Jay Belsky – Childhood experience and the development of reproductive strategies: an evolutionary theory of socialisation revisited

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‘Childhood Experience and the Development of Reproductive Strategies: An
Evolutionary Theory of Socialisation Revisited’

Prof Jay Belsky (Birkbeck, University of London)

Abstract: Life-history theory calls attention to across- as well as within-species variation in reproductive strategies. Three decades ago Draper and Harpending (1982) reinterpreted effects of childhood father absence on adolescent sexual behaviour in reproductive strategy terms. Belsky, Steinberg and Draper (1991) subsequently expanded this framework to consider a broader array of developmental experiences, highlighting not just why but how early family experiences shape psychological, somatic and reproductive development. A critical and theoretically unique prediction was that pubertal development would be accelerated in response to a variety of family stressors. Research evaluating this prediction is reviewed and new theoretical developments are discussed.

Date: April 27th 2010, time 18.30

Location: Roberts Lecture Theatre  (Roberts Building, Torrington place, London WC1E 7JE)