The Biology of Fatherhood: Evolutionary Origins, Cross-cultural Perspectives, & Health Implications
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Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute Research Colloquium Series
Meeting ID: 960 1052 1181
The Biology of Fatherhood in Context: Evolutionary Origins, Cross-cultural Perspectives, and Health Implications
Speaker: Lee T. Gettler, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame
Human fathers have a flexible psychobiological capacity to respond to committed parenting with shifts in hormones such as testosterone, prolactin, and oxytocin. These findings hint at evolved neuroendocrine capacities that help facilitate refocused priorities as men make the transition into fatherhood. Today, fathers commonly cooperate with mothers to raise children in societies around the world. However, their involvement and roles are variable, as they likely were evolutionarily. Thus, the nature of fathers’ hormonal shifts and their influences on behavior are shaped by the ecologies, cultural contexts, and family systems in which those fathering roles find expression. Bringing together these perspectives using data from Dr. Gettler's research in the Philippines, Congo-Brazzaville, and the US, he will explore how men’s hormonal physiology variably responds to parenthood and relates to men’s family behaviors. Dr. Gettler will then present work on how variation in fathers’ hormones and roles relate to children’s developmental psychobiology and health.
Julie Wargo Aikins