The DEVO area brings a unique perspective to psychology. Faculty and students within the program share an interest in human relationships, cognitive processes, and human development. To these topics, they bring biological approaches that span the fields of evolutionary psychology, developmental neuroscience, and social psychophysiology.
The topics addressed within the program include both basic theoretical issues and applied concerns. As recent interests, T. German has been concerned with the neural correlates of detecting pretense displays in adults, as well as continuing work on the psychological mechanism that support belief-desire reasoning in children. Leda Cosmides has provided empirical evidence to show the ways in which our evolutionary design prepares us for social categorization of others by sex but not by race. Daphne Bugental has successfully demonstrated the ways in which child abuse can be prevented, making use of theory drawn from both biological and social approaches. Alan Fridlund is a leader in the field of facial expressions and the psychophysiology that underlies them. Jim Roney is investigating the endocrinology of human mating psychology, including hormonal correlates of mate attractiveness, the role of fluctuating hormone concentrations in perceptions of others' attractiveness, and hormonal responses to social interactions with potential mates.