrual cycle phase, or hormonal disorders like complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, changes or differences in our hormonal profiles can influence our psychology. Specific interests in this area include work on menstrual cycle effects, effects of hormonal contraceptive use and other exogenous hormones, between-subject trait differences, other within-subject (e.g., diurnal) variation in hormone levels, comparative effects in humans and nonhuman primates, and the influence of hormones during critical developmental periods (e.g., puberty).
Sources of variation in adaptive preferences
Like a peacock's tail, certain human features, such as sexually dimorphic features (i.e., masculine features in men and feminine features in women), are thought to signal underlying genetic quality. However, while preferences for these and other features should be high under specific circumstances, fondness for certain cues varies from person to person and can change depending on environmental and individual conditions. Sources of variation and situational changes in adaptive preferences can potentially tell us about ancestral pressures on our species. Moreover, research in this area demonstrates how preferences are systematic, rather than arbitrary. Specific interests in this area include preferences for sexually dimorphic cues, cues to kinship/relatedness, dominance, health, condition-dependent preferences, and salience of emotional expressions.
Mate choice and interpersonal relationships
Why do we marry the people we do? What causes us to be attracted to some people and repulsed by others? Why do some relationships succeed while others fail? Human mating and pair-bonds are the foundation of reproduction and child-rearing. After all, our ability to attract and retain a mate has direct implications for whether or not we reproduce and the likelihood of our offspring surviving into adulthood. As such, factors affecting mate choice and interpersonal relationships are tremendously important in determining the evolutionary path of our species. Specific interests in this area include work on mate selection, human sexual behavior, infidelity, jealousy/mate retention, mate choice copying, and factors affecting attractiveness.