Professor Tom Dickins - Guest speakers - University of Derby

“Current versus future reproduction: The case of teenage pregnancy.”

A talk at the University of Derby by Professor Tom Dickins, Middlesex University.
Wednesday 5 February 2014, 4.15pm to 5.15pm.
Heap Lecture Theatre, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB.

Tom Dickins is professor of evolutionary psychology at Middlesex University. Most of his research focuses upon how organisms calibrate themselves to their ecologies.  He works on theoretical issues to do with the relationship between development and evolution, and empirically testing hypotheses derived from life-history theory. More recently, Tom has been developing projects on human cooperation within urban environments and, with a PhD student, foraging in urban sea birds (especially lesser black backed, herring and black-headed gulls). Tom founded the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association, along with Drs Rebecca Sear (LSHTM) and David Lawson (UCL) and he has been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology since 2007. 

What the talk will cover:

"In this talk I will introduce the basic framework of life history theory, a tool of evolutionary biology. Throughout life organisms face key trade-offs.  For example, how much should be invested in growth before shifting investment to reproduction? Life history theory conceptualizes these trade-offs in terms of fitness maximization and makes key predictions about the interaction of organisms with ecological resources, whilst making no predictions about the mechanisms that deliver such outcomes. I will show how these considerations can be used to make sense of early fertility, or teenage pregnancy - a phenomenon that has been much researched and at the centre of numerous policy initiatives. I will present analyses carried out with colleagues on the National Child Development Study data set, and argue that there is strong evidence that teenage pregnancy and motherhood is the outcome of a suite of developmental adaptations responding to key socioeconomic, or ecological factors. The data I present will give some indication of possible mechanisms at play - some of which are psychological." - Tom Dickins. 

All are welcome, and no booking is needed to attend. Just come along.

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