Centre for Behaviour and Evolution
The Tyneside Neighbourhoods Project: Investigating the behavioural ecology of a British city
Monday, April 4, 2011
Science 1 149, 5:00 PM
Cities are remarkable environments in many respects, but one of their more interesting features is their ability to generate marked variation in behaviour over very short geographical distances. We are all familiar with this: we walk three blocks in a strange city and suddenly observe that the people around us are doing quite different things. The Tyneside Neighbourhoods Project is an attempt to document and understand some of these behavioural differences between neighbourhoods within the Newcastle area, from a perspective which is ethological, ecological, and evolutionary. I will present some preliminary results of studies of how smoking, littering, parenting and cooperation vary across different neighbourhoods. I will suggest some unifying features of life in deprived neighbourhoods and speculate on how to explain them.
Daniel Nettle is an evolutionary anthropologist and psychologist with particular interests in the variability of human behaviour. He has studied this at many different scales, from the macro-level diversity of cultures, to individual-level variation in personality research. His current investigations broadly concern the influence of the socio-economic context on behaviour, and are to a considerable extent inspired by being an affluent person living in one of England’s most deprived postcodes. He loves it there, and learns something every time he goes out of the front door.
- Nettle, D. (2010). Living fast and dying young: Variation in life history across English neighbourhoods. Behavioral Ecology 21: 387-95. [PDF]