AEPS Exec Board & Council Members
President: Amy Alkon
Vice President: Steve Platek
Treasurer: John M. Montgomery
Secretary: Daniel Glass
Communications Officer: Miriam Law Smith
Membership Officer: Michael Torez
By-Laws Officer: Dustin Eirdosh
Student Representative: Jessi Lail
Charlotte De Backer
S. Craig Roberts
Past President: Nick Armenti
Meet the Exec Board
Amy Alkon (President)
Amy Alkon is a science-based nationally syndicated advice columnist in about 100 newspapers. She is the author of two books strongly rooted in evolutionary psychology research, "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014) and “I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, 2010). She hosts the weekly science-based radio show, “Nerd Your Way To A Better Life!” with the best brains in science (with guests including Robert Trivers, Scott Barry Kaufman, Glenn Geher, Nando Pelusi, David Barash, Peter Gray, Vladas Griskevicius, Robert Kurzban, and Nancy Segal). It is Alkon’s mission to put solid findings from research into her column, books, and radio show, translating it into understandable language and turning it into practical advice that ordinary people can use to solve their love, dating, sex, and relationship problems and improve their lives.
Steve Platek, PhD (Vice President)
Steven Platek is Associate Professor of Psychology of Georgia Gwinnett College. He is the founder of evolutionary cognitive neuroscience and studies the behavioral and neural correlates of attractiveness, mate choice, yawning, ostracism and cooperation. Additionally, as a CrossFit gym owner and an active member of the Ancestral Health Movement, he is very interested in applying principles of ancestral health/primal/paleo living in better understanding the proximate and ultimate mechanisms associated with adaptation under biological mismatched environments. He is currently working on measuring the neural correlates of variability in exercise induced duress and real-time social cooperation. He is Assoc. Editor of Human Nature and The Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, has edited to academic volumes on the topics of infidelity and evolutionary cognitive neuroscience.
John Montgomery, PhD (Treasurer)
John Montgomery received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Caltech in Pasadena, California, and his B.A. in molecular and evolutionary genetics from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Currently an affiliate researcher in the Psychology Department at SUNY New Paltz, he is the co-developer of The Answer Model, a psychology model that includes both a powerful new therapeutic method and a novel, unifying theoretical framework which merges neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and various ‘spiritual’ perspectives. He writes a blog for psychologytoday.com called ‘The Embodied Mind’, has written about science for the Washington Post and The Economist, and is the primary author of The Answer Model Theory and The Answer Model: A new path to healing. He is also a counselor who uses The Answer Model method in private practice.
Daniel Glass, MA (Secretary)
I'm the secretary for AEPS. I have an M.A. in Psychology and am currently a part-time lecturer at University of Massachusetts Boston. My main research interest is how evolution can help illuminate the classification, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders. I joined AEPS because I believe evolutionary science has a lot to offer the field of clinical psychology, not to mention education, public policy, law -- the list goes on and on. My mission for the group is to reach out to executives and practitioners and offer them the resources and knowledge that evolutionary science has provided, and how these perspectives can better inform their respective disciplines.
Miriam Law Smith, PhD, DClinPsych (Communications Officer)
I'm a Clinical Psychologist working in Ireland in the health service, in an Early Intervention service in South Dublin. My background is in evolutionary behavioural science, having completed the Evolutionary Psychology MSc in Liverpoool, and then my PhD at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where I investigated evolutionary perspectives on social cognition. I moved into a clinical setting with a post-doc in Trinity College Dublin, investigating facial emotion recognition abilities in children and adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions. I subsequently trained as a clinician (completed DClinPsych). I take a strength-based approach to assessment and intervention for psychological difficulties. I'm excited to join the AEPS board of directors as the Communications Officer, and to help promote the work and missions of the society. I feel that public engagement and science communication of evolution and its applications is an important role for evolutionary scientists. Find me on Twitter @DrMiriam.
