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Joan Silk

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Professor and Research Affiliate, Institute of Human Origins
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2402
Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2402
IHO Research Affiliate and Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2402
Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2402
Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2402
IHO Research Affiliate and Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2402
Biography

I received my PhD from UC Davis in 1981, and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Altmann’s lab at the University of Chicago. Then, I joined the Department of Anthropology at Emory University. I moved to UCLA in 1986, where I remained until 2012. At UCLA, I was a founding member of the Center of Behavior, Evolution, and Culture and served as department Chair for six years. I moved to the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at ASU in 2012.

Research Interests

I am interested in how natural selection shapes the evolution of social behavior in primates. Most of my empirical work has focused on the behavioral and reproductive strategies of female baboon. I have recently initiated a comparative study of the structure and function of close social bonds in four baboon species (anubis, hamadryas, gelada, and chacma).

I am particularly interested in questions that explicitly link studies of nonhuman primates to humans. Experimental work conducted with chimpanzees and children focuses on the phylogenetic origins and ontogenetic development of prosocial preferences.

Publications
  • House, B. R., Silk, J. B., Lambeth, S. P., Schapiro, S. J. Task design influences prosociality in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). PloS one (2014).
  • Scelza, B. A., Silk, J.B. Fosterage as a system of dispersed cooperative breeding: Evidence from the Himba. Human Nature (2014).
  • Seyfarth, R.M., Silk, J. B., Cheney, D.L. Social bonds in female baboons: The interaction among personality, kinship, and rank. Animal Behaviour 87, 23-29. Animal Behaviour (2014).
  • Silk, J.B. .Evolutionary perspectives on the links between close social bonds, health, and fitness. Sociality, Hierarchy, Health: Comparative Biodemography (2014).
  • Silk, J.B. The roots of prosocial preferences. Understanding Moral Sentiments: Darwinian Perspectives? (2014).
  • Silk, J.B. The evolutionary roots of lethal conflict. (2014).
  • Silk, JB. Mothers Know Best. (2014).
  • Silk, JB. The evolutionary roots of lethal conflict. (2014).
  • House, B.R., Henrich, J., Senecka, B., Silk, J.B. The development of contingent reciprocity in children. Evolution and Human Behavior (2013).
  • House, B.R., Silk, J.B., Henrich, J., H.C. Barrett, Scelza, B., Boyette, A., Hewlett, B., & Laurence, S. The ontogeny of prosocial behavior across diverse cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013).
  • Panchanathan, K., Frankenhuis, W.E., & Silk, J.B. 2013.The bystander effect in an n-person dictator game. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 120: 285–297. The bystander effect in an n-person dictator game. 285–297. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2013).
  • Silk, J.B., Brosnan, S.F., Henrich, J., Lambeth S.P., Shapiro, S. Chimpanzees share food for many reasons: the role of kinship, reciprocity, social bonds and harassment on food transfers. Animal Behaviour (2013).
  • Silk, J.B., Cheney, D.L., Seyfarth, R.M. A practical guide to the study of social relationships. Evolutionary Anthropology (2013).
  • Jensen, K. & Silk, J.B. Moral man, amoral monkey: the roots of human moral sentiments. Handbook of Moral Development (2013).
  • Silk, J.B. The origins of the prosocial ape: insights from comparative studies of social preferences. Navigating the Social World: A Developmental Perspective (2013).
  • . Understanding the Lives of Females, A Tribute to Jeanne Altmann & Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. (2013).
  • Jensen, K. & Silk, J.B. Moral man, amoral monkey: the roots of human moral sentiments. (2013).
  • Silk, J.B. Reciprocal altruism. Current Biology 23: R827-828. (2013).
  • Silk, J.B. The origins of the prosocial ape: insights from comparative studies of social preferences. (2013).
  • Cheney, D.L., Silk, J.B., & Seyfarth, R.M. Evidence for intra-sexual selection in wild female baboons. Animal Behaviour (2012).
  • House, B.R., Henrich, J., Brosnan, S.F., & Silk, J.B. 2012. The ontogeny of human prosociality: behavioral experiments with children aged 3 to 8. Evolution and Human Behavior (2012).
  • Seyfarth, R.M., Silk, J.B., & Cheney, D.L. Variation in personality and fitness in wild female baboons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA (2012).
  • Silk, J.B., Alberts, S.C., Altmann, J., Cheney, D.L., & Seyfarth, R.M. Stability of partner choice among female baboons. Animal Behaviour (2012).
  • Xue, M., & Silk, J.B. The role of tracking and tolerance in relationships among friends. Evolution and Human Behavior (2012).
  • Boyd, R., Silk, J.B. How Humans Evolved. (2012).
  • Mitani, J., Call, J., Kappeler, P., Palombit, R., Silk, J.B. The Evolution of Primate Societies. (2012).
  • J.B. Silk. The adaptive value of sociality. The Evolution of Primate Societies (2012).
  • Silk, J.B., & House, B.R. The phylogeny and ontogeny of prosocial behavior. The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Evolutionary Psychology (2012).
Research Activity
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 246Human Origins
ASB 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 493Honors Thesis
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 580Practicum
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASB 592Research
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASB 792Research
ASB 799Dissertation
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 394Special Topics
ASB 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 493Honors Thesis
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 580Practicum
ASB 584Internship
ASM 590Reading and Conference
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASM 592Research
ASB 592Research
ASM 790Reading and Conference
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASM 792Research
ASB 792Research
ASM 799Dissertation
ASB 799Dissertation
