Human Nature and Early Experience: Addressing the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness

This symposium at Notre Dame brings together an international audience interested in innovative approaches to human development, children, families, parenting, and human evolution. Speakers will present their research on the relationship between caregiving practices and outcomes.

  • Venue: Notre Dame’s McKenna Hall Auditorium
  • Date: October 10-12, 2010

This Human Nature and Early Experience symposium features speakers from many countries and disciplines who will provide their expertise along three broad themes: How Early Life Matters, Parenting Effects and Modern Cultural Practices, and How Does the EEA and Evolutionary History Matter?.  For more information, check out this site.



4:00             Registration and Refreshments (McKenna Hall)

Session One

5:00-5:15       Welcome

5:15- 6:00       Social Emotion Systems of Mammalian Brains and Vicissitude of Early Social Bonds: The Transformation of Social Delight to Grief, Depression and Despair.
                Jaak Panksepp, Washington State University

6:00-6:45       Early Research on Emotion Development and the Implications for Human Society
                James Prescott, Institute of Humanistic Science (formerly of NICHD)

6:45-7:30       Bowlby’s “Environment of evolutionary adaptedness”: Recent studies on the interpersonal neurobiology of attachment and emotional development.
                Allan Schore, UCLA


8:00             Coffee and snacks (included with registration)
8:45             Welcome and Introduction

Session Two

9:00-9:45       Social Bonding in Early Development in Primates
                Stephen J. Suomi, NIH

9:45-10:30     Fussy Babies and the Autonomic Nervous System
                S. W.  Porges, University of Illinois-Chicago

10:30-11:15     Oxytocin and Early Experience
                  C. Sue Carter, University of Illinois-Chicago

11:15-12:00     Caregiver Responsivity: Prompt Response to Needs
                  Alison Fleming, University of Toronto

12:00-1:00     Lunch (included with registration) (McKenna Hall, lower level)

Session Three

1:00-1:45       Birth and the First Hour of Life
                Wenda R. Trevathan, New Mexico State University

1:45:2:30       Infant feeding practices: Rates, risks of not breastfeeding and factors influencing breastfeeding
                Pranee Liamputtong, La Trobe University, Victoria Australia

2:30-3:15       Night-time nurturing: an evolutionary perspective on breastfeeding and sleep
                Helen Ball, Durham University

3:15-4:00       Ready to Share Experience From Birth—In a Human Way
                Colwyn Trevarthen, University of Edinburgh

4:00-4:30       Discussant: Jay Belsky, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, London

4:30-5:00       General Discussion

7:00-830       Film: The Business of Being Born


8:30             Coffee and snacks (included with registration)

Session Four

9:00-9:45       The Effects of Early Experience on Brain Structure and Functioning
                M.H. Teicher, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School

9:45-10:30     The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Health, Well-being, and Social Function
                  Vincent Felitti, California Institutes of Preventive Medicine

10:30-11:15     Mothers, Fathers, Infants and Alloparents In Evolutionary Perspective: Revising the Conceptual Relevance of The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness
                  James McKenna, University of Notre Dame

11:15-12:00     Movement, Play and Multi-Age Playmates
                  Joseph Flanders, McGill University

12:00-1:00     Lunch (included with registration) (McKenna Hall, lower level)

Session Five

1:00-1:45       The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness, Rough-and-Tumble Play, and the Selection for Restraint in Human Aggression
                Douglas Fry, Åbo Akademi University in Finland

1:45:2:30       Social cooperation, niche construction, and the core role of intergenerational bonding in human evolution
                Agustin Fuentes, University of Notre Dame

2:30-3:15       Incentives Incentives in the Family Firm: An Evolutionary/Economic Approach to Avian Family Dynamics.
                Joan Roughgarden, Stanford University

3:15-4:00       Early Experience, Moral Development and Human Nature
                  Darcia Narvaez, University of Notre Dame, and Tracy Gleason, Wellesley College

4:00-5:00       General discussion