Miguel Torez, MA (Membership Officer)
Miguel Torez obtained his B.S. and M.S. in psychology and criminal justice at the University of Central Florida-(UCF). Upon obtaining an M.S. from UCF, he entered Columbia University’s Teachers College to pursue an M.A. in clinical psychology and cognitive studies with aspirations to get a PhD or EdD in Psychology in the immediate future. My name is Miguel Torez, but I’m sometimes called Michael, by my close associates. I believe as the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society progresses in 2014, our primary objectives will be to bring members more exceptional content and increasing our users base through word of mouth, social networking and society showcases. I am very open minded, easy to work with and friendly so please feel free to add me on Facebook or other social media networks if you’re interested in conversing. If you’re new to the society as a member or nonmember, I would like to say welcome/bienvenido. Lastly, if anyone has any ideas that he or she believes could be useful to the society as a whole, please do not hesitate to contact me.
“Lead from the back..and let others believe they are in front.” Nelson Mandela
“Lead from the back..and let others believe they are in front.” Nelson Mandela
Dustin Eirdosh (By-Laws Officer)
Dustin Eirdosh is the research director for the Positive Education Action-Research (PEAR) Laboratory at the University of Toliara in the southwestern region of Madagascar. Eirdosh, a native of Philadelphia, is a 2004 graduate of College of the Atlantic, with a BA in Human Ecology, focused in Educational Psychology, Community Development, and Agriculture, and is currently completing an MSc in International Business and Consumer Sciences, at the University of Kassel-Witzenhausen (Germany). In both Madagascar and Germany, Eirdosh is focused on integrating evolutionary perspectives into an applied higher education curriculum through his work with the EvoS Consortium for Evolutionary Studies. In Madagascar, this takes the form of educational innovation initiatives across multiple departments. In Germany, the focus is on redesigning.
Jessi Lail (Student Representative)
My name is Jessi Lail and I’m a masters student of social psychology at New Mexico State University and the treasurer of AEPS. Applying evolutionary theory to aspects of our everyday lives—be it teaching, medicine, psychology, or anything else—is one of the best contributions we can make as researchers. My particular interests lie in applying evolutionary theory to relationships, belief systems, and sexual crimes. I became involved with AEPS after meeting Brian and Nick at the 2011 AEPS preconference in Binghamton, NY. It was refreshing to meet others who understood that evolutionary theory could enhance our understanding of human thought processes and behaviors, learning, health, and beyond. My goal with AEPS is to help raise and appropriate funds to further our goal of spreading the usefulness of applied evolutionary psychology. In my position as a student, I am excited to network with other students interested in our organization and ideas and help to foster the growth of evolutionary thinking.
Nick Armenti, PhD (Past President)
I am an evolutionary clinical psychologist who is a strong advocate for advancing practical solutions to human problems that are founded on empirical findings especially findings generated by evolutionary scientists. I maintain a special interest in human reproductive behavior and its evolutionary roots. I am a cofounder of the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society (AEPS) and its Past President. I am a member of the Northeast Evolutionary Psychology Society (NEEPS) and I have been from its founding in 2005. In addition, I am a member of the Feminist Evolutionary Psychology Society (FEPS) as well as a member of the Association for Psychological Science (APS).
Alice Andrews, MA (Member-at-Large)
With philosophy and developmental psychology degrees from Columbia University, Alice Andrews teaches psychology and evolutionary studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz. A founding member/member-at-large of AEPS, as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of The Evolutionary Review: Art, Science, Culture, she serves on the executive board of SUNY New Paltz's Evolutionary Studies program, as well as on the editorial boards of the journals Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and EvoS: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium. Alice is also the founder and editor of Entelechy: Mind & Culture and her novel Trine Erotic (evolutionary fiction) was recently republished by Codhill Press for its 10th-year anniversary.
