Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
Phone: +49 341 3550 341
E-mail: dominik_deffner@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de
During my undergraduate and Master's training I studied a wide range of subjects spanning (Evolutionary and Comparative) Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Anthropology and Philosophy.
I am primarily interested in extragenetic inheritance and the role of socially transmitted information (aka culture) in human adaptation and evolution. I want to understand which psychological mechanisms lead to the population-level process of behavioral evolution that allowed humans to become such an adaptable and ecologically successful species.
My PhD project under the supervision of Richard McElreath focuses on the interplay between social learning, demographics and life history dynamics. Specifically, I develop new mathematical and individual-based models exploring the evolution of social learning and culture in age-structured populations. In order to test key predictions of these theoretical models, I will use group experiments with human children and adults in the lab, simple field experiments, as well as ethnographic work and comparative data from non-human animals. This project will contribute to the overarching goal of the department to integrate cultural evolution and life history theory and help us gain a more comprehensive understanding of the evolutionary dynamics underlying human adaptation.