Dr Manpal Bhogal blogs about attending the Human Behaviour and Evolution Conference in Amsterdam

By Dr Manpal Bhogal, Lecturer in Psychology.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Human Behaviour and Evolution Society conference at the beginning of July, which took place in Amsterdam. I was excited by this trip as I had the opportunity to visit the city of Amsterdam as well as participate in an impressive conference programme. The programme included brilliant presentations by academics at varying stages of their career, including early career researchers and pioneers of the field.

I attended the conference with Dr Daniel Farrelly (University of Worcester) who has been inspirational in formulating my own research and research interests. It was exciting for us to be able to work on research we have both planned, attend the conference, and enjoy the amazing food on offer in Amsterdam!

The conference consisted of several important topics of importance to evolutionary science, providing the latest findings from studies that have not all yet been published in journals. I was particularly interested in attending symposiums related to human mating strategies, competition, hormonal influences on behaviour, and issues surrounding reproducibility in evolutionary psychology. It was exciting to be able to listen to pioneers of evolutionary psychology such as David Buss talking about human mating, Ben Jones talking about hormonal influences during ovulation, and Dan Fessler discussing his research and replication.  I was also pleased to meet pioneering early career researchers in the field such as Arnaud Tognetti, who conducts research into cooperation, and Nicole Barbaro who conducts research into mate retention and attachment.

One particularly impressive feature in this conference was the poster presentation session. It took me two hours to make my way through the 175-poster symposium, and I still didn’t get to see many of them. There is some excellent research being done in the field, and it was pleasing to hear a PhD student had based her thesis on the work conducted by Dr Daniel Farrelly and myself, which further supports the idea that academic conferences are excellent for networking, and for us to be aware of the research being done.

Attending this conference was important for knowledge transfer, reflection on current research and implementation of current research in my teaching of evolutionary psychology at undergraduate level. I believe keeping up to date with current research enables me to be able to challenge myself and the content I deliver to students. It is always important to feed correct, up to date findings when delivering any form of academic content, which I felt this conference enabled me to do, not to mention research ideas generated from listening to other academics at work.

On a final note, if you ever get a chance to go to Amsterdam – go!

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