Welcome to HBES 2022, Still Virtually Everywhere

The host and program committees of #HBES2022 are excited to engage our members in an action-packed, fully customized, online conference experience. Here, you will find all of the information you need to join us (Still) Virtually Everywhere this summer!

HBES 2022 will take place June 22 – June 25. Specific time blocks will be announced soon

HBES Virtually Everywhere will be hosted on the ohyay platform and is a fully-customized online conference where you can 1) grab a coffee with colleagues before heading to a talk, 2) sing karaoke with your friends, or 3) discuss future collaborations at the hotel bar!

For the best virtual experience, we recommend all attendees use Chrome on a plugged-in computer, and strongly encourage the use of headphones so that everyone has a better auditory experience.

We look forward to seeing you all!

Leif Kennair (host committee chair) and Bernard Fink (program committee chair).

If you have questions or are interested in helping run the conference, please contact the host (Leif Kennair) using this form.


Mark your calendars! Here are the important dates you need to know.

Abstract Submissions

Abstract submissions are NOW CLOSED. The Program Committee will send decisions on or around June 1.

Three conference awards will be presented at the 2022 Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference: the New Investigator Award, which is awarded to a graduate student (or someone who defended their Ph.D. in 2022), the Post-Doctoral Research Award, which is awarded to an individual who received their PhD within the past 6 years (no earlier than 2016), and the Best Poster Award, which is awarded to the individual who presented the best poster at the HBES conference.

To be eligible for the New Investigator or Post-Doctoral Awards, individuals must submit a manuscript corresponding with the abstract they have submitted for a talk. Your manuscript can have co-authors, but you must be the first author on the manuscript, and the manuscript must predominantly describe your own work. Note that the manuscript can be “in prep” (e.g., a pre-print), under review, or accepted for publication. A committee will review all eligible manuscripts and select three finalists for each award. These three finalists will give talks in a single session during the conference. Award winners will be selected based on these talks, and awards will be presented at the end of the conference. Note that individuals who submit as part of a symposium can also be considered for an award.

All posters will be eligible for the Best Poster Award. You need not contact us to be considered for the Best Poster Award. The award committee will evaluate all posters during the conference.

Manuscripts should be submitted together with the abstract (there will be an option to upload the manuscript in the abstract submission form), and they must be received by May 15, 2022. Further questions regarding this procedure can be also directed to the conference organizers here.

The Human Behavior and Evolution Society will also award the Early Career Award and Lifetime Career Award at the conference, which recognizes individuals for their contributions to the field. We are soliciting nominations (self and other) for each award. Nominations are due by May 1 2022. See Awards for more details, eligibility information for each award, and links to submit nominations (under eligibility tabs).

The Editorial board of our society journal Evolution and Human Behavior will also award the Margo Wilson Award for best paper published in 2021.

Invited Addresses

The Conference Committee is please to announce the following speakers for this year’s conference. Information will be added as it becomes available. Click the speaker’s name below to view details.

Understanding Biodiversity Through Adaptive Radiations

Keynote address by Peter R. Grant & B. Rosemary Grant

In the “Origin of Species” Charles Darwin established the scientific basis for understanding how evolution occurs by natural selection. To explain how new species form he envisioned a three-step process involving colonization of a new area, divergence through natural selection, and the formation of a barrier to interbreeding between divergent lineages. The challenge for us is the same as the challenge for Darwin, to reconstruct evolutionary history and interpret it. A productive strategy is to combine the fields of genetics, ecology, behavior, and genomics in laboratory and field investigations. We illustrate how this research program can be carried out with our research on the adaptive radiation of Darwin’s finches in the Galápagos archipelago. Eighteen species diverged morphologically and ecologically from a common ancestor in the last 1-2 million years. Our 40-year study on Daphne Major Island, combined with genomic research with collaborators, has shown that (1) species evolve in beak traits and body size when the environment changes, (2) competitors are an important part of their environment, (3) species occasionally exchange genes by hybridizing, and (4) hybridization can lead to the formation of a new genetic lineage, on the way to becoming a new species.

About the speakers:

Peter and Rosemary Grant have been studying Darwin’s finches on the Galápagos islands since 1973. The fieldwork is designed to understand the evolutionary causes of an adaptive radiation. It combines analyses of archipelago-wide patterns of evolution with detailed investigations of population level processes on two islands, Genovesa and Daphne. The work is a blend of ecology, behavior and genetics. The research has been published in four books, most recently How and Why Species Multiply (2008) and 40 years of Evolution (2014), both published by Princeton University Press. The research contributions have been recognized by separate elections to the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of Canada, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and by the joint award of the Balzan Prize in population biology (2005), the Kyoto Prize in evolutionary biology (2009) and the BBVA Foundation Prize in ecology and conservation (2018).

Peter Grant is the Class of 1877 Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, having trained at Cambridge University and the University of British Columbia. Before joining Princeton in 1986 he taught at McGill University and the University of Michigan. Rosemary Grant is Research Scholar and Professor Emerita in the same Department. She received her training at Edinburgh University and Uppsala University and taught at Princeton University.

The Evolutionary Roots of Conspiracy Theories

Plenary by Jan-Willem van Prooijen


Conspiracy theories are widespread, and have a genuine impact on human behaviors that are considered detrimental to health, safety, and well-being. What are the distal, evolutionary roots of conspiracy theories? Based on an error-management approach, I propose that the suspicious feelings that give rise to conspiracy theories have been adaptive in an ancestral past to protect against the dangers of hostile coalitions, that is, real conspiracies. In support of this proposition, I propose that conspiracy theories are common across times and cultures. Furthermore, conspiracy theories originate from fast and intuitive mental processes (i.e., System 1) more so than from slow and deliberative mental processes (System 2). Finally, conspiracy theories are associated with direct and indirect cues suggesting an increased likelihood of intergroup conflict, with extremist, conflict-seeking ideologies, and a readiness for extremist violence. While the mental systems that produce conspiracy theories may have been adaptive in an ancestral environment, conspiracy theories are mostly maladaptive in a modern environment.

