Lecture – The long reach of childhood

Next week, in the series on Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Daniel Nettle will present “The long reach of childhood: Why does experience in early-life have such a big effect on adult behavior?”

  • Date:  November 14
  • Time:  4:00pm
  • Location:  1775 SPH I

Abstract:

People who experience adversity in early-life grow up to become adults who are more prone to stress-related illness, are more impulsive, and reproduce younger than their peers. Evolutionary accounts of these effects are based on the idea that early experience predicts the environmental conditions which will the individual will face as an adult, and so it is adaptive to calibrate behaviour accordingly. I will present data on the effects of early life on adult behaviour, and propose a slightly different evolutionary explanation for them based partly on the idea that the bodies of people who experience early adversity weather less well than those whose early circumstances are more benign.

Daniel Nettle is co-director of the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Newcastle University, and Associate Editor, Evolution and Human Behavior.

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