Under the Cortex


The podcast of the Association for Psychological Science. What does science tell us about the way we think, behave, and learn about the world around us? Under the Cortex is supported by Macmillan Learning Psychology: In the classroom--whether in person or on screen-content matters. But not if students are disinterested, disengaged. At Macmillan Learning Psychology our authors are committed educators who know firsthand what teachers are facing today. That experience guides not only the books they write, but the interactive learning and assessment tools they help create. No matter how you teach, we can help you captivate your students. Macmillan Learning Psychology. Engaging Every Student. Supporting Every Instructor. Setting the New Standard for Teaching and Learning read less

Understanding Childhood Adversity Across Time and Cultures
Jul 27 2023
Understanding Childhood Adversity Across Time and Cultures
Scientists usually expect childhood to be nurturing, safe, and characterized by high levels of caregiver investment. However, evidence from history, anthropology, and primatology can challenge this view. Throughout human evolution, children have faced threats and deprivation, at varied levels across space and time. And these varied levels of exposure to adversity—which over time were higher than is typical in industrialized societies—likely favored a high degree of phenotypic plasticity, or the ability to tailor development to different conditions.  Willem Frankenhuis, an evolutionary and developmental psychologist at Utrecht University, and Dorsa Amir, a developmental scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, have published research synthesizing evidence from history, anthropology, and primatology relevant to estimating childhood adversity across human evolution. These cross-cultural investigations have focused on three forms of threat (infanticide, violent conflict, and predation) and three forms of deprivation (social, cognitive, and nutritional). Willem and Dorsa discuss their findings, along with some implications, in this conversation with APS’s Ludmila Nunes. They have also published on this topic, and Willem also recently presented some of their findings at the 2023 APS Annual Convention in Washington D.C.    “What are the types of conditions that our ancestors experienced?” Dorsa asks. “And what does that perspective offer to us today in trying to better understand adversity?”