Michael Gurven Anthropology professor

Michael Gurven

University of California, Santa Barbara
Broom Center Affiliation(s): 

Area Director, Biodemography and Evolution Theme

Michael Gurven’s research focuses on the biodemography of the human lifespan and its implications for understanding development, aging, intergenerational transfers and familial organization. He has also studied social and economic behavior among foragers and forager-farmers, with a view to understanding proximate and ultimate explanations for the diversity of pro-social behaviors found in those societies as well as modern ones. This work, much of which has culminated in the Tsimane Life History and Health Project, has been extensively funded by NIH/NIA and by NSF including a 2.6 million dollar NIH/NIA grant on the biodemography of aging with Hillard Kaplan.

Grants, Awards and Distinctions:

National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging. The Human Life Course and the Biodemography of Aging. 2011-2016. PI. $3,500,000.

National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging. 2012-2015. R01, “Cardiovascular and renal aging among Tsimane forager-horticulturalists”. (joint-PIs: Michael Gurven & Hillard Kaplan). $1,600,000.

National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging. 2011-2015. R01, “Immune Function over the Life Course among Forager-Horticulturists“. (joint-PIs: Michael Gurven & Hillard Kaplan). $1,906,000.

National Institutes of Health/NIA, R01, “The Human Life Course and the Biodemography of Aging” (Joint PI: Gurven, Kaplan). $1,250,000.

