Biologist to Talk About Evolution and Modern Life at Behavior Analysis Convention in Minneapolis

Top Quote Noted biologist and writer Marlene Zuk, Ph.D., will talk about Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Modern Life during the Presidential Scholar's Address at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 2013 Annual Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center May 25-28. End Quote
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI (1888PressRelease) April 26, 2013 - Zuk, a professor at the University of Minnesota, studies ways people use animal behavior to think about human behavior and vice versa. Her talk will suggest that evolution is continuous and we need to understand that the rate of evolution is sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

    She has published four books for a general audience: Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can't Learn About Sex From Animals; Riddled With Life: Friendly Worms, Ladybug Sex, and the Parasites That Make Us Who We Are; Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love and Language From the Insect World (a New York Times "Editor's Choice"); and most recently Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet and the Way We Live.

    The ABAI 39th annual convention will attract more than 4,500 members, who are undergraduate through post-doctoral students, university faculty, researchers, and practitioners. Continuing education credit may be earned for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and licensed psychologists. Anyone is welcome to attend the convention. For more information or to register, go to

    One of ABAI's distinguished B. F. Skinner Lecturers, Peter Kareiva, Ph.D., chief scientist and vice president of The Nature Conservancy, will discuss Resurrecting the Environmental Movement. His talk will contend that we need to stop overstating doom and gloom on the environment, and recognize that opportunity, not despair, motivates people. Kareiva says we have science that supports a new message of a resilient earth, which can then be a foundation for leaving behind worshipping at the false temple of pristine nature. By dissecting past failures, Kareiva will discuss where to go in the future with how we talk about and encourage conservation.

    Another B. F. Skinner Lecturer, Dr. Chana K. Akins, will give a talk on Mixing Rewards: The Effect of Drugs of Abuse on Sexual Behavior. A professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, Akins investigates the effects of drugs of abuse on reward and sexual motivation. This presentation will review the findings of the effect of drugs of abuse on sexual motivation and performance in humans and nonhuman animals, including those from a laboratory with an avian species. In particular, the effects of commonly abused drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine will be discussed.

    How prescription medicines reach the market and proposed law-policy reforms to enhance the FDA's science standard for human clinical trials and new drug approvals is a topic of great relevance these days. Michael Malinowski, the Ernest R. and Iris M. Eldred Endowed Professor of Law at Louisiana State University's Paul Hebert Law Center, will talk about Drug Development: Stuck in a State of Puberty? Regulatory Reform of Human Clinical Research to Raise Responsiveness to the Reality of Human Variability. A graduate of Yale Law School, Malinowski will introduce a law-policy methodology based upon commercial incentives and intervention by Congress and the FDA to raise the science standard for human clinical research, and to make drug development more closely parallel the reality of drug delivery in the practice of medicine.

    Animals play a large role in the study of behavior analysis and two of the B. F. Skinner Lecturers' talks put animals in the spotlight.

    Ape Language Studies will be discussed by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, executive director and senior scientist at Great Ape Trust, a world-class research center dedicated to studying the behavior and intelligence of great apes. Dr. Savage-Rumbaugh is the first scientist to conduct language research with bonobos. This presentation focuses on language studies with bonobos at the Language Research Center of Georgia State University and at Great Ape Trust using a keyboard with lexigrams as a communication system.

    Michael J. Beran, a senior research scientist at Georgia State University and associate director of the Language Research Center, will talk about Do Animals Have "Willpower?" Comparative Investigations of Self-Control. The presentation will discuss recent studies with chimpanzees and other animals that examine the capacities of those animals to delay gratification and the behavioral strategies that they employ to cope with impulsivity. In some cases, there are close parallels between nonhuman animal performance and that of humans, but in other cases those similarities decrease. But, overall, comparative research suggests that humans are not alone in their capacity to demonstrate some degree of "willpower."

    From: Association for Behavior Analysis International
    Contact: Elisabeth Berthiaume eberthiaume ( @ ) abainternational dot org or (269) 492-1770
    Event is May 25-28, 2013

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