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Dr Toman Barsbai awarded University Research Fellowship for new study

Image of a lion - Dr Toman Barsbai research project

9 September 2021

Dr Toman Barsbai, Associate Professor at the School of Economics, has been awarded a one-year University Research Fellowship by the University of Bristol for a new study. Dr Barsbai’s research project looks at shared local environments and the impact on behaviour across species.

The University Research Fellowship enables academic staff to carry out a dedicated research project lasting 12 months. Starting in August 2021, Dr Barsbai’s project aims to provide a new evolutionary underpinning to our understanding of the diversity of human behaviour and its economic implications across the globe.  

Do humans, mammals and birds share key behaviours?  

By integrating insights from behavioural ecology into economics, the project sheds lights on how local environmental conditions shape human behaviour and comparative development. The key methodological innovation is the comparison of humans to wild animals who share the same local environment. This novel approach addresses the question as to whether local environmental conditions select for similar behaviours across humans and animals, therefore driving behavioural variation worldwide.  

The project, joint with Dieter Lukas from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Andreas Pondorfer from the Technical University of Munich, builds on a database that covers comparable behaviours for the universe of mammal and bird species and humans from all over the world, allowing a systematic comparison of behaviours across different species in different parts of the world.  

Dr Barsbai said: “We aim to understand to what extent the behavioural diversity of modern human populations still reflects past adaptations to local environmental conditions, even though agriculture, market integration, and technology should weaken the response of behaviour to local conditions.”


Further information

Find out more about the project ‘Local convergence of behavior across species on Dr Barsbai’s website. 

Dr Toman Barsbai is Programme Director for MSc Economics at the School of Economics. Discover our Postgraduate Programmes.

Read more about Dr Barsbai’s research in his academic profile. 

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