Contributor to Broom Center Theme(s): 
Contributor to Broom Center Theme(s): 
Contributor to Broom Center Theme(s): 
Contributor to Broom Center Theme(s): 
Contributor to Broom Center Theme(s): 
Broom Center Publications
Blackwell, A.D., Trumble, B.C., Maldonado Suarez, I., Stieglitz, J., Beheim, B., Snodgrass, J.J., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. Forthcoming. 
"Immune function in Amazonian horticulturalists. "
Annals of Human Biology. 
Gurven, M., Fuerstenberg, E., Trumble, B., Stieglitz, J., Davis, H., Kaplan, H. Forthcoming. 
"Cognitive performance across the life course among Bolivian forager-farmers with limited schooling. "
Developmental Psychology. 
Horvath, S., Gurven, M., Levine, M.E., Trumble, B.C., Kaplan, H., Allayee, H., Ritz, B.R., Chen, B., Lu, A., Sun, D., Berenson, G.S., Li, S., Chen, W., Tsao, P., Absher, D., Assimes, T. Forthcoming. 
"An epigenetic age analysis of race/ethnicity, gender and coronary heart disease addresses several paradoxes surrounding mortality. "
Genome Biology.  
Stieglitz, J., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H., Hopfensitz, A. Forthcoming. 
"Why household inefficiency? An experimental approach to assess spousal resource distribution preferences in a subsistence population undergoing socioeconomic change. "
Evolution and Human Behavior.
Pisor, A., Gurven, M. 2016. 
"Risk buffering and resource access shape valuation of out-group and in-group strangers. "
Nature Scientific Reports.
Gurven, M., Costa, M., Trumble, B., Stieglitz, J., Beheim, B., Eid Rodriguez, D., Hooper, P.L., Kaplan, H. 2016. 
"Costs of reproduction and maternal depletion in a high fertility and mortality population."
Nature Scientific Reports 6:30056.  
Jaeggi, A., Hooper, P., Beheim, B., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. 2016. 
"Supply and demand explain reciprocal exchange of multiple commodities and individual differences in cooperation in a small-scale society. "
Current Biology 26:1-8. 
Gurven, M., Yetish, G., Trumble, B.C., Stieglitz, J., Cummings, D., Blackwell, A.D., Beheim, B., Kaplan, H., Pontzer, H. 2016. 
"High resting metabolic rate among Amazonian forager-horticulturalists experiencing high pathogen burden."
American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 
Stieglitz, J., Madimenos, F., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. 2016. 
"Calcaneal quantitative ultrasound indicates reduced bone mineral status among physically active adult forager-horticulturalists."
J. of Bone and Mineral Research 31(3): 663-671. 
Hodges-Simeon, C.R., Hanson, K.N., Samore, T., Gurven, M., Gaulin, S.J.C. 2016. 
"Facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is not associated with adolescent testosterone levels."
PLoS ONE 11(4): e0153083. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153083. 
Barrett, H.C., Bolyanatz, A., Crittenden, A., Fessler, D., Fitzpatrick, S., Gurven, M., Henrich, J., Kanovsky, M., Kushnick, G., Pisor, A., Scelza, B., Stich, S., von Rueden, C., Zhao, W., Laurence, S. 2016. 
"Small-scale societies exhibit fundamental variation in the role of intentions in moral judgment. "
PNAS 113(17): 4688-4693.  
Jaeggi, A.V., Boose, K.J., White, F.J., Gurven, M. 2016. 
"Obstacles and catalysts of cooperation in humans, bonobos and chimpanzees: the behavioural reaction norms can help explain variation in sex roles, inequality, war and peace. "
Behaviour. DOI:10.1163/1568539X-00003347
Trumble, B.C., Gaulin, S.J.C., Dunbar, M.D., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. 2016. 
"Corruption and the other(s): scope of superordinate identity matters for corruption permissibility. "
Human Nature27(1):51-67. 
Hooper PL, Gurven M, Winking J, Kaplan HS. 2015. 
"Inclusive fitness and differential productivity across the life course determine intergenerational transfers in a small-scale human society. "
 Proc. R. Soc. B 282: 20142808. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2808 + SUPPLEMENT
Hodges-Simeon, C.R.*, Gurven, M., Gaulin, S.J.C. 2015.
"The low male voice is a costly signal of phenotypic quality among Bolivian adolescents. "
Evolution and Human Behavior. 
Lukaszewski, A., von Rueden, C., Gurven, M. 2015. 
"Adaptive personality calibration among Tsimane forager-horticulturalists: effects of embodied capital on prosocial traits. "
Behavioral Ecology. doi:10.1093/beheco/arv051
Kaplan, H., Hooper, P.L., Stieglitz, J., Gurven, M. 2015. 
"The causal relationship between fertility and infant mortality: prospective analyses of a population in transition. "