About the speaker:

Jan-Willem van Prooijen received his PhD from Leiden University in 2002. Currently he is Associate Professor at the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology of VU Amsterdam, Senior Researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), and Endowed Professor of Radicalization, Extremism, and Conspiracy Thinking at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology of Maastricht University. His current research interests include conspiracy theories, populism, extremism, and unethical behavior.  

Choosing Survival: The Evolution of Life Worth Living

Plenary by C. A. Soper

It is very bad to be killed, as Buss and Duntley have pointed out. It can be readily acknowledged that homicide—infanticide, assassination, warfare—brings dire fitness consequences for victims, likely posed a recurring fitness threat in our evolutionary past, and presumably drove the selection of special defensive countermeasures. Soper argues that the same dynamic applies to suicide—deliberate self-killing. Indeed, more so: suicide appears to be an adaptive problem at least as severe, in prevalence and impact, as death by interpersonal violence. For an animal smart enough to imagine the idea, self-accomplished death offers such complete relief from aversive affect that it needs to be explained why so few capable humans do take their own lives. Humans are likely protected by special-purpose anti-suicide devices, as yet little recognised as such, that obstruct this mode of escape. These adaptations may help to explain many puzzling features of human psychology, and play a central role in human behaviour and evolution.

About the speaker:

Clifford (“Cas”) Soper is an independent scholar based in Lisbon, Portugal. He has degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of London, and won his PhD at the University of Gloucestershire in 2017 for a thesis, “Towards Solving the Evolutionary Puzzle of Suicide.” This formed the basis of a textbook published by Springer, “The Evolution of Suicide” (2018), and a more recent book, “The Evolution of Life Worth Living: Why We Choose to Live” (2021), which extends the thesis and addresses a general readership. As s therapist, Soper’s interest in human evolution arose from a search for better ways to help clients, particularly those dealing with addictions, depression, suicidal thoughts, and the sequelae of loved ones’ suicides.

How Does Kinship Shape Chimpanzee Society? Insights from 60 Years of Research at Gombe

Plenary by Anne Pusey

Kinship can exert opposing effects on social behavior. On one hand, kin selection often favors prosocial behavior among relatives. On the other hand, inbreeding depression selects for avoidance of association and breeding between kin of the opposite sex. Many social mammals live in societies in which females remain in their natal social groups, surrounded by their female relatives, while males join other groups before breeding. In contrast, in chimpanzees, like some human societies, males are philopatric, remaining for life in their natal group and cooperating to aggressively defend the group territory, while most females join other groups at adolescence. Natal dispersal of either sex is an effective inbreeding avoidance mechanism but leaves open the question which sex disperses. Does this depend on the relative importance of prosocial behavior to each sex? Continuous observation of the chimpanzees at Gombe National Park, Tanzania, over the last 6 decades has allowed us to examine the social relationships of different classes of kin and gain understanding of the unusual settlement and dispersal patterns in this species.

About the Speaker:

Anne Pusey is James B. Duke Professor Emerita of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. She is a behavioral ecologist interested in the evolution of social behavior. She gained her BA at Oxford University and her PhD at Stanford University. As Director of the Jane Goodall Institute’s Center for Primate Studies (University of Minnesota), and the JGI Research Center (Duke), she conducted research and managed the archive of the study of chimpanzees at Gombe National Park, Tanzania, initiated by Jane Goodall in 1960. She also studied the Serengeti lions (1978-1991). She has authored or co-authored over 150 publications. She received a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship and is a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The Relationship Between Disgust and Morality

Plenary by Debra Lieberman

Disgust evolved to navigate three separate ancestral challenges: what to eat, what to touch, and with whom to have sex. In this talk, I posit features of the information-processing structures required to address each challenge and discuss three plausible internal regulatory variables associated with disgust: expected value of consumption, which reflects the fitness value of consuming an item and regulates consumption behaviors; expected value of contact, which reflects the fitness value of physical contact, and regulates behavior associated with touching individuals and surfaces; and expected sexual value, which reflects the fitness costs of a particular sexual partner, and regulates sexual motivations. Disgust is the experience that occurs when any of these three regulatory variables generates a very low expected value. This model of disgust diverges from previous models in that (1) there is no existential threat based “animal reminder” disgust, (2) pathogen disgust is conceived as two separate adaptations and, (3) there is no proper domain of “moral disgust”. Instead, the three regulatory variables of disgust are a subset of inputs used by moral systems guiding coalitional and exploitative behaviors.

About the speaker:

Debra Lieberman is Professor and Assistant Chair of Psychology at the University of Miami. She earned her PhD at the University of California Santa Barbara at the Center for Evolutionary Psychology. Dr. Lieberman studies a range of topics including kin detection, cooperation, mate choice, disgust, gratitude, and morality. She currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Evolution and Human Behavior, and is co-author with Dr. Carlton Patrick of Objection: Disgust, Morality, and the Law, 2018, Oxford University Press.


The conference will be open to only HBES members and registration will be FREE. You must still register for the conference using the registration form that will open on June 1. If you’re not currently a member, please join or renew asap.