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Brendan Barrett

Postdoctoral Researcher

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig  

Phone: +49 341 3550 345
E-mail: brendan_barretteva.mpgde

Office: B1.12

Website: brendanbarrett.info

Publications: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2725-2385

I am an evolutionary behavioral ecologist and evolutionary anthropologist interested in how extragenetic inheritance systems such as culture and territorial inheritance are influenced by (and in turn influence) ecology, sociality, and life history. My research integrates natural history-informed field research, hierarchical Bayesian statistical modeling, and game-theoretical and population modeling. I am jointly appointed as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture here in Leipzig as well as the Cognitive and Cultural Ecology Group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell, DE. Some of my ongoing research questions include:

  1. What predicts individual variation in social learning strategies and how does individual behavior shape population-level cultural dynamics?
  2. How does sociality and ecology influence both the origins and maintenance of cultural traits in populations?
  3. How is social learning utilized by organisms across different life history stages?
  4. How do organisms integrate both personal and social information and what are the implications of this for structuring cultural variation and dynamics?
  5. What social and ecological factors predict territorial bequeathal and dispersal?

I currently study foraging innovation and cultural transmission in white-faced capuchin monkeys in Coiba National Park, Panama where I started a field site in 2017. I also work with capuchins at the Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve, Costa Rica where I have worked in various guises since 2008. I also help run a long-term field site examining dusky-footed woodrat dispersal, ecology, and behavior at the Quail Ridge Reserve in Napa County, California, USA. My research tends to be motivated by theoretical interest rather than taxonomic affinity, but most of my interests are of great relevance to evolutionary anthropology and are conducive to study in nonhuman and human primates.


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