Population in the Human Sciences: Concepts, Models, Evidence(Editors: P. Kreager, B. Winney, S. Ulijaszek, C. Capelli). Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 361-378. 
Trumble, B.C., Stieglitz, J., Emery Thompson, M., Fuerstenberg, E., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. 2015.  
"Testosterone is associated with enhanced cognitive performance in a subsistence population with minimal schooling. "
American Journal of Human Biology. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22665. 
Stieglitz, J., Beheim, B., Trumble, B., Madimenos, F., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. 2015. 
"Low mineral density of a weight-bearing bone among adult women in a high fertility population. "
American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 
Schniter, E., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H., Wilcox, N.T., Hooper, P. 2015. 
"Forager skill ontogeny among Tsimane Amerindians. "
American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 
Gurven, M., Jaeggi, A. 2015. 
"Food sharing. "
Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. SAGE. Edited by Robert A. Scott and Stephen M. Kosslyn. 
Gurven, M., Jaeggi, A., von Rueden, C., Hooper, P., Kaplan, H. 2015. 
"Does market integration buffer risk, erode traditional sharing practices and increase inequality? A test among Bolivian forager-farmers."
Human Ecology. doi:10.1007/s10745-015-9764-y
Trumble BC, Eid Rodriguez D, Cortez Linares E, Kaplan H, Gurven M. (2015).  
"Challenging the inevitability of age-related prostate enlargement: low levels of benign hyperplasia among Bolivian Amerindians. "
Journal of Gerontology:  Medical Sciences.
Jaeggi, A.V.†, Trumble, B.†, Kaplan, H.S., Gurven, M. 2015. 
"Salivary oxytocin increases concurrently with testosterone and time away from home among returning Tsimane’ hunters. "
Biology Letters20150058. 
Steiglitz, J, Trumble, B, Emery Thompson, M, Blackwell, AD, Kaplan, H, Gurven, M. (2015)
"Depression as sickness behavior? A test of the host defense hypothesis in a high pathogen population, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. "
in press, DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.05.008
Pisor, A., Gurven, M. 2015. 
"Corruption and the other(s): scope of superordinate identity matters for corruption permissibility. "
PLoS ONE 10(12): e0144542. 
Blackwell, A.D., Tamayo, M.A., Beheim, B., Trumble, B.C., Stieglitz, J., Hooper, P.L., Martin, M., Kaplan, H, Gurven, M. 2015. 
"Helminth infection, fecundity and age of first pregnancy in women."
Science 350: 970-972. 
Trumble, B., Jaeggi, A., Gurven, M. 2015. 
"Evolving the neuroendocrine physiology of human and primate cooperation and collective action. "
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 370: 20150014. 
Hooper, P.L., Gerkey, D., Demps, K., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H.S. 2015. 
"Skills, division of labor and economies of scale among Amazonian hunters and South Indian honey collectors. "
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 370: 20150008. 
Yetish, G., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M., Wood, B., Pontzer, H., Manger, P., Wilson, C., McGregor, R., Siegel, J.M. 2015. 
"Natural sleep and its seasonal variations in three pre-industrial societies. "
Current Biology 25:1-7. 
Fessler, D.M.T., Barrett, H.C., Kanovsky, M., Stich, S., Holbrook, C., Henrich, J., Bolyanatz, A., Gervais, M.M., Gurven, M., Kushnick, G., Pisor, A.C., von Rueden, C., Laurence, S. 2015. 
"Moral parochialism and contextual contingency across seven societies. "
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282:20150907. 
Hooper, P.L., Gurven, M., Winking, J., Kaplan, H.S. 2015.
"Intergenerational transfers explained by inclusive fitness in a traditional human society. "
Proceedings Royal Society B 282, 20142808. 
Stieglitz, J., Schniter, E., von Rueden, C., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. 2015.
"Reduced functional status and social conflict increase risk of depression in adulthood among modernizing Amazonian forager-farmers. "
Journals of Gerontology Social Sciences 70(6):948-956. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbu080. 
Trumble, B., Cummings, D.K., O’Connor, K.A., Holman, D.J., Smith, E.A., Kaplan, H.S., Gurven, M.D. In press.
"Age-independent increases in male salivary testosterone during horticultural activity among Tsimane forager-farmers. "
Evolution and Human Behavior. 
Gurven, M., C. von Rueden, J. Stieglitz, H. Kaplan, & D. Eid Rodriguez. 2014. 
"The evolutionary fitness of personality traits in a small-scale subsistence population. "
Evolution & Human Behavior, 35, 17-25. 