Charlotte De Backer, PhD (Member-at-Large)
Charlotte De Backer is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Antwerp, where she carries out teaching and research in the field of interpersonal communication, with a special interest in prosocial behavior and social bonding. She obtained her Ph.D. at Ghent University in 2005, and has since worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California Santa Barbara (US, with Leda Cosmides, John Tooby and Michael Gurven), and as a lecturer at the University of Leicester (UK). Research Interests: At current I am mainly interested to investigate the impact of eating habits on prosocial behavior, and the use of gossip (offline and online) as a social bonding device. In general, I have diverse range of interests that mostly revolve around interpersonal communication and prosocial behavior. I obtained my Ph.D. with a dissertation about the use of 'gossip' as a social bonding device. In line of this, I also investigate(d) how 'celebrity gossip' functions in similar ways. In recent years I also started to investigate the impact of eating habits on social bonding and prosocial behavior. Gossip and eating are often intertwined, and both have the power to connect people and elicit prosocial behavior. As a member of our departmental research group MIOS (Media and ICT in Organizations and Society), I investigate the impact of ICT on the above described topics.
Brian Mayer, MSc (Member-at-Large)
Brian Mayer is a co-founder and past VP of AEPS. He has a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and an MSc in Evolutionary Psychology from the University of Liverpool, where he learned from evolutionary theorists such as Steve Emlen, Tom Seeley, Paul Sherman, Hudson Kern-Reeve, Pat Barclay, Janis Dickinson, Will Provine, Allen MacNeill, S. Craig Roberts, and John Lycett. He recently finished his second year of a PhD program in Communication at Cornell, where his research interests included intergroup communication biases, the evolution of cooperation/ defection and deception, evolutionary religious studies, and science comm. He feels that many insights provided by evolutionarily informed research are largely underutilized in ‘real world’ practice. While obstacles exist (e.g. public/academic resistance, inadequate science comm., feared legal repercussions), he views none as insurmountable and believes it is part of the fundamental duty (and pleasure) of every scholar to share their most accurate knowledge of the world as they find it to be today in ways that may help people function better in their lives. Thus, Brian is currently taking a much-needed break from the Ivory Archipelago and exploring how he can truly apply the findings of such research in practice. He has already been utilizing his evolutionarily informed knowledge in several marketing, event planning, and executive administrative ventures. Brian envisions AEPS as a crucial nexus with institutes worldwide working to bridge researchers and practitioners and educate them on the merits of applied evolutionary knowledge using more effective forms of science communication.
Nando Pelusi, PhD (Member-at-Large)
I'm a licensed clinical psychologist in New York, I explored practical implications of evolutionary psychology research in Neanderthink, a column that appeared in Psychology Today Magazine, where I also serve as contributing editor. I am a board member of NACBT (National Association of Cognitive Behavior Therapists), and have co-led groups with Albert Ellis for many years. I have given numerous talks on cognitive-behavior therapy to both professionals and the public, and have appeared on various news media as a consultant on behavioral and social matters.
S. Craig Roberts, PhD (Member-at-Large)
I originally trained as a zoologist, with a PhD in olfactory communication and social behaviour of African antelopes from University College London. I then worked at the Institute of Zoology, London, attempting to use this knowledge to improve captive breeding programmes. In 2000, I switched my research focus to humans, using evolutionary perspectives to understand how individuals interact. Again, I was interested from the start in the wider context of my research, specifically how evolved behaviour is influenced by modern cultural inventions such as hormonal contraception and cosmetics. This approach eventually led me to explore wider applications through my book Applied Evolutionary Psychology and further publications in this area. As well as from academic sources, my research has been funded by several multinational companies. I have held positions at the Universities of Newcastle and Liverpool, and since 2010 have been in the Psychology Dept at the University of Stirling, Scotland.
