Department of Psychology

Pryale Hall, Room 111
654 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2300
Fax: (248) 370-4612

image of a book open to an image of Charles Darwin with eyeglasses next to it

Center for Evolutionary Psychological Science

The mission of the Center for Evolutionary Psychological Science (CEPS) at Oakland University (OU) is to promote and support evolutionary psychological research and education at OU, to recruit and retain outstanding evolutionary psychological scientists, to facilitate collaborative evolutionary psychological research projects, and to develop gift, grant, and contract support for evolutionary psychological science research programs, graduate and undergraduate training, as well as core facilities and equipment. The CEPS will provide opportunities for community engagement, professional development, and mechanisms by which to enhance student success and the research portfolio of OU faculty, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students.

Broader societal impact: With a focus on identifying how our evolutionary past shaped our modern psychology and behavior, evolutionary psychological science provides a framework for understanding and addressing social problems including crime, violence, war, racism, and domestic abuse, while also providing a framework for increasing societal and individual health and well-being. The CEPS will provide a centerpiece for leveraging knowledge about our evolutionary past to improving lives in the present and future.

Todd K. Shackelford, Founding Director (Distinguished Professor and Chair, Psychology, OU), 2020-Present

The Director is appointed by the CAS Dean for a term of five years and is responsible for leading the Center in all matters, including research, instruction, service, and community engagement.

Goals/Outcomes
  • Promote collaborative evolutionary psychological research within and across colleges and schools at OU, and with faculty and students housed at other universities, nationally and internationally.
  • Provide educational opportunities in evolutionary psychological science (e.g., weekend seminars, summer camps, academic minor, certificate program) for faculty, students, staff, and community members at OU, as well as nationally and internationally.
  • Develop educational and financial partnerships with local and regional businesses (e.g., Reproductive Associates of Michigan).
  • Develop educational and financial partnerships with scholarly publishers of academic journals and books (e.g., Oxford University Press, Springer Nature).
  • Provide seed funding to support an initial phase of innovative research projects to increase the probability of external funding; separate funding mechanisms to support graduate student research and faculty research.
  • Organize and host visits and lectures by distinguished evolutionary psychologists, intended for and open to broad audiences, including faculty, staff, and students at OU, and local and regional community colleges and universities, as well as community members.
  • Organize and host bi-annual international and interdisciplinary conferences showcasing the intellectual value and promise of an evolutionary perspective on topics and themes of longstanding human interest, including death, sex, morality, psychopathology, and violence; conferences are two-day events featuring as panelists 10-15 leading scholars from around the world that begin with a keynote lecture open to a broad audience, including faculty, staff, and students at OU, and local and regional community colleges and universities, as well as community members (see oakland.edu/psychology/conference).
  • Other activities that will help to enhance evolutionary psychological science.
Steering Committee

Todd K. Shackelford, Founding Director (Distinguished Professor and Chair, Psychology, OU), 2021-2026

Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford (Special Lecturer, Psychology, OU), 2021-2026

Virgil Zeigler-Hill (Professor and Director of Graduate Training, Psychology, OU), 2021-2025

Melissa M. McDonald (Associate Professor, Psychology, OU), 2021-2024

Lisa L.M. Welling (Associate Professor, Psychology, OU), 2021-2024

Brandy A. Randall (Professor of Psychology, Dean of Graduate School, OU), 2021-2023

The Steering Committee members include the Director and 3-4 additional Oakland University faculty members. In addition, the Steering Committee will include one current OU administrator as ex officio member, appointed for a two-year term, renewable for no more than two terms. Steering Committee members are appointed by the Director for a term of five years, and advise the Director on all Center matters, including research, instruction, service, and community engagement.

Internal Advisory
Board (2021–2026)

Department of Psychology

  • Martha Escobar, Professor
  • Melissa M. McDonald, Associate Professor
  • Todd K. Shackelford, Distinguished Professor and Chair
  • Jennifer Vonk, Professor
  • Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford, Special Lecturer
  • Lisa L.M. Welling, Associate Professor
  • Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Professor and Director of Graduate Training

Department of Philosophy

  • Paul Graves, Associate Professor
  • John Halpin, Associate Professor
  • Mark Rigstad, Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences

  • Scott Tiegs, Professor
  • Fabia Ursula Battistuzzi, Associate Professor

Department of Linguistics

  • Samuel Rosenthall, Associate Professor

Internal Advisory Board members include the Director and members of the Steering Committee, along with full-time or part-time faculty members affiliated with Oakland University. Internal Advisory Board members are appointed by the Director and advise the Director and Steering Committee on all Center matters as requested by the Director, including research, instruction, service, and community engagement.

External Advisory
Board (2021–2026)

Joshua Ackerman, University of Michigan, USA

Laith Al-Shawaf, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, USA

Jeanette Altarriba, University at Albany, USA

Kevin Beaver, Florida State University, USA

David Benatar, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Laura Betzig, University of Michigan, USA

David Bjorklund, Florida Atlantic University, USA

Brian Boutwell, University of Mississippi, USA

Sarah Brosnan, Georgia State University, USA

Kingsley Browne, Wayne State University, USA

Martin Brüne, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

David Buss, University of Texas, USA

Joseph Carroll, University of Missouri—St. Louis, USA

Lei Chang, University of Macau, China

Jerry Coyne, University of Chicago, USA

A.J. Figueredo, University of Arizona, USA

Bernhard Fink, University of Vienna, Austria

David Geary, University of Missouri, USA

Mhairi Gibson, University of Bristol, UK

Eileen Hebets, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, Norway

Douglas Kenrick, Arizona State University, USA

Daniel Kruger, University of Michigan, USA

Norman Li, Singapore Management University, Singapore

Dario Maestripieri, University of Chicago, USA

Jon Maner, Florida State University, USA

Rose McDermott, Brown University, USA

Randy Nesse, Arizona State University, USA

Michael Bang Petersen, Aarhus University, Denmark

Steven Pinker, Harvard University, USA

Stephanie Preston, University of Michigan, USA

David Puts, Pennsylvania State University, USA

James Roney, University of California—Santa Barbara, USA

Catherine Salmon, University of Redlands, USA

David Schmitt, Brunel University, UK

Cas Soper, Independent Scholar, Portugal

John Teehan, Hofstra University, USA

Randy Thornhill, University of New Mexico, USA

Paul Vasey, University of Lethbridge, Canada

Jerome Wakefield, New York University, USA

Katie Zejdlik, Western Carolina University, USA

External Advisory Board members include leading national and international scholars with expertise in evolutionary psychological science. External Advisory Board members are appointed by the Director and advise the Director and Steering Committee on all Center matters as requested by the Director, including research, instruction, service, and community engagement.