Stieglitz, J., M. Gurven, E. Schniter, C. von Rueden, & H. Kaplan. In press. 
"Functional disability and social conflict increase risk of depression in older adulthood among Bolivian forager-farmers. "
Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences. 
Trumble BC, Smith EA, O’Connor KA, Kaplan HS, Gurven MD.  (2014).  
"Successful hunting increases testosterone and cortisol in a subsistence population. "
Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281:20132876
Veile, A., Martin, M., McAllister, L., Gurven, M.
"Modernization is associated with intensive breastfeeding patterns in the Bolivian Amazon. "
Social Science and Medicine 100:148-158.
von Rueden, C., M. Gurven, H. Kaplan, & J. Stieglitz. In press. 
"Leadership in an egalitarian society."
 Human Nature. 
Stieglitz, J., Jaeggi, A., Blackwell, A., Trumble, BC., Gurven, M., and Kaplan, H. (In Press).
"Work to live and live to work: Productivity, transfers, and psychological well-being in adulthood and old age. "
In: Weinstein, M., and Lane, M. (eds.). Advances in bio-demography: cross-species comparisons of social environments and social behaviors, and their effects on health and longevity. National Academy Press.
von Rueden, C., Trumble, B., Emery Thompson, M., Stieglitz, J., Hooper, P.L., Blackwell, A.D., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. 2014. 
"Political influence associates with cortisol and health among egalitarian forager-farmers. "
Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health 122-133. doi:10.1093/emph/eou021
Miner, E., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H., Gaulin, S. 2014.
"Sex difference in travel is concentrated in adolescence and tracks reproductive interests. "
Proceedings of Royal Society B281, 20141476.
Von Rueden, CR, Trumble, BC, Emory Thompson, M, Stieglitz, J, Hooper, PL, Blackwell, AD, Kaplan, HS, Gurven, M. (2014)
"Political influence associates with cortisol and health among egalitarian forager-farmers, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health"
eou021, DOI: 10.1093/emph/eou02
Gurven, M., C. von Rueden, M. Massenkoff, H. Kaplan, & M. Lero Vi. 
"How universal is the Big Five? Testing the Five-Factor Model of personality variation among forager-farmers in the Bolivian Amazon"
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 354-370. 2013.
Jaeggi, A.V., Gurven, M.
"Natural cooperators: food sharing in humans and other primates"
Evolutionary Anthropology, 2013.
Winking, J., Stieglitz, J., Kurten, J., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H.
"Polygyny among the Tsimane: an improved method for testing the polygyny-fertility hypothesis. "
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280.
Gurven, M., Jaeggi, A.V., Kaplan, H., Cummings, D.
"Physical activity and modernization among Bolivian Amerindians."
Plos One, Janurary 2013, Volume 8, Issue 1.
Martin, M., Blackwell, A., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H. (2013)
"Make new friends and keep the old? Parasite coinfection and comorbidity in Homo sapiens."
In: Primates, Pathogens and Evolution. Developments in Primatology Series. Editors: Brinkworth, J.F. and E. Pechenkina. New York: Springer. 
Blackwell A, Martin M, Kaplan H, Gurven M.  2013.
"Antagonism between two intestinal parasites in humans: the importance of coinfection for infection risk and recovery dynamics. "
Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 280(1769): 20131671. 
Jaeggi, A., Gurven, M. 2013. 
"Reciprocity explains food sharing in humans and other primates independent of kin selection and tolerated scrounging: a phylogenetic meta-analysis."
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280:20131615.
Walker, R., Beckerman, S., Flinn, M., Gurven, M., von Rueden, C., Cordoba, L., Villar, D., Hagen, E., Koster, J., Hill, K.
"Living with kin in lowland horticultural societies"
Current Anthropology, 54, 96-103. 2013.
Stieglitz, J., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H., Hooper, P.
"Household task delegation among high-fertility forager-horticulturalists of lowland Bolivia. "
Current Anthropology 54(2):232-241.
Pisor, A.C., Gurven, M., Blackwell, A.D., Kaplan, H., & Yetish, G., A.C., Gurven, M., Blackwell, A.D., Kaplan, H., & Yetish, G.
"Patterns of senescence in cardiovascular fitness: VO2max in subsistence and industrialized populations. "
American Journal of Human Biology 25(6), pp. 756-769. 2013.
Hodges-Simeon, C. R., M. D. Gurven, R. Cárdenas, and S. J. C. Gaulin (2013). 
"Voice change as a new measure of male pubertal timing: A study among Bolivian adolescents. "