Brian Spisak, PhD (Member-at-Large)
I am originally from Western Pennsylvania in the United States of America. Upon completion of my undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh, I worked for a number of years in both non- and for-profit organizations as well as a brief period working with government as a Special Investigator for the United States Office of Personnel Management (which included top secret clearance). After taking time to explore various fields, I realized my primary passion was academic, particularly for leadership and organizational behavior. I then studied for my PhD first at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom and transferred to complete my doctoral research in the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at the VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I started an appointment August 2012 as assistant professor in the Department of Management and Organization Studies, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, VU University Amsterdam. I blend the fields of social and organizational psychology with the study of biological and cultural evolution to investigate how and why we have developed leadership in large-scale social networks and how this information can be applied to make modern organizations more effective. Recently, my work has focused on voting behavior and how our evolved heuristic decision making systematically biases us to contingently vote for certain evolved leader prototypes associated with certain situations. For instance, I have shown how people are biased to vote for older presidential candidates in times of war. I am also applying my work on leadership and organizational behavior to issues relevant in management and business. This includes how an evolutionary perspective of leadership adds to our understanding of group processes such as innovation, sustainability, and intergroup dynamics. With colleagues, I have also contributed to one of the first academic books on how to apply evolutionary psychology in the business sciences. This evolutionary perspective has been applied to organizations such as the United States Office of Naval Research, Philips, and NATO.
Ed Sturman, PhD (Member-at-Large)
Edward Sturman, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh. He has been the co-coordinator of the Psychology program at the Queensbury branch campus since 2007, where he has taught many courses, with his personal favorite being Evolutionary Psychology and a seminar exploring evolutionary models of depression and other disorders. He has authored a number of studies in peer reviewed journals, presented his findings at major conferences, and is the co-author of a textbook, Psychological Testing and Assessment, 8th edition with Ron Cohen and Mark Swerdlik. His current research is primarily focused on the vulnerability of various personality styles to mental disorder as well as the evolutionary underpinnings of mental disorder.
Joel Wade, PhD (Member-at-Large)
Joel Wade is Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at Bucknell University and a member of the Neuroscience Program at Bucknell University. He holds a Ph.D in Social Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill. His evolutionary theory based research focuses on: mate attraction, mate selection, jealousy, mate assessment, love, mate expulsion, and reconciliation. He is a member of NEEPS, HBES, ISHE, AEPS, APA, APS, and SPSP. He serves on the Editorial Boards of: Evolutionary Behavior Sciences (formerly JSEC), Interpersona, and Symmetry.
Past AEPS Exec Board & Council Members (to 2013)
President: Nick Armenti
Vice President (Domestic): Brian Mayer
Vice President (International): Thomas Hirschmann
Treasurer: Jessi P. Lail
Secretary: Daniel J. Glass
Scott Barry Kaufman
David Livingstone Smith
David Sloan Wilson
The founding of AEPS was initiated by Nick Armenti at the Business Meeting of NEEPS 2010 at SUNY New Paltz. Those in attendance were supportive of the idea and it was suggested then that the new society look to the Feminist Evolutionary Psychology Society (FEPS) as a prototype to emulate. Shortly after that meeting, five NEEPS members stepped forward to volunteer their commitment to the development of the new group. These founding members are Alice Andrews, Nick Armenti, Brian Mayer, Thomas Hirschmann and Nando Pelusi. Throughout the Spring and Summer of 2010 these members (and others) helped shape and direct the formation of AEPS. The AEPS By-Laws can be found here.
Thomas Hirschmann, PhD (Past International VP)
I am Thomas Hirschmann, jurist and psychologist by education. I graduated from Munich's university Ludwig Maximilian in 2006 and received a Ph.D. grant from German auto maker BMW, which brought me into the field of creativity and innovation management. After leaving BMW in 2009, I launched my own innovation consulting company which works for BMW and also clients from other industries like Allianz (insurance), Gutfried (food) or Touratech (travel). At the same time, I started moving academically toward the field of evolutionary psychology and subsequently co-founded the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society to advance the practical use and development of evolutionary psychology in a real environment. As of 2012, I work as Account Director for the global social media agency We Are Social at the Munich office in Germany.