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 493Honors Thesis
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 580Practicum
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASB 592Research
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASB 792Research
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 493Honors Thesis
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASM 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 580Practicum
ASB 584Internship
ASM 590Reading and Conference
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASM 592Research
ASB 592Research
ASM 790Reading and Conference
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASM 792Research
ASB 792Research
ASM 799Dissertation
ASB 799Dissertation
Spring 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 394Special Topics
BIO 394Special Topics
ASB 484Internship
ASM 484Internship
ASM 493Honors Thesis
ASB 493Honors Thesis
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASM 499Individualized Instruction
ASM 579Proposal Writing
ASB 580Practicum
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASM 590Reading and Conference
ASM 592Research
ASB 592Research
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASM 790Reading and Conference
ASM 792Research
ASB 792Research
ASM 799Dissertation
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 484Internship
ASM 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASM 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 493Honors Thesis
ASM 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 580Practicum
ASB 584Internship
ASM 590Reading and Conference
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASB 592Research
ASM 592Research
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASM 790Reading and Conference
ASM 792Research
ASB 792Research
ASM 799Dissertation
ASB 799Dissertation
Spring 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 455Primate Behavior Laboratory
ASB 484Internship
ASM 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASM 492Honors Directed Study
ASM 493Honors Thesis
ASM 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 580Practicum
ASM 590Reading and Conference
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASM 592Research
ASB 592Research
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASM 790Reading and Conference
ASB 792Research
ASM 792Research
ASM 799Dissertation
Fall 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 443Primatology
ASM 484Internship
ASM 492Honors Directed Study
ASM 493Honors Thesis
ASM 499Individualized Instruction
ASM 543Primatology
ASM 590Reading and Conference
ASM 592Research
ASM 790Reading and Conference
ASM 792Research
ASM 799Dissertation
Spring 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 484Internship
ASM 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASM 543Primatology
ASM 590Reading and Conference
Fall 2012
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 394Special Topics
Presentations
  • Silk, JB. The Phylogeny & Ontogeny of Altruistic Social Preferences. Colloquium speaker, Center for Cognitive Science, University of Maryland, College Park (Nov 2014).
  • Silk, JB. The adaptive value of social bonds. Workshop on Cross-Species Comparisons of Social Environments, Social Behaviors, and their Effects on (Apr 2014).
  • J.B. Silk. The Adaptive Value of Social Bonds. Public lecture, U of Indiana (Nov 2012).
  • J.B. Silk. Sex Differences in Mortality. Workshop, Stanford University (Oct 2012).
  • J.B. Silk. THE ADAPTIVE VALUE OF SOCIAL BONDS: OLD DATA, NEW METHODS, AND EMERGING QUESTIONS. Meeting of the International Primatological Society, Cancun, Mexico (Aug 2012).
  • S. Rosenbaum, J. P. Hirwa, J. B. Silk, T. S. Stoinski. LONG-TERM SOCIAL PARTNER PREFERENCES BETWEEN ADULT MALE AND MATURING MOUNTAIN GORILLAS (GORILLA BERINGEI BERINGEI). Meeting of the International Primatological Society, Cancun, Mexico (Aug 2012).
  • J.B. Silk, B.R. House. PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR IN CHIMPANZEES: WHEN AND HOW MUCH?. Meeting of the International Primatological Society, Cancun, Mexico (Aug 2012).
  • J.B. Silk. The natural history of social bonds. The Female in Evolution Symposium (Apr 2012).
Service
  • Evolutionary Anthropology, Approach Head (2014 - Present)
  • Evolutionary Anthropology, Approach Head (2014 - Present)
  • SHESC Excecutive Committee, member (2014 - Present)
  • Center for Evolutionary Medicine Planning Committee, member (2014 - Present)
  • SHESC Personnel Committee, member (2014 - Present)
  • Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Associate editor (2009 - Present)
  • Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Associate editor (2009 - Present)
  • International Journal of Primatology, editorial board member (2009 - Present)
  • International Journal of Primatology, editorial board member (2009 - Present)
  • International Journal of Primatology, editorial board member (2009 - Present)
  • International Journal of Primatology, editorial board member (2009 - Present)
  • Courant Research Centre on Evolution and Social Behaviour, University of Gottingen, Germany, Scientific Advisory Board (2007 - Present)
  • L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, Scientific Executive Committee (2007 - Present)
  • L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, Scientific Executive Committee (2007 - Present)
  • L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, Scientific Executive Committee (2007 - Present)
  • L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, Scientific Executive Committee (2007 - Present)
  • Human Behavior and Evolution, Consulting Editor (2006 - Present)
  • Human Behavior and Evolution, Consulting Editor (2006 - Present)
  • Human Behavior and Evolution, Consulting Editor (2006 - Present)
  • Human Behavior and Evolution, Consulting Editor (2006 - Present)
  • Primates, Advisory Board (2005 - Present)
  • Primates, Advisory Board (2005 - Present)
  • Primates, Advisory Board (2005 - Present)
  • Primates, Advisory Board (2005 - Present)
  • Human Nature, Editorial Board (1991 - Present)
  • Personnel Committee, Member (2013 - 2016)
  • School of Human Evolution and Social Change, search committee member (2014 - 2015)
  • Search Committee, Chair (2013 - 2014)
  • School of Human Evolution and Social Change, search committee member (2009 - 2013)
  • Human Behavior & Evolution Society, Program Committee (2012 - 2012)