Annals of Human Biology40: 209-219. 
Blackwell, Aaron D., Michael Gurven, Daniel Eid Rodríguez, Jonathan Stieglitz, Hillard Kaplan
"Does Blood Pressure Inevitably Rise With Age? Longitudinal Evidence Among Forager-Horticulturalists"
Hypertension 60(1): 25-33. 2012
von Rueden, C. & M. Gurven.
"When the strong punish: why net costs of punishment are often negligible"
Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35, 43-44. 2012.
Gurven, M.
"Human survival and life history in evolutionary perspective"
The Evolution of Primate Societies. Mitani, J., Call, J., Kappeler, P., Palombit, R., Silk, J. (Eds). 2012. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pages 293-314.
Trumble, B., D. Cummings, C. von Rueden, K. O’Connor, E. Smith, M. Gurven, & H. Kaplan.
"Physical competition increases testosterone among Amazonian forager-horticulturalists: a test of the “challenge hypothesis"
Proceedings of Royal Society B., 279, 2907-2912. 2012.
Gurven, Michael, Jonathan Stieglitz, Hillard Kaplan, Jeffrey Winking
"Infidelity, jealousy, and wife abuse among Tsimane forager–farmers: testing evolutionary hypotheses of marital conflict"
Evolution and Human Behavior, 33: 438-448. 2012.
Veile, A., Winking, J., Gurven, M., Greaves, R.D., Kramer, K.L. 2012.
"Infant growth and the thymus: data from two South American native societies."
American Journal of Human Biology 24:768-775. 2012.
Gurven, M.
"Infant and fetal mortality among a high mortality population in the Bolivian Amazon."
Social Science and Medicine 24:786-799.
Gurven, M., Stieglitz, J., Hooper, P., Gomes, C., Kaplan, H.
"From the womb to the tomb: the role of transfers in shaping the evolved human life history."
Experimental Gerontology 47:807-813. 2012.
Gurven, Michael, Stacey L. Rucas, Jeffrey Winking, and Hillard Kaplan
"Social Aggression and Resource Conflict Across the Female Life-Course in the Bolivian Amazon"
Aggressive Behavior. Volume 38, pages 194–207 (2012)
Martin, M.A., Glassek, W.D., Gaulin, S.J.C., Evans, R.W., Woo, J.G., Geraghty, S.R., Davidson, B.S., Morrow, A.L., Kaplan, H.S., Gurven, M.D.
"Fatty acid composition in the mature milk of Bolivian forager-horticulturalists: controlled comparisons with a U.S. sample."
Maternal and Child Nutrition 8(3):404-418. 2012.
Stieglitz, J., Blackwell, A.D., Quispe Gutierrez, R., Cortez Linares, E., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H.
"Modernization, sexual-risk taking and gynecological morbidity among Bolivian forager-horticulturalists. "
PLOS One, December 2012, Volume 7, Issue 12.
McAllister, L., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H., Stieglitz, J.
"Why Do Women Have More Children Than They Want? Understanding Differences in Women’s Ideal and Actual Family Size in a Natural Fertility Population"
American Journal of Human Biology 24: 786-799 (2012).
Barrett, Clark, Frank W. Marlowe, J. Colette Berbesque, Alexander Bolyanatz, Michael Gurven and David Tracer
"The 'spiteful' origins of human cooperation"
Proceedings of Royal Society B 278: 2159-2164. 2011
Gurven, Michael, Christopher von Rueden and Hillard Kaplan
"Why do men seek status? Fitness payoffs to dominance and prestige"
Proceedings of Royal Society B 278: 2223-2232. 2011
Gurven, Michael, Jeffrey Winking, and Hillard Kaplan
"The Impact of Parents and Self-Selection on Child Survival among the Tsimane of Bolivia"
Current Anthropology 52(2):277-284. 2011
Gurven, Michael, Jeffrey Winking, and Hillard Kaplan
"Father death and adult success among the Tsimane: implications for marriage and divorce"
Evolution and Human Behavior 32:79-89. 2011
Allayee, Hooman, Sarinnapha Vasunilashorn, Caleb E. Finch, Eileen M. Crimmins, Suvi A. Vikman, JonathanStieglitz, Michael Gurven, and Hillard Kaplan
"Inflammatory Gene Variants in the Tsimane, an Indigenous Bolivian Population with a High Infectious Load"
Biodemography and Social Biology 57(1):33-52. 2011
Gurven, Michael, Jeffrey Winking.
"The Total Cost of Father Desertion"
American Journal of Human Biology 23:755–763 (2011).
Blackwell, Aaron D, Michael D. Gurven, Lawrence S. Sugiyama, Felicia C. Madimenos, Melissa A. Liebert, Melanie A. Martin, Hillard S. Kaplan, J. Josh Snodgrass
"Evidence for a Peak Shift in a Humoral Response to Helminths: Age Profiles of IgE in the Shuar of Ecuador, the Tsimane of Bolivia, and the U.S. NHANES"
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5(6). 2011
Gurven, Michael D., Jonathan Stieglitz, Hillard Kaplan, Jeffrey Winking, and Basilio Vie Tayo.
"Spousal Violence and Paternal Disinvestment Among Tsimane’ Forager-Horticulturalists"
American Journal of Human Biology 23:445–457 (2011).