Sven Kasser

PhD student | he/him

I am a first-year PhD student in the Centre for Biological Diversity at the University of St Andrews under supervision of Kevin Laland and Laura Fortunato. Broadly, I would describe myself as an evolutionary behavioural scientist with a background in largely social scientific disciplines, holding an MA (Hons) in Psychology & Economics from the University of Edinburgh (2017) and an MSc (with distinction) in Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Oxford (2021). Nevertheless, I seem to have snuck my way into a Biology department (please nobody tell them), where I am primarily surrounded by marine biologists and have to pretend I can tell seals from sea lions.

My PhD research is focused on quantifying and evidencing the role that gene-culture co-evolutionary processes have played in recent human evolution, in a Templeton-funded project led by Prof Marcus Feldman at Stanford University. In line with this project, my research interests are mostly focused on delineating, and ultimately perhaps illuminating, the causally interdependent roles of “nature and nurture”, or more accurately biology, ecology and culture, in human behavioural diversity. I am also interested in open and reproducible research, both from a pragmatic and an ethical